Tuesday, March 21, 2023

DAY 25: It Started With ICE and now Fruit Basket UPSET!

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I can't believe it is over three weeks since our ice and power outage disaster. I spent most of the time at my son's home...graciously living there while my hubby and a friend slaved away gutting and removing so many items from the water logged basement. I'm allergic to mold and on Day 4---he uncovered some old Black mold that had been treated years ago, but rose again from the dead with the new water source. I had to leave immediately. It was then we needed the professionals.

We hired a removal team to assist in emptying the basement. Four smiling guys who carefully carried every item to safety!

Our removal team managed to remove most of the basement in 6 hours to this 10x10x8 foot tent. All the items here are indestructible type and in covered bins. Lots of the shelving units were put in here, and the team made it a solid mass that a hurricane couldn't move. 

They also filled our screen/glassed in porch.

Most of these items here are fabric, craft supplies, or plastic doll furniture and some odds and ends of furniture/lamps. The area by the windows is the actual porch furniture.

The remodeled dollhouses were able to be moved upstairs and were in the kitchen for a few weeks, but we moved them today to the porch. I have a kitchen table again. 

The kitchen was tested and declared clean and safe last Friday. The shoe moldings can be put in place again. We have slowly been trying to find a new normal with all the chaos. The counter above has been sterilized but I covered it with plastic tablecloths as all my hanging items from the back hallway are sitting here and have been cleaned. I don't use this area for food prep, just emptying the dishwasher and displaying fun things. NO EASTER PRETTIES this year!

 I sterilized and oiled the island counter and the coffee counter. This table-clothed staging area will be relocated tomorrow and I will finish cleaning and oiling the island and the kitchen will be almost normal. 

Every bit of this area was 5-6 feet high with debris which was put in the dumpster or removed by our sanitary company and garbage collectors.

The removal team and pretty much filled up the garage too. The items out there are paints (the garage is heated) and lots of supplies/ and raw materials, also bins of items I will donate or sell. 

We also have some things in each of the bedrooms and the living room. 

I had made labels, and 99% of the bins were labeled where they would go, besides what was in them. I wish there had been time to make a record of where what is...but it was pretty much a wing it...and go with it system.

Our items were safely packed in bins, but I will have to do some serious sorting, selling and donating for the future. The only things really lost were paper items, some frames, some wood materials and some cardboard packing boxes in my shipping area. Everything else was up on shelving or in waterproof containers. A couple of saturated wood product pieces were retired to the dumpster.

It was then we realized we had to have professional help. Despite the water only being 1-3" on the floor for less than a day, the damage was done.

This is the HUMONGOUS Dumpster filling up 1/3 of our 6 car driveway. And, it is full and will be picked up soon.

The bulk of it is filled with the drywall, solid wood tongue-groove paneling, pegboard, and any damaged materials from all the rooms. Still to leave are all the doors and doorframes, and anything else we find that is water tainted.

Here is the 1000 sq.feet of  subfloor ($$$$) 2x2 panels of plastic grid faced with a pressboard flooring. On top of this was the wood/laminate flooring from the main room, the craft/doll room and the big storage room. This is what is recommended to have for a dry/warm floor in basements. Water under isn't a problem, but over---we had  just enough water to saturate everything. 

It had taken us about 12 years to do all the floors and finishing them off with this, buying a bit at a time. We just finished the last craft storage room 3 years ago.
And, I have Alre adyfilled the car twice to take in for donations.

Here is the power generator...that failed, and the guys couldn't get started, but the damage had already occurred. Ideally we will have a new back-up system for our sump pumps. Plumbers are coming on Thursday to assess the situation.

Ground Zero...our two sump pump pits. This area originally had vinyl tile, which we are trying to chip up. Everything has been treated my professionals and declared safe. The remediation/sanitation team took three days. 

This is our canning jar storage area, which had to be completely gutted. There was a ridge between this area and my hubby's office.

