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So we had some flooding today, and more rain due tonight. Nothing that hasn't happened before - except it's been a while since we've had this problem. Water came in from the patio to my dad's study - it is his "man cave" and has his recliner where he sleeps. Stanley Steemer came in and ended up taking up the carpet to remove the pad underneath, then replacing the carpet and removing most of the water. (they were awesome by the way.) Dad had trouble finding the ph# of the handyman he usually uses.I found it for him on the computer. I also went downstairs to make sure the basement had not flooded. It hadn't. I checked the water level in the sump pump and felt it was too high. I know what the sump pump does but no idea how to check it. Dad came down with me but could not see the level of the water (the pit that the sump pump is in is dark, and so is the sump pump itself.) Stanley Steemer guys were nice enough to go down and take a look and they agreed the sump pump did not seem to be working. I found a number for a sump pump repair person (Mom wasn't sure what heading to look under for sump pump.) Mom called the technician who told her how to check. She went right down to the basement. I was afraid to fiddle with it so I got on my computer to see if there was any online instructions. Mom came back up, was annoyed that I hadn't come down, said she did what the tech said and it didn't seem to be working. Repair people will be here in the morning. Please cross your fingers for us. Mom doesn't like to throw stuff away so if that basement floods it will be catastrophic. Sorry for the novel I'm trying to describe how disorganized this evening was. It was made worse because my father couldn't seem to remember how we handled this situation in the past, and he was moving very slowly. (Poor guy had to deal with stairs that he normally doesn't use.)
My point to all this: my father has handled any repairs etc. the house has needed. Thank goodness he is very organized, I know where he keeps his info, etc. Here is a sexist question - my apologies in advance. In my opinion, men seem to have some built in knowledge of things like how to fix a toilet or figure out why the back yard doesn't drain properly. As executor or whatever it's called sometime in the future I will have full responsibility for maintaining this house, although I don't plan to live here the rest of my life. My dad once made the (unappreciated) comment that I did not make enough money to maintain this house. so how do I handle big events like today? The house once held a family of five, so it's multi level and a good size. I have been a homeowner but it was a lot smaller and had not had the amount of work/improvement this house has had. thanks for reading!!!

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Buy a copy of "Home Maintenance for Dummies" it is actually a good book.
Fortunately I am married to a Renaissance Man who can fix anything, even if it needs a 25 pound sledge hammer. He calls it "The Persuader".
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@onlee - Books. Yum. Just reserved it from the library - thankyouverymuch! good idea, akdaughter - thanks. I will check with Dad to find out where the water goes from the sump pump. thanks everyone!!!!
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I found "How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home, Updated and Expanded" by Charlie Wing to be a good reference. Try Lowes, Home Depot, or online at Amazon. It doesn't solve everything but allows me to decide what to tackle and when to call a professional.
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AKA, good catch, can't believe I forgot to mention connection the pump to the pipe! LOL!
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Glad you got the sump pump replaced, Miasmom. There is one more step involved after dropping it in and plugging it in. You also have to connect it to the outlet pipe so the water is pumped to the outside or to a drain, whatever the requirement is in your area. Also, if you want to eliminate those 4am checks, you can buy a water sensor that sounds an alarm if there is water on the floor. We had one in a previous house because our pump failed frequently due to the amount of sediment in the water. Hearing the alarm was definitely preferable to stepping into several inches of water at the bottom of the stairs!
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You go looloo, and everyone else who does any kind of "fixit" stuff!!!! so sump pump replaced, basement drying out, machine still drying out study, sore backside, Dad set up on oxygen for sleep, one can walk through the basement without breaking a limb and two SUV loads of sodden cardboard -gone. Now if my cousin calls to cancel her upcoming visit next week we are in business. Progress, people. I would like to finish by the following: Mom had to go out for something and picked up books for me and Dad from the library (something I usually handle.) Dad and Mom invited me out to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant (not Dad's-which was nice), I took my butt to class and I'm off to bed with my favorite four legged creature EVER. this day is O-V-E-R and not only do I love my parents, as frustrating as they may be, i love you guys. thanks again and "I'm so glad we had this time, together." :)
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lol, Miasmom, I LOVE love LOVE Carol Burnett! I'm learning a little bit about home maintenance, but anything requiring comprehension of spacial relationships, anything that needs fine motor skills, and I'm a bit of a lost cause. My husband can't believe that I'm really that stupid about most of this stuff, but he's seen me trying to do jigsaw puzzles (torture!!), so he knows I have a mental block of some sort. I'm not trying to be a damsel in distress, I really AM that incompetent about most repair-related things. I can do some very minor things, but will call the pro's for anything else.
I was so proud of myself about a month ago though -- before a long road trip, I popped the hood on my car, and checked my fluid levels! I replaced my window washing fluid myself, and then drove to the mechanic to have him add oil and whatnot.
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I have a brother in law who comes at the drop of a hat to help. I am so fortunate, as I have no mechanical ability. He loves my Dad, and would do anything for him. He has been a lifesaver, and I let him know how grateful I am.
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I should buy you all thank you beer LOL. so what is odd about this whole situation is that we had to wait for the sump pump person to call us back so we all kind of just hung out after I woke up. Our neighbor called bec she didn't feel well, and Mom went right over there, and I don't think she should have. Neighbor has son she could have called. I decided to go do my volunteer work (citizenship classes for Nepalese students) instead of skip it and my mother doesn't think I should have gone. However, if there wasn't so much crap in the basement, most of it hers, we would just have to move a few things around and instead of clearing out sodden boxes and throwing away things that could have been donated. You guys do see where this is going, right? LOL I am not one to pick a fight and my mother and I actually get along well but the saving stuff is getting out of hand. And this is why. I've been stewing about it for a while but kept my mouth shut as it is still mom's house. I am the only one here strong enough (and sure of my balance) to move the heavy stuff around (like a sodden carpet) and it's damn near difficult because there is so much clutter in the way. I try and support her in recycling, but she goes ballistic if I recycle instead of saving a JIF peanut butter jar, even though there are 2 full JIF peanut butter jars in the pantry. heck, maybe I"ll buy myself some thank you beer. LOL okay rant over thank you thank you for tuning it to "As the Stomach Turns." Anyone out there a Carol Burnett fan like me?
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I don't know if you could sneak off for a few hours here and there, but my sister has gone to short classes at Home Depot and learned some really handy stuff. I use the Internet forums and youtube for all sorts of things like cleaning the washing machine filter.
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I'm trying to do the various things that need doing around the house. I get a lot of pushback from my husband about I what I do because he feels that I'm taking over his role as man of the house. Trouble is, he doesn't even acknowledge what needs fixing, much less what to do about it. A while ago the neighbor spent hours fixing a leaky water line outside that led to the sprinkler system in the back yard. My husband started out trying to work on it, but eventually drifted away. He did buy and deliver the "thank you" beer for the neighbor. It is hard to keep up with all that needs doing. I plan to sell and become a renter. Let the landlord handle this stuff and have the home equity turned into a liquid asset. Hmmmm, sounds good to me.
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First, as to the flooding issue...

