December 2015 marked the end of our 29th year in this house. When we first moved into our home, we had some cracks in the foundation in the laundry and storage area that leaked a bit during heavy rains. A professional company used epoxy injection to alleviate that problem and we lived with a dry basement after that. Years later, when we decided to have our basement refinished, the repaired area was not even part of the living area so we had no concerns.
Our basement has gone through an evolutionary process over the years. Our children, three in number at the time our basement was remodeled, used the space to entertain friends. Our son’s bedroom was also down there. Because our stairs enter the basement at an inconvenient place, the living spaces are separated. Through the years, various sections of the basement have included a foosball table, a television viewing area, a dart board, two desktop computer stations, a treadmill, a weight machine, a fairly extensive library of books and several old tables used for a variety of activities. The storage area near the laundry space held whatever we needed to store. The closet under the stairs was home to off season clothes, luggage, and Christmas decorations.
The college years arrived. Each year of their college career our children brought home their belongings “for the summer.” After the freshman dorm experience, they each moved to new apartments every year. Many of the belongings that came home in the spring did not go back with them in the fall.
Our son and daughters graduated and left us with a “not so empty” nest. After college my oldest, our only son, moved into an apartment with a friend. His collection of Legos, Playmobile sets, photography magazines, Pinewood Derby cars, model cars, rocket sets, shop class projects and foosball table stayed behind. Eventually the foosball table found its way to his flat, but the other sadly abandoned items seemed to multiply. My second child left college and moved to another city. She bought new things for her apartment, took some of her belongings from her younger years, and left others behind, including a fragile 4 cubic foot dollhouse that my husband had constructed from a kit. After several years away she decided to move back home and work on her Master’s Degree, asking to stay with us for six months. At this point she brought with her an extensive collection of furniture, home décor items, kitchen appliances, and clothing. When she moved out two and a half years later, she left behind things that somehow would not fit into her new apartment because her roommate had duplicates. These items, too, seemed to produce progeny. Then my youngest moved to another city. She left behind drawers full of scrapbooking materials, a guitar, a keyboard, juggling equipment, and prom dresses. Of course all three of them left behind shelves full of textbooks that they knew they would use again!
By 2013 all of the children were gone from the nest, but it was far from empty. The foosball area gave way to stacks of plastic containers and the bedroom became a walk-in closet. The wardrobes that were meant to hold desktop computers now were used for storage as my husband and I had graduated to laptops. The basement that had been crowded but seemed to provide sufficient storage when the children were home was now packed with bits and pieces of the lives of five people because, of course, my husband and I had also accumulated new things. My children occasionally took things that they realized they wanted, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. I think they were secretly adding other things to the collection.
So….December 2015 marked the end of our 29th year in our house. Then the rains came. This is what the National Weather Service reports about our St. Louis precipitation for that month.
The following weather records were broken during this event:
- Wettest Year on Record 61.24” (Old Record 57.96” in 2008)
- Wettest December on Record 11.74” (Old Record 7.82” in 1982
- December 26th Record Rainfall of 4.87”
- December 26th Rainfall of 4.87” set Daily Rainfall Record for December
- December 26th Rainfall was 3rd Wettest Day Ever Recorded in St. Louis History
- December 28th Record Rainfall of 2.59”
The week after Christmas my husband went to the basement one morning and found puddles about an inch deep at the bottom of the basement steps.