Surprisingly the office was relatively dry. The marks on the wood were from mopping the floors and the remediation treatment. We will take them outside and finally seal and paint them.

Behind the doors are all our Christmas and Holiday cooking appliances, decorations along with camping supplies and family treasures. All high and dry! Everything got to just stay here! YAY!

We had seamless vinyl in here and more water went under it than over it, saving the walls, and all the built-in cabinetry. The original tile in this area we can't remember if we even put it down or if it was there when we bought the house in 1984?  Anyway it is really stubborn and I think we might just go over it, with vinyl again.

The Main Room was the biggest upheaval. We had bleached the floors immediately during the initial two days of damage. The Remediation team had us move our furniture and big pieces 4 feet from all the walls, so they could work on removing at least 2-3 feet of all the walls that were wet.

This is the big TV Wall, that had two low cabinets and all sorts of shelving. The paneling was tongue and groove and painted when we did the second renovation of the basement about 10 years ago. Here you can see the studs and the floor trim that still has to leave. Visually, whatever we use  here to replace the walls will be hidden by cabinetry.

This was the worst area, next to the furnace room and my shipping room. All the 3 foot wood was removed up the wall, and a liquor cabinet that was built-in was removed carefully and will be able to be replaced with new footing boards. All the trim is gone.

My wading through the basement in high boots with a flashlight paid off, as almost everything that was on the ground was put up. Also---all our furniture was on legs or rollers..which can easily be cleaned or replaced. All our electrical is up at waist high. 

The Doll/Craft room really lost some walls too. That's my sink wall and desk walls. 
Luckily the foam insulation used here is sterile, and all the wood studs have been treated.  

Everything in the middle will move to the storage room to get these floors painted.

That's a pipe from my sink that ran under my work desk corner. That system is being reassessed on Thursday also. We will just finish this area off with white pegboard and some vinyl trim. My sink may end up somewhere else.

I didn't want to post unless I had something positive to post. Today we got the shipping room floor cleaned and painted, also in the large storage room.

Yesterday Hubby painted the walls a sand color with concrete paint, and then we cleaned the floor again, and painted them with skid-safe gray. We have neither the money or the energy to finish the floors another way at this time...so clean and sealed is as far as it will go for now.

Tomorrow I will paint the pegboard walls, and hubby is going to make braces for the long counter. We lost the wood cabinets here, as they were a neighbor's throw aways made of particle board that is basically chopped-wood sponges and this area was the last to get emptied and dry. I'm happy to say there is NOW NO MOLD at all, and my breathing is normal.

After this floor is dry/cured, we can move everything in the DOLL Craft room in here and do those floors there and repair the walls. Then move everything back into the doll room, and take all the furniture and items from the main room and move it in here. Then Do that floor and wall repairs in the main room.n I'm really looking forward to unearthing the freezer which is running and full of food...lol, and we aren't sure exactly how deeply buried, that is.

So it will be a few weeks or more before anything is where it is supposed to be, meanwhile, I'll be sorting, donating and shaking my head.

This is a lot for two old GEEZERS!
PS: My ETSY shop will be full when I reopen it. Four generations of collectors will have to give some of this stuff UP...as my kids aren't interested in very much of it. And BARBIE/doll and craft stuff, will definitely find it's way to the ETSY store and FACEBOOK Marketplace, for bigger pieces!

 I may even open a second Etsy shop for the dolls, still waffling on that, and there is always EVIL BAY! 
LOL...wicked-insane-crazy laugh here......

If you enjoyed this post please follow this blog by blogger or FOLLOW IT which you will find in the upper right hand corner of this page. 

Thanks always for visiting. 
I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.

I will be sharing at these fine Parties!

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle


Thursday, March 2, 2023

It started with ICE....


I've always tried to have a positive, helpful spin on all my posts. Family dramas and sadness have been left out. This post was a disaster that could have been prevented. We were complacent and overlooked the possibility of what eventually happened. 