Put bowls of kitty litter and/or baking soda in the basement to absorb any odor.

Fix and/or replace the sump pump; if you're not comfortable with the repairman's suggestion or attitude, call another one.

You can put bricks (since they're nonabsorbent) in the basement and set the bags of stuff on them, unless the stuff is wet and/or moldy, in which case it's better to throw it out unless it's really valuable. I've read that some clean-up companies can dry things out.

Run a dehumidifier as well to control the moisture.

Call your insurance agent and report the damage. Your homeowners' insurance should cover any damage and repair costs due to flooding.

Second, there are some excellent DIY and repair forums. This Old House has one, but there are some competing alpha males and that rivalty can sometimes be tedious if they're arguing over whose answers are more right.

My favorite is boards.diynetwork/eve?a=cfrm
. There are at least 2 remodeling contractors, some very experienced DIYers, including one female who knows more about plumbing than most men. There's also an electrician, a plumber, and a lot more DIY'ers.

If you explain that you're a novice and ask for extra details, you'll get it.

Third, as to the continued flooding issue, if this has gone on for sometime and the sump pump can't solve the problem, contractors would recommend installation of a French drain. This is a lot of work and costly though, so see what the insurance agent and repair person has to say.

Fourth, although a lot of people recommend Angie's List, I've found them to be aggressive in trying to get me to join and had to be quite rude to get them to stop unsolicited e-mails. In addition, one of the contractors whose truck claimed an Angie's List endorsement was a plumbing contractor whose service was terrible. The work was done, but the plumbers were unprofessional. One blew a fuse and ruined a telephone. The other bitched about the brand of faucet I bought.

I've found the best contractors by calling the building inspection department of my city and asking who does a lot of work in our city. They shouldn't really be recommending any specific contractor, but they can tell you who they've successfully worked with a lot.

You can also watch the DIY network if you have it. The Mike Holmes (Holmes Makes it Right) and John DeSilvia (Rescue my Renovation) series focus on problem solving, generally much broader than most of us would face, but there's a lot to be learned.
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If there is water in the area of the sump it is not working. It may just be a matter of purchasing a new pump at home depot and dropping it in the pit, and plugging it in. Be careful where is the plug? Above water line?

I enjoy the home maintenance stuff, I have even installed a few dishwashers, changed out faucets, etc. Sure it take me longer to do these things, but I'm insane and find it relaxing!
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thank you everyone. My alarm clock did not wake me at 4am so I could check the basement. We have some water down there, again not too bad, but enough to be obnoxious. Now to my next challenge: trying to make Mom understand that although she has nothing to do with the flooding, it is made worse by all the stuff sitting down there because when she cleans she puts it in a bag and puts in downstairs instead of going through and getting rid of it. I also have some stuff down there - maybe time to get rid of it as well. Thanks again everyone. Love this website. Will take notes when the repairman comes. :)
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Nope, it is not an inborn thing with male. My father taught my two oldest brothers who were very fast learners (to avoid the fist/feet). Baby brother was mom's favorite and did not do much chores like his older brothers. When I ask baby bro (now age 45), he still doesn't know his way around the house. Like me, he calls the experts, the plumber, etc... to repair his house.

I'm now the main caregiver for dad. Like your father, when I used to ask him advice on the leaking shower or the toilet, etc...he would struggle hard to remember and just can't. I tried my nephews of next door - but they don't know how to solve the problem. So, I now call the plumber to do the repairs.

As for YouTube... I'm too scared to try it, and then get stuck halfway. Then have to wait until morning to call the repairman.
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Taking on household maintenance responsibilities is especially common when a husband is incapacitated. One of our sons took over most of the responsibilities, bless him. But of course things occurred when he was not around also. I used a handyman service. I called on relatives who might be able to guide me through at least a triage. I called in professionals. If I HAVE to I can look at an online manual or a YouTube video. But, hey, I didn't go to school to be a nurse and I was already dragged into one role I didn't choose. I avoid home maintenance to the extent I can!

One of my stepdaughters and one good female friend are awesome at this kind of thing. I'm not sure it is an in-born gender difference. I just know I'm not into that kind of thing!
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On the sump to check if it is operational dump a few buckets of water into the pit. That should trigger it to turn on. Anything that you need to do check out YouTube videos. Itis a great resource to learn all kinds of things!
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