I grilled hamburgers for supper this evening – not because it was nice weather for grilling (though it was), but because it was the only dinner idea I could come up with, given the contents of my fridge and freezer, that didn’t require using the oven. You see, my oven was already in use. It was full of music – sheet music, that is.
Yesterday morning, going downstairs to get some clothes from the dryer, I made the unhappy discovery that there was water on my basement floor. A quick check showed that the sump pump was working quite nicely in the corner that had the water problems previously. This time, all the water seemed to be seeping in from the opposite side of the house.
We have had a bit of rain lately. As of yesterday morning, we had had 3.35 inches of rain so far this month – and it was only the fourth day of the month! Average rainfall for May is 3.92 inches. So the ground was rather saturated, and the water looked for any openings it could find. Apparently it found some in our basement walls.
Naturally the walls are a bit hard to get to – a workbench here, a wardrobe there, a bookcase, storage shelves. And piled on the floor are boxes, boxes, and more boxes. We got them all off the floor back when we had water problems before, but with the problem apparently fixed when we had work done a few years ago, we stopped being so careful to keep boxes off the floor.
One good result of it is that in the course of cleaning up I found some stuff we had been looking for. Unfortunately, some of it was rather damp, including a large pile of choir music. After I had spread a few dozen pieces out on tables to dry, my husband suggesting using the oven.
If you’ve ever used the oven to brown paper to make it look old (treasure maps, pseudo-historic documents), you know that paper starts to scorch at a temperature far below the 454 degrees Fahrenheit it takes to burn. I wasn’t sure exactly what a low enough temperature was, but we started at 225 degrees, and discovered that on the lower shelf that was still too high. (We used stuff we didn’t care about saving as test cases.)
On the middle shelf, however, at 200 degrees, sheet music dries out nicely. The pages don’t lie flat anymore, but I’m pretty sure that would be the case no matter what method I used to dry them.
And we found one piece of music we had been looking for without success for several years. It’s an arrangement of the “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, …” used in the Communion liturgy, that we always sang at a church we used to attend. We’d like to use it at the church we go to now, but we couldn’t find it. And do you know how hard it is to find something with that first line on the internet, among a zillion other songs that start the same way?
So I guess the wet basement was a good thing, in a way. Even if I still have a few more soggy boxes to empty and put in the trash.