Within the last 15 years we had finished our basement, putting in a grid plastic with  plywood subfloor and finished most of the 1400 sqft with laminate flooring or sheet goods. The walls were finished with wainscoting or wallboard and in my craft room-heavy pegboard above wallboard.  

WE had two sump pumps and just had a new water filtration system,  new furnace,  new electrical to 200 amps and sewer/plumbing upgraded last year.  We had an unused generator in the garage---buried in the garage.

The storm all started with rain on February 23, then ICE. Thursday we had a nasty winds and ice, like much of the Midwest all the way to the East. It was moderate in our area, with continuous on/off rain. We used to be on the tail-end of a power grid which means you get fixed last if the power goes out. About 15 years ago a new subdivision was built to the west and COM-ED redid all the power grids in the area. After that we seldom had any outages and usually for only a few hours or sometimes minutes.

We hadn't had any water issues in the basement after we did a roof extensions, new gutter systems, and regrading of the yard.

We thought we were ready with candles, lighter, flashlights so if we lost power. We had water in a pitcher. I figured we could ride out a power outage. Power out at 7:30 PM, 9:00pm we were playing cards by camping light, and I could hear chirping---a plug in sensor with battery back up was chirping in the basement. I went and pulled it out and replaced the battery and walked all through the basement which was fine, nothing amiss. We went to sleep---apparently we had over and 1-1/2" of rain in-between the ice build-up that night. Some 10 large limbs and large branches crashed down in the yard. ALL but one was from neighbor's trees, only one was from one of our trees, which we actually had trimmed last year.

Here are some photos of the basement rooms as they were completed a few years back.

Family Recreation room:

The room is for my Hubby and family time filled with antiques, collectibles from family and little features like this lighted nook above a glass doored cabinet

Luckily the couches are cotton denim and I managed to lift up the skirt high enough it really didn't get wet and dried very quickly. The covers will all be washed when the weather is nice enough to hang them out, and then you put them back on slightly damp.

This table I featured in a redo post, is handy and all the legs were high enough so nothing got wet.

I have an antique trunk of my Grandmother's when she came from Denmark in 1921. It's on huge wheels, so its safe. Other pieces are all on wheels or were put up quickly.

Our finished woodsy/fishing decor-

This freezer is okay...but the wall behind it will be totally removed.

My craft doll room:

The new doll houses we will try and remove tonight. With their extensions they are a little tricky. All the decor has already been carefully boxed up with the help of my family and sorted.

The sink has been removed, the corner desks are dismantled, I'm hoping the cabinet on the left (empty vickie's vintage) can stay (its on wheels.) We will take down the table or use it to hold things, this room is 12 feet wide at its widest point so we have 4' in the middle to put things. I'll wrap everything in plastic or have someone do it.

This was taken in January...for the doll Mystery story.

I had consolidated this wall on Sunday, now I WILL have to take everything and box it up, and everything below already upstairs in the extra bedroom or on the porch.

My shipping shop:(shop is closed at the moment)

I had 8 bins and too many cardboard boxes and shipping supplies in this room, we already removed. I still have a huge shelving unit of supplies and smalls boxed to remove or find a sliver of floor to put it.

Here is a good shot of my gorgeous floors, vinyl laminate, I loved it!

My ETSY shop storage, the numbers are for keeping track where an item is stored. Only thing I lost in this room were paper products, (the suitcases safe and sound and up on a shelf unit. Plastic bins, shelving units and tubs are the only way to go. This room is only 6 feet wide, so everything will leave even items on the wall.

THE STORAGE ROOM: this is the disaster room!

I have quite few metal shelving units in here---but they are jam packed. Forty years of doing art shows really needs to be weeded out. Also left overs from my 10 years as a shop owner---I really need to let all these things go!

