Summer, Interrupted

This summer has been fraught with challenges.


It started with the book deadline. Looming large in June. A July 1 submission date. So I postponed summer until July 2. Disregarded the calendar and the weather. Fully intending to emerge fresh and ready and victorious on July 2. Ready to visit our city’s sites. Homegrown tourists. Or to pack up a cooler and hit the beaches. Picking a different one each day. Mixing it up. Finding new favorites …


… while browning our pale white waxy winter skin.


Yes, that’s how it was supposed to go. The plan was set.


And then the first storm hit on June 30. And epic storm. Or, as some a local news station dubbed it, ‘wicked weather.’


So as I was frantically trying to finish my book submission, our basement was filling with water. But not just any water. Sewage water. Pouring out through a never used basement bathroom.




Or more like cry.



Those fabulous day trips to see the city’s sites and Lake Michigan’s beaches was put on hold. For a second time. As the clean up began.


It was a big one. Starting with clearing out the many tubs and containers and things I’ve been stashing down in the basement for years. All in the name of a yard sale I kept postponing year after year.




They currently live in our garage. Forcing me to park my car on the street.


And then we brought in the big guns. To muck the yuck. And rip up the carpet. And rip out the drywall and insulation.


Checks were written. And plans were put in place to finally host that yard sale. And to finally get that basement organized.


And I thought the worst was behind us.


Silly me.


Before any yard sales could be hosted or basements organized the unthinkable happened. A second storm. And in less than two weeks time, we watched in helpless horror again as our basement filled with city sewage.




The basement was cleaned up again this week. And that never used basement bathroom ripped out and capped off. A call to the city from me and my neighbors (we weren’t the only ones playing host to Chicago sewage in our basement) uncovered a city sewer problem. A crumbling infrastructure literally crumbled and clogged the sewage pipes on both ends of our block. The water had nowhere to go, so it found its way into the older foundations on the street.


Needless to say my diy budget took a pretty big hit. Along with my diy motivation …


Let’s hope that my many years-in-the-making garage sale next weekend is a big hit!



Winking smile

Linda Signature Gold

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  1. says

    OH, LINDA, my heart goes out to you to hear what Mother Nature and the CIty have put you through! The personally sullied feeling alone is near intolerable–I remember because multiple sewage back-ups were visited upon us one spring when the children were little. We lost a lot of stuff. (But at this full-up point, that is probably just as well!) I hope the City fixes what it can at least short-term so this NEVER happens to you again, and I hope you are soon to be found among the sandy sedentary, with a cold clinky something waiting for you at day’s end.

    • says

      Louise – misery truly does love company! My neighbors are all feeling my pain as well. And, trust me, I’m all over the city on this one. Running down the block after the workers visited and getting a first-hand look down the sewers (from up top, not in) from them. And, like you, there certainly was plenty of stuff that truly needed to go (just looking for that glass half full perspective)! :) Linda

  2. Shanna says

    Louise- It’s been a miserable summer in the Chicago NW burbs as well. Fighting with the insurance companies and contractors to repair our larger than golf ball hail. Luckily we did not have sewage in our house – just flooded the street for a while. Hugs to get thru it.

  3. says

    oh man. not fun i am sure. i actucally met a blogger at Haven who lives in chicago and had the same thing happen. i am going to try to remember her blog/name. good luck with the clean up and with the garage sale.

  4. says

    Oh man! That sucks so bad! First, I’m glad you’re finished with the book. What a relief! and what an accomplishment! Second, I totally empathize with the whole sewage/storm water thing. Our neighborhood had something similar happen 3 times a couple of summers ago – not from a collapse, but from some pump malfunctions. It came up through the basement drains and also the bathrooms in those homes where there are bathrooms. Fortunately we didn’t have any flooding then. Those of us who garbage pick had to be really disciplined for a long time about what we picked up!

  5. says

    Oh Linda. This really sucks. If this happened to my basement I would be in the same situation. It is a hoarder’s dream. I’ve said for years that it’s going to take a natural disaster to get it cleaned out. Good luck with your sale. I’ll pray for good weather!

  6. says

    My….that IS a lot of adventure. More than one would wish for. But all great things seem to happen in the feast or famine pattern. Maybe you can fly to the Bahamas with the garage sale money. Or to Canada. I’ll send thoughts of many rabid garage salers your way.

  7. Jill Johnson says

    That was a very sad story! Cry indeed! Oh the hours of dispair, anger, toil, & tears summed up in your sentences. So glad you capped off the never-used bathroom. Take that Chicago sewer line! May August be just glorious – let housework wait till winter: hit the beach, parks, and bask in the sunshine. God bless you Linda!

    • says

      Thank you for those words of encouragement, Jill! I’m blissfully ignoring my basement right now. The smells have subsided (or perhaps I’ve just grown accustomed to it?) and the garage is still full of “stuff,” but I don’t care! The sun is shining and I’m hoping for some warm temps this week to accompany our beach forays!!! :) Linda

      • Jill Johnson says

        Gotten used to the smells. Oh eww, I have been there! You need a trip to a bakery and a handmade soaps shop! Water Tower Place has both! I hope every day finds you reclaiming your space and inspiring you to fun new things! (To share with internet friends!)

  8. says

    Oh Linda, I’m so sorry. Makes my crawl space full of water last fall and nasty standing water in the mud that was under my bedroom look like a walk in the park. I’m glad that you got some help to get it cleaned up and that they finally uncovered the problem. Hopefully, it’ll be corrected soon. I KNOW that your garage sale will be a huge success…you’ve got great taste! xo

  9. says

    I hope your insurance covers it Linda ( or the city is responsible or something !!! )
    What a horrible thing to happen ( it happened to my mother while we were staging her home for sale – cry is right !!! )


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