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On June 13, 2015, Tropical Storm Bill dumped 1.83 inches of rain on Moline, IL, where we reside, which broke a record for rainfall in a 24-hour period that had stood since 1880. Yay, us. Our house has a brick foundation. …...

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Good Kitty No More

Filed Under , , on June 20th, 2015

Cat Finds a Way

By Seth Kabala

On June 13, 2015, Tropical Storm Bill dumped 1.83 inches of rain on Moline, IL, where we reside, which broke a record for rainfall in a 24-hour period that had stood since 1880. Yay, us.

Our house has a brick foundation. Normally, it does ok in mildly wet weather, but ask it to withstand the onslaught of a tropical storm, and it will lie down faster than a bantam weight in the ring with Mike Tyson. (Because Tyson’s opponent is spending all his time covering his ears instead of boxing, leaving his face and body open to jabs. … Nothing? Ok, moving on.)

While we don’t have a traditional drain-tile system that feeds into a sump pump, we do have a sump pump, sort of. Somewhere in the past, someone had the bright idea to bore an 18″ hole in the concrete foundation. The hole goes nowhere. More on that later. In this hole, they placed a wooden four-pod. That’s right–a four-pod, and within the structure of the four-pod rests the sump pump, kept upright by the four-pod’s stabilizing legs, which are held together by screws that must be tightened monthly or the whole thing falls apart. Quality.

The four-pod is a medieval-looking contraption built of rough-hewn (i.e., literally hand-crafted) 1 x 1s. I don’t know if such lumber exists in modern construction plans. My theory: a strapping mid-20s 14th century woodsman–broad chest, narrow waist, tawny hair–felled a tree with an axe, hacked it into boards, and then used the axe blade to strip the bark. This woodsman was unable to square and smooth the lumber, as the Bubonic Plague liquefied his insides and killed him. Even so, the lumber was sufficient to hold a 21st century sump pump. Thus, the circle of life is demonstrated.

(I guess I didn’t need to say “killed him.” How would one survive with liquefied insides? Now I’m picturing the character B.O.B from Monsters vs. Aliens, or Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate. However, it occurs to me that B.O.B started out as a genetically-modified ranch dressing and tomato combo, and then gained consciousness. It did not start out as a human. Thus, the inability to convert a human into sentient, conscious food is the ONLY reason one cannot survive contraction of the plague.)

As with any pumping system, you need a series of pipes and/or hoses to carry the liquid away from its place of origin. It follows, then, that said piping and/or hosing should be hole-free. As mentioned earlier, the boring in which our sump pump rests goes nowhere after it reaches its 18″ depth, so it only fills up when the ground is saturated enough for all the other cracked areas of the foundation to seep, so having a working sump pump only alleviates maybe 20% of the wet-vac work I have to do, but I’ll take what I can get.

When I turned on the sump pump, it became a fountain, spraying water out of dozens of holes. Books got wet. I cried a little. When pushed through the holes, the pressurized release of water looked like a liquid porcupine (new band name!). I was pissed, but not surprised, as this had happened before.

After the liquid porcupine dissipated and retreated into its hole (go to your home, liquid porcupine!), I examined the holes and determined they were the exact width of the main chompers (what? Am I an animal dentist?) of our cat, Toki. The previous spring, Toki had committed the same crime, biting the shit out of the sump pump hose during the dry months, slinking off like it was nothing, failing to report the incident, leaving me to discover it only when the rain came. Thanks, cat. See if save a seat for you next time Noah builds an ark.

To fix the problem, I did what any red-blooded American male would do: I bought a new hose, insulated it with a neon green pool noodle, and wrapped the whole red-neck mess in duct tape.

So far, the hose is relieving itself as it was intended to do, though I doubt its long-term efficacy. After all, paraphrasing Dr. Malcolm, Cat finds a way. So I’m left with two options: 1) spend thousands of dollars to install a drain-tile system and properly water-proof the basement, or 2) get blunt-edged dentures for the cat.

I see no other alternatives.

Where’s the Yellow Pages?

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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