The Flooded Basement
Lucille Lang Day

1. What the Contractors Proposed

Beginning near the left front corner
of the structure, we will excavate
to a depth of about eight feet,
removing concrete and landscaping
as necessary. The trench will continue
to the porch, then cross in front of it.
The sub-drain, lined with filter fabric,
will be back filled with drain rock.
A perforated pipe will facilitate flow.
We’ll dig a sump, about nine feet deep,
and install well casing and a sump pump,
with all required plumbing and wiring,
to force water to the street. This system
will intercept run-off and seepage flow
before it can creep beneath the foundation
and saturate the sub-floor area. We will
place and broom finish a new entry walk
and remove all dirt, concrete, and debris
created by our work. Total price:
thirteen thousand dollars. Certificates
of Workers’ Compensation and Liability
Insurance will be provided on request.

2. What We Did

I took a flashlight to the basement,
found a cascade of crystals where rain
had poured over the foundation, dry dirt
under the walkway, water dripping
in just one spot. Gene bought eighteen
dollars worth of concrete and shaped it
to route the water down a storm drain
while I drank coffee, remembering
the dentist who tried to sell me
orthodontic work. He said without it
my jaw would dissolve. Two decades
later, it’s still solid as the sub-floor area,
fish still swim, and leaves holler green.


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