This is an older photo, but you can see the sub-floor with the unfinished surface here, but most things are up---or in plastic, safe and sound from 2" of water.

My husband's office, I have no photos of---everything in there was in plastic or on shelves, the entire wall closet is full of holiday and entertaining items---which may have to be removed yet.

Laundry/canning: I don't have photos---but its has plastic shelving. This is the area nearest the sump pumps and well tank, and where the black mold was found. A wall will have to be removed here...UGH! 

Back to the DISASTER!

Friday the 24th morning-power still out, I'm at the optometrist the the talking about the outages---and the Doc said his neighbor had 6" of water in the basement from a sump pump failure. 

I immediately called home in the middle of my exam and hubby checked, we had 2-3 inches in the entire basement. I got home in a half hour and waded around rescuing anything that needed to be up. I went upstairs to the bathroom. I heard when the power kicked back on and the  two sump pumps overloaded the pipes all the way to the sewer (110 feet)away and then began to backup, I was right above where the pipes exit the home. But, the back up was with force, splattered all over and the counters full because, it filled the two sinks, and even entered the dishwasher which was full of dishes. (The dishwasher is okay and now serviced and sanitized.)

But have you ever done dishes in hot water with Lysol and bleach? I soaked our dishes from the dishwasher in that and then washed again and super hot rinse. Any textured plastics were thrown away (ie.cutting boards, glasses.

Luckily I got the icky water off the wood counters and bleached immediately. They will need to be sanded and reoiled. We had just oiled a month ago---so most was protected, only where there was scraping wear. I never prepare food on the sink side counters. Everything is done on the island.

NOTE: Our sumps are strictly used for rain water run off from around the foundation which is pretty clear, but this was YUCKY backup from all the pipes going forward! All this happened in about 2-3 minutes. 

Hubby walked in the door and the main floor kitchen floor was covered with sewer silt, and BLACK water splattered everywhere. So now we had two levels of disaster.

HERE are a few suggestions for a positive spin on this post.

1: Have your generator checked each year, primed and gas ready nearby and a fresh spark plug on hand. OURS wouldn't start and was not  accessible without extreme chaos. We can't even remember when it was last used.

2: Pull out the plug on the extra sump pump (if you have two) during an outage, it may overload your drainage capacity if they both kick on to remove 2" x 1400 sq. feet=that's 233 cubic feet of water, yep I used a calculator and my son is in boilers and pumps. This is conservative, because it was up to 3" in some areas.

3: REALLY Consider a battery back up system for sump pumps. Better yet, have a generator available for at least that. Of course if you need to run a furnace, freezers, refrigerator, water pump (wells) you will need a much larger generator system. With the continued insane weather issues we all are suffering through, this is definitely a thought for homeowners, even renters if you are allowed.

4:OUR FAULT: Now you are going to say in your head, what about insurance? Our insurance has a rider system. Hubby hadn't updated it since we did the floors, so we had 5K$ ceiling on a sump-pump failure. No wonder every time there are power failures the streets are piled high with furniture, carpeting and walls, floors, and no repair trucks.


The Sanitation estimate from the insurance recommended company was $30K....not counting removing everything in the basement all at once. And nothing on repairing or replacing. We settled for the full 5K and are jobbing out to small local companies what we can't do ourselves.

But, we started with help from friends and family---got half way through and hit some serious OLD BLACK mold, which had been treated years ago and then fired up again with the new water. I reacted immediately upstairs and had to leave the house. We are now on day 7 and still waiting on estimates to remove the rest of everything, haul all the flooring and some walls, and ruined items (luckily we got most things up---since it was only 2-3" of water. (Moving Company will come on March 6-7). We are waiting on the sanitation company to have the entire basement treated for MOLD. Dishwasher was serviced yesterday under warrantee and is good to go---the service man even sanitized it for us. All our appliances are now all from ABT and we can't say enough good things about them or their services.

