Sunday, May 29, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

The other night, my buddy Jon called me up asking to be a sound board for him while he hashed out some ideas. Always looking forward to hanging out with him, I readily agreed. We spent a good couple of hours driving around south Utah County just talking, laughing and having a grand ol’ time.
About 1:00 in the morning, we were just getting back into Provo, and as he was dropping me off at my apartment, Jon received a call from his mother-in-law saying that their basement was flooding. He said he would be right over to help out.
As I jumped out of the car, I told him that if they needed additional help, to give me a call. I don’t think either of us thought he would actually do it.

About 40 minutes later, after he had assured me that he probably wouldn’t be calling me, my phone started to ring. It was Jon asking if I could come help out. As I hadn’t climbed into bed yet, I told him I would be right over. I threw on some old shoes (figuring they were going to get wet), and headed on over.
Now Jon’s in-laws live in a fairly nice neighborhood. I knew where their house was because Jon had pointed it out to me on a few occasions. When I arrived, I couldn’t find anyone answering the door, so I just walked on in and found my way downstairs.
This house was AMAZING! Besides being relatively brand-new and very well maintained, it also happens to have a TWO-STORY basement. How else are you going to fit your indoor racquetball court?

So I found everyone down in the racquetball court, where I walked in on the following scene:
Father In-Law was running one of two shop vacs, sucking up water from a very large pool that wasn’t getting any smaller. Meanwhile, Mother In-Law and Sister In-Law were bucketing out a second shop vac that was already filled with water. Rushing back and forth with filled 5-gallon buckets of water, Jon and his Brother In-Law were hauling these up the two flights of stairs and out the back door to a storm drain.
I jumped right in and started hauling buckets outside. We got into a pretty good rhythm of filling one shop vac while the other was being drained by hand. We were completing a full cycle of filling, switching and draining in about a minute and a half. We did this straight for over 3 hours, from 2 AM to 5 AM. We calculated that we carried out over 1,000 gallons of water…and we were just barely keeping up with the in-flow of water.

All during this time, there were also two full-time pumps running that had been installed when the house was built, plus a Disaster Recovery Team was setting up another pump to help drain the basement.
Needless to say…until they got set up…it felt like an exercise in futility. My hands, still sore from roofing a few days earlier, were cramping up and sore.
But I was happy to be there helping out. Eventually, the Disaster Team was set up and operating, and they had a second team that was almost ready to go as well. By this time, all of us who were manually working were completely and utterly spent physically. So at the word of the Father In-Law, we called it quits.
Jon’s Mother In-Law said to me, besides expressing her extreme gratitude, that she was impressed that I was there helping out instead of being in bed like most normal people. She said that I must really be a good friend to Jon to be willing to help out.
I told her that I was very happy to help out, knowing that if the roles were reversed, Jon wouldn’t hesitate to help me out as well.
Besides…friends help you move. REAL Friends help you move bodies…of water.

Getting ‘Round

Several months ago, I was up in Spokane visiting my sister and her family. About this same time, they were getting their house ready to put on the market and sell. While I was up there, they found out that they were going to have to replace the roof in order to meet all the requirements for selling their home.
Having been one of the Roofing Trade for quite some time in my younger years, I volunteered the services of myself and our father to help them tear off the old roof and replace it with a new and less leaky roof.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when my Dad, Mom and I drove up to Spokane to fulfill that offer of service from yester-month. We drove up in my truck, laden with the tools of the trade and a few duffle bags.
Now I will be the first to admit that when I first conceptualized the idea of replacing their roof, I really didn’t think that it would be much of a challenge. It is a fairly simple roof, with only two valleys and pretty much straight runs covering the rest of it. We arrived on Monday night. Our plan was to tear off the roof in one day, and then lay down the tar paper and the first few rows of shingles the second day, and finally finishing off the entire project on the third day. We would be able to head home on Friday.
That’s not how it panned out…at all.
However, we were able to complete it all. It took two days to tear off the roof, and an additional three more to put the new roof on. During the installation process, as per City Code, we had to have an inspection done after the first layer of Ice Shield had been set down. When the inspector arrived, in less than a minute, he commented that this was probably going to be the only roof he passed that day. He went on to point out that all the other roofs were being done by professional contractors. So that made us feel good.

Finally, Saturday morning came. We didn’t have much left…but by this point my Dad and I were both just physically exhausted. What I thought we would finish by Noon, still took us until almost 9 PM that night.

But we did it…the roof was completely replaced with great help given by family, local ward members and especially the missionaries. My sister Gretchen especially deserves a personal shout-out as she was a huge help to us, and still maintained her household. My Mom was a great blessing in helping to watch the kids and in cleaning up. We were all truly blessed with safety and strength to get through it all. And the best part of it was that the final inspection went through with no problems at all. I was very happy to hear that.
The biggest lesson that I learned though, was that my 63 year old Dad can still out work me. The man is a machine.