It’s been quite a week here, folks. Mother Nature has not been especially kind to my part of the world in the last couple weeks. As I mentioned last week, our new-to-us car sustained $7500 worth of hail damage from a sudden storm that came up as my car was parked at my office one day a little over a week ago (luckily we have insurance, but if we want to get it fixed it will cost us the $1000 deductible).
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The storm onslaught continued this week and dumped inches and inches of rain on us. It’s literally rained for something like a week straight, which does not typically happen in my drought-prone corner of the world. You can guess what happened next, right?
Yep. Our basement flooded.
And the Stress Level Rises
We couldn’t believe it. We were already super stressed about the hail damage on our car and all the last-minute things that have been coming up in our impending adoption. We do have a sump pump, but it got overwhelmed because it was raining so hard and fast a few nights ago. To make matters worse, water also came in through the walls at the other end of our basement- so that water is totally unrelated to the sump pump.
Long story short: the carpet from our basement now resides in the backyard in a soggy heap. The furniture and belongings from our basement reside… everywhere but the basement.
Our house is a disaster right now. The mattress from our spare bed is stacked in the soon-to-be-nursery. All the books from our bookshelf are now decorating the floor around the kitchen table. All of the files from our file cabinet are stacked in the corner of our bedroom. Our desks have been dismantled and in their place in the basement are industrial-sized fans and not one, not two, but THREE dehumidifiers.
The word on the street is that we need more drain tile in the basement (the former owners put some in, but not in the spots where water is coming in now). And of course we need new carpet. And then of course we have to put the basement back together. Our homeowner’s insurance has informed us that they will not cover any of that. We don’t have flood insurance, as we don’t live in a floodplain- we actually live almost at the top of a hill, for crying out loud. Aren’t you supposed to be immune from flooding if you live at the top of a hill???
And did I mention that we are supposed to be adopting a baby soon?
Being Thankful for the Emergency Fund
I can’t help but give a sorry laugh over everything that’s happened in the last week. I am so thankful that we have an emergency fund! If this isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is. And we’ve been squirrelling away more money than usual in the e-fund lately thinking we might like to have an extra cash cushion in case there are any last-minute adoption expenses. Little did we know that we’d also face some punishment from Mother Nature right before the adoption! I just hope that we don’t also face extra adoption expenses, because that would put even more strain on the e-fund.
All this, and yet we know it could be worse. Another side effect from all these storms is that a tornado hit a small town about 100 miles from here a couple nights ago. The 23 year-old son of one of my co-workers lost his home. He is a brand-new law enforcement officer living in his first home- which is now a pile of rubble. He and his girlfriend lost everything except the clothes they were wearing.
Paying it Forward
My co-workers are of course taking up a collection of money and clothing for them. So the silver lining here is that my recently-emptied basement has given me extra incentive to get rid of things. And what better way to get rid of stuff than to donate to someone who just lost everything they have? We’ve also listed a bunch of books on Amazon, thrown a bunch of stuff in the trash and recycling (luckily I now have a bigger trash can and cheaper plan), and we have a pile of things to list on Craigslist now.
Thankfully Mr. CMF’s parents live in the same town as us and they have really been helping us out in terms of assistance with drying out the basement. They’ve been coming over the empty out the dehumidifiers and move the fans around during the day while I’m at work and Mr. CMF is sleeping (he works nights). They arranged for someone to come put more drain tile in our basement. But if we did not have that emergency fund I shudder to think what we’d be doing right now. Freaking out and putting a ton of things on the credit cards, I’m sure.
My message today is short and sweet: Life can throw some crazy curveballs at you when you least expect it. Expect the unexpected. Make sure you have a solid emergency fund!
When was the last time you had to use your emergency fund? Have spring storms also wrought havoc in the area where you live?
Suggested Reading: One of my favorite books that talks a lot about the importance of an emergency fund and how to get it is Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. This one is definitely worth a read if you find yourself struggling to save an adequate emergency fund or get financially on track!
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