I had to move to my son's house once the black mold was exposed, I'm horribly allergic to mold. Medications weren't enough to keep me breathing even through a super-duper mask.

PLUSES ++++++++++

Dishwasher was serviced yesterday under warantee and is good to go---the service man even sanitized it for us. All our appliances are now all from ABT and we can't say enough good things about them or their service team.

+ Our water heater is okay, but had to be serviced $110, +furnace is good, + Freezer is fine, +pumps are good, +water treatment system is good,  +no electrical was damaged, as all electrical was installed waist or counter top HIGH.  +Furniture may be fine, but we will evaluate that---later. Everything is on legs, even the cabinets. The oak desk is the only one saturated below-and it is so big, it may leave permanently.

TIP 4: We will increase the rider on insurance to cover sump pump failure as well as install a generator for basic household functions, (when we can). Seriously 30k to clear 1400 square feet plus more $$$$ for removal of everything first. And, you must leave a 4-foot clearance from the walls.

TIP 5: No more procrastinating, I will downsize, sell, donate anything that is excess that is in pulled out of the house. 

Where we are on DAY 6. We have upstairs, the enclosed porch and a 10x10 tent unit set up to put things.  Seriously, I'm not going to live long enough to use all the supplies or do the projects I have stashed. Family items have been gone through in the past, but I will go through all those bins again, too! And, we will have a fabulous sale in my ETSY shop when I am able to get it up and running if I ever get my house back in order first. 

We still don't know what this will all cost---still waiting on estimates, still on DAY 7! So far we have spent at least $700 on tubs, totes, plastic bags, Bleach--cleaning supplies, gloves, masks, a durable tent, (floor for the tent) and heavy duty rugs for the front door and back door. I know I will have to have the new rug in the living room cleaned, I may just roll it up and clean it on the patio in spring.

Personally, I can deal with problems, but I hate dealing with UNKNOWNS!




Stay tuned, tomorrow I will take photos of the stacks of rubbish and the outside, and have hubby take photos of basement (before the movers and sanitation experts are here.) 

If you enjoyed (LOL) this post please follow this blog by blogger or FOLLOW IT which you will find in the upper right hand corner of this page. 

Thanks always for visiting. 
I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.

I will be sharing at these fine Parties!

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Midwest Gardening: February 2023

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The first week in February my hubby came home with new seeds and a few new grow trays. So many of our trays had disintegrated and were disposed of in Fall. One thing we didn't finish in Fall was the stripping of the greenhouse to replace the insulation.


 I did sort through everything last Fall, but hubby was occupied with other projects and the Greenhouse gutting just didn't get done. As soon as the weather breaks, we will take everything out except the sink, insulate with foam sheet insulation, and cover it with some sort of tight surface. 


If you remember last year we had mice which harbored wood ticks, and every time I went in there I ended up with ticks.....YUGH!

We've already treated the greenhouse with sulphur bombs, and will continue until we make the greenhouse tighter and rodent free. So, I dodged in there yesterday, grabbed only what I needed to do some transplanting and planting.


Of course, like all Midwest gardeners with their noses pressed upon the windows, and hoping that the gray/brown/iced landscape will subside into Spring, we begin to plan. We plant indoors and cross our fingers we have guessed the proper time to begin planting. Weather forecasts have proposed (fickly) perhaps that last frost date this year will be April 15---almost full month earlier than normal.


I have my garden planner in order, and sent off a seed order for over $50.00. 

I'm getting READY for



Unfortunately when you live in a small house the kitchen table becomes your work space. It's too cold on the porch---and besides, normally the light is the best in the kitchen.

Tools I use are two teaspoons, a scoop to fill the pots (inside the bag) a bowl to mix water and soil, scissors to cut my skewers in half to make labels, a permanent pen, my tray and of course pots. Those, we save from buying plants. 


OUTSIDE is not really ready for gardening, rain followed with freezing rain, followed with ICE!


