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This Ms. Jones didn’t even know what a sump pump was until standing ankle deep in water while writing a $300 check at 3:00 in the morning. Ah, so that’s what that hole in the basement floor is for! Thus I was baptized into the world of underground plumbing – literally.

It wasn’t long after that a passing storm knocked out power to the new sump for 24 hours, just long enough for the basement to fill up with 14” of water. In the meantime, the space had been finished into a home office. Out went the new sofa, rugs, bookcases, printer, speakers, books and countless pounds of priceless paperwork into a 40 yard dumpster.

Several months and several thousand dollars later, the office is re-renovated and another workspace is added. A worker comes to install a network and run some cables. In the tangled mess of wires he doesn’t notice one dangling cord, and the sump pump is left unplugged. We consider ourselves lucky to discover the small pond before it crested the lowest shelf.

It’s OK, you can say it: We were stupid. A few hundred dollars for battery backup or a generator would have paid for itself many times over. It is being installed this afternoon.

Do you have a perennial problem? What keeps popping up that you keep pushing aside? Are you using Band-Aids when surgery is needed? Do you put out fires instead of fireproofing? What does Ms. Jones constantly complain about? Where does your system fail over and over? Who is the weak link who drops the ball every time it’s passed to them? How can you fix this once and for all?

You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!”

Well, at thrice, you move beyond simple shame to slap-yourself-in-the-forehead stupidity.


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