Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jet lag and Flooding

We are back in Beijing for 2013-2014 school year and school is in full swing. Jet lag is rough going this time around for some reason but we are getting back into the groove slowly.

Four days into coming home the mother of all storms broke loose in Beijing. It was raining so hard and the thunder and lightning was incredible. Last year, in July, Beijing had horrible flooding, I believe over 20 Chinese were killed in the Beijing area, mainly because there doesn't seem to be any type of city infrastructure to deal with water, snow...well just about anything to be honest.

 Fast forward to 4pm on Sunday and I'm in the basement checking sewer drains, bathrooms and such, worried that all hell was going to break loose and it does. I hear the sound of water rushing, go back to our mechanical room and we have what looks like a fire-hose stream of water rushing from the side of the house, near the 10' ceiling, into our mechanical room. I quickly grab a bucket and scream for my hubby. He starts on a two bucket brigade, filling, replacing, emptying and repeat every 30 seconds, while I run up the stairs to try to contact the management company. I call, they barely speak English and I could tell didn't understand just how much water we had rushing into our basement. Luckily, friends of our were home and offered to bring buckets and come help. Sadly, were were in emergency mode and I didn't get a picture or video of how much water was rushing in, I swear it was unbelievable.

Right at the top corner on the left is where the water was coming in!
See the electrical box too?
Yeah that was also all wet!

After three frantic calls to the property management company, the blue smurfs, as we call the property management workers show up with their toolbox (looks like a tackle box and you're lucky if it has a screwdriver in it) and immediately start scratching their heads. Fast forward, they come back with a water pump, set it up on the West side of the house, turn it on and NOTHING happens. Did I mention the water is pouring in at the NorthEast corner of the house at a rate of a bucket every 30 seconds?

Here is a picture of the flood of our side yard.

So all that water, and more is pouring into our basement and the blue smurfs, lovely called that because of their bright blue attire can't get their pump to work, or even get it within 30' of the problem for that matter. 

Praise God because the same neighbors that came to help us had brought with them, to China, a North American pump, we had a transformer to allow it to work with the 220V power supply here, and after an hour and a half, and a lot of struggles we had the water being pumped away from the hole where all the water was coming into the basement.

Now you ask, why was there a huge hole in our wall from the outside? Well it looks like the plumbing lines for the A/C were coming from the A/C units into the house and someone just left the big ASS hole open, without closing it.  Worse part, it was supposed to pour cats and dogs for the rest of the night and next day and we still had a hole in our basement wall.

Bring in the blue smurfs who have done NOTHING, by the way, it terms of help yet.  They bring some cement and proceed to put wet cement in the hole from the inside. For anyone who doesn't know physics realize that if we would have had another flood of water, said cement would have just fallen into our basement with a rush of water like some wet poop. It was a band-aid when we needed a cast.  

Luckily for us, we didn't get any more large rains that night and the next afternoon the workers came and did something out back. Last night it rained and we didn't have rain in the basement.  Problem fixed? I'd love to go see what they did, but I have a mud wrestling pit in my backyard right now.  Check this out:

We are so lucky that a) we were home when this happened, b) we were in the basement and I heard it within 2 minutes of it happening, c) we had buckets and friends with a pump.  I shutter to think how long hubby would have continued emptying buckets if our neighbors wouldn't have come to the rescue with a working pump and if the rain had continued.

The moral of this LONG story, the expat community rocks, we take care of our own, and in China expect the unexpected, ALWAYS.  It truly feels like the Twilight Zone over here. Nothing goes as planned, we are very lucky that our basement full of stuff didn't get trashed and ruined in the flood.


  1. This post doesn't have nearly enough expletives considering the situation.

  2. I have to agree with Rachel, the only blessing is that if it were an American basement there would have been 10 tons of stuff getting ruined, so you got that going for you! And, you can take comfort in the fact that although I was saying, omigosh every two seconds reading this, the description of your smurf helpers cracked me the hell up!! :-) Hang in there my dear!!!

  3. Beth, believe it or not our basement here has as much stuff as a basement there, including my entire American pantry, our bikes and outdoor stuff, an entire theatre room, my living room furniture from back home, our washer/dryer and hubby's office. We just got lucky that with buckets we were able to keep the water just outside of the mechanical room.

  4. I was expecting something crazier at the end like then the hand of God came down and smashed something or at least there was a rainbow of some sort. Nope just a mediocre ending. Ha, Glad you are back and slowly adjusting!

  5. A hole in your freaking basement? Good lord. It's a wonder you didn't get any critters to try and come in to make a home. That would have been really scary to deal with that much water coming in the basement, I know I would have freaked out for sure. Thank goodness for neighbors!

  6. Brendan sorry it didn't have a more exciting ending, I kinda liked it that way. Check back tomorrow