February 22nd, and this is on again/off again day of icing.


I'm keeping an eye on my neighbor's monster tree---and all it's dead limbs---huge limbs hanging over our yard, large enough to kill anyone of us and our cars.

Anyway, back to the main course.


Ages ago, I did a post on covering my Oster chopper accessories container which I kept on the counter. Well the chopper died and parts weren't available, and I thought that it would make a grand seed container!


Today, it's holding much of my seeds for the Spring. These are seeds we are planting in the ground as well as starting in trays now, and in March. It's the perfect size!


We have a SouthEast exposure kitchen with two huge windows, adequate to start veggies and flowers in Winter. I also have a bunch of bulbs Hubby came home with---that I will plant by the weekend in another post.


February 1st or so, we started Carnival Peppers, Sweet peppers and Broccoli. We also have tomatoes started later that aren't ready for transplanting yet. Normally they take forever to come up--but we had warm sun in the windows and moderate temps outside...so they really got big in three weeks.


All our containers and pots of dirt were put in  put into the compost pile with leaves and garden waste, so we have a couple of fresh bags of starter soil, and potting soil in the house. 

I filled my containers with dry potting soil and stirred lots of water in them. I worked on a large baking tray, we purchase these at a restaurant supply store. I also use boot trays that have been purchased on sale for long containers and inexpensive cookie sheets from the $$ store to place the transplanted pots on. They contain the extra overflow from the pots, and also add moisture to the air.

I also mix a bowl of wet soil to spread around the plants as I place the seedlings deep as possible inside the containers. Roots will grow along the buried stems giving the plants a healthy start.


I've transplanted one or two in each pot to see which will do the best. So I have ten pots of red/green peppers and 10 of Carnival/mixed peppers. We will give some away to friends. 


The worst part of transplanting is the 'Planticide'---the sacrificing of all the weak plants and transplanting only the seedlings with the strongest stems.


After two days in the pots  are doing very well.


These big trays hold 20 of these pots and space along the side which I will use for bulbs in bigger pots. Space will become an issue.


The East window is set up for the Broccoli starts because it is a bit cooler here. The sun disappears but there is still great light. We will set up some grow lights for cloudy days like today to supplement light. 

Young plants need at least 12 hours of light to grow strong. We also run our ceiling fan on low to encourage thick stems.


I have a thick vinyl tablecloth covering my furniture.  We will add some plastic shelving to this cabinet, when more plants are started.

What I have planted and date so far for 2023.


Broccoli  on 2/1 transplanted 2/20
Yellow Honey Gold tomatoes 2/7 
Yellow Pear tomatoes 2/7
Carnival Peppers 2/7 transplanted 2/20
Japanese eggplant 2/20
San Marzano Tomatoes 2/20
Best Boy Tomatoes 2/20


Green Zinnias, old package and harvested seeds 2/21
Black Eyed Susans, harvested seeds 2/21
Cherry SF seeds (2022) 2/21
Autumn SF seeds (2022) 2/21

I plant old seeds early to see if they are viable. If they don't come up in two weeks, I will plant same or similar with new seeds. 

Seeds have become so expensive and so few in a package, harvesting and sharing with friends is really a good way to try and make a savings while gardening. Reusing old containers is excellent for the environment, and recycling plastics is also good when they are no longer viable. 

Some greenhouses take back containers and trays, be sure to ask rather than throwing them away to live forever in landfills.

OUR Goals: will be to move into the newly insulated Greenhouse with heat by March 10---but this will all depend on if we can get the new insulation in there! April 15th isn't that far away---we won't plant peppers or tomatoes in the ground, but many seedswill be ready to go into the ground then. I hope to get lettuce started next week if we can find a place to do it!


If you enjoyed this post please follow this blog by blogger or FOLLOW IT which you will find in the upper right hand corner of this page. 

Thanks always for visiting. 
I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.

I will be sharing at these fine Parties!

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle