That Time There Was a Swimming Pool in the Basement

That Time There Was a Swimming Pool in the Basement

Well, this is not the house update I wanted to give, but years from now when I look back on this blog and the journey it chronicles building our home we will laugh. Some of you may have seen the photos on social media, but here’s how the story went. 

It was Wednesday morning and started off like any other morning. I woke up, worked out, came home, etc. My darling husband had business meetings 2 1/2 hours east of town so he was off by 8:00 to go to his meetings. That means I was in charge for the day, both at work and at home. As usual, I drove by the new house on the way to work. Nobody was parked so I didn’t stop. The day went on like it usually does.

I took a late lunch and for some strange reason I decided to drive past the house again. I can’t tell you what it was inside me that told me to drive up there, but it was unusual for me to drive past there in the afternoon when I knew nobody was scheduled to be there. As I drove up the driveway, I saw the garage side door was open. I drove in the driveway, parked the pickup, and walked inside the garage. I knew something was up the minute I walked in the house. I heard a foreign noise. Typically the house is dead silent. Some days it is peaceful and other days it is plain eerie. 

It sounded honestly like a heater was running as I knew the heating contractors had been there the days prior. But why in the world would they leave it running? The noise was coming from the basement so I headed that way. The minute I turned the corner to go down the stairs, the sound registered. It was water. Running, flowing water. And I was staring at the bottom two steps in our basement covered in water. 

The next few moments I spent in a state of shock, audibly gasping as I could not believe what I was seeing. Our ENTIRE basement was covered in at least 2 feet of water. 

Photo Jan 14, 3 23 16 PM

How I did not instantly burst into a sobbing teary mess, I don’t know. Of course the first person I thought to call was my husband. I could barely get the words out and I admit, there may have been some curse words in there. Okay, maybe a lot of curse words… I never thought of myself as being cool, calm, and collected in emergency situations. But surprisingly, I focused exactly on what my husband told me to do. 

Go to the city office and let them know the water is on. Check. Somehow I put one foot in the front of the other and drove down there. By the time I got back to the house, two of my husband’s friends were already there. Thank the good Lord for them. They very calmly helped figure out why the water was on, start a pump to get some of the water out, and of course keep me calm and focused. 

Photo Jan 14, 3 23 02 PM

Once we got the water turned off, the next couple hours were spent trying to open as many drains as we could to get the water out and continue pumping. My husband raced home after my frantic phone call and was there before dark. 

So what happened? Well, someone ran over our curb stop. Essentially it’s a piece of pipe that contains our on/off valve for our city water. Luckily, they did not break the pipe otherwise that would have been a whole other deal digging it up and replacing the broken pipe. When they ran it over, it bent it down and turned the valve on. 

Since we are just in the initial stages of utilities, there is no valve inside the house to turn the water on and off yet so it was literally just pouring into the house from an open pipe in the basement. 

Photo Jan 14, 3 53 50 PM

You can see the rubber tire mark on the stop. It will need to be replaced eventually, but thankfully it can wait until spring. It will also be buried with landscaping so it’s not sticking up out of the ground so far. 

So were there any damages? To the structure of the house, thankfully, no. It is just concrete and studs right now. We are so fortunate not to have to be tearing out drywall, subfloor, or even worse a fully furnished basement. 

There were a few heating and electrical supplies lying on the floor in our utility room in the basement that got water logged. Hopefully most of them will be perfectly fine, otherwise we will need to replace them. And thankfully we have been carrying insurance on the house since the project begun. 

Once the crisis was averted, the jokes started. And the calculations. We figured that our basement was holding close to 34,000 gallons of water. Essentially the equivalent of two swimming pools. And it was filling up at 7 inches per hour. One of my husband’s friends (who was GREAT during this whole thing) offered to snap a photo of me, you know for memories sake. He assured me that once this was all said and done and our house was finished, we would laugh about it over drinks. 

He even got a smile out of me for the photo. I think I’m still in shock here to be honest. 

Photo Jan 14, 3 40 19 PM (1)

While this whole experience wasn’t something we wanted to go through, we are so thankful it wasn’t worse. I cannot even imagine driving up to our house the next morning with water flowing out our basement windows. I think I would have cried for sure then. We were able to get most of the water out of the basement. Some of the low spots still have about 1/2″ or so. It has slowly been freezing and once our floor heat in the basement is turned on, it will be just fine. 

I am so thankful for the people in our lives who were there to help me out when my husband was gone. I am so thankful for whatever it was that told me to drive up there when I did. I am so thankful it wasn’t worse and damage was minimal. I am so thankful that we were in the stage of building we are in. 

So today, I am counting my blessings. And giving thanks to the good Lord for watching over us and our new home. At least now we can say, “hey, remember that time there was a swimming pool in our basement?”. 

How’s that for a house update? 


  1. January 16, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    Jenny you can truly say your guardian Angel was with you that day and not only with you but guiding your steps to go back and take a second look at your house. God blesses those who heed his directions.

  2. Anjanette
    January 16, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    Love your sense of humor albeit in hindsight! xo

  3. January 16, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    Yikes! Isn’t it the truth that women have good institution. If I was in your shoes I am pretty sure I would have been one hot mess between being irate and cussing, and sobbing hysterically lol.

  4. January 18, 2015 / 5:45 am

    Oh, just admit it, you and Mark are preparing for an Arctic Plunge and wanted to practice in the comfort of your own home. GIRL!!!!!! I cannot imagine. Cannot. Imagine. Thank God for stirring your heart to drive by the house and providing wonderful, helpful friends in a time of chaos and crisis. I freaked out when I discovered the hot water heater was leaking in our master bathroom, I would have a coronary if there was a SWIMMING POOL of water in the basement. You rock, as usual. Love you, Smiling Swimmer!!!!!
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  5. April 12, 2016 / 7:26 am

    Love your sense of humor albeit in hindsight! xo