3 Feet and Rising

I spent the morning watching the newly formed lake behind my house rise due to the heavy rains we’ve been getting. There was a poor squirrel trying to get from tree to tree without falling into the waters. In our driveway, there is a sizeable pond forming. We also have one of those flow septic systems and when the ground is as saturated as it is, well, you can probably guess what could and has happened if we flush the toilet one too many times.

We’ve learned quickly that on these days, we can’t do laundry, we can’t use the dishwasher, and if we must shower, it has to be quick. An alternative would be to run outside naked with some shampoo and soap, but it’s only about 45 degrees out so that shower might even be quicker. I’m not sure what the police reaction time would be if the neighbors see us though…

In my life, I have been lucky enough to not witness many floods. I’ve had plenty of times where we had to bail out a basement or garage or two, but never a threatening flood that could engulf the rest of the house. This might be the closest I get to that.

When I went to the Mideast for the war in 1990, we had torrential rain that they said hadn’t happened in hundreds of years. The rocky and sandy ground was saturated and everything was flooded and wet. Every hole we dug filled up quickly with water until we realized we were just wasting time. Sandbags would only help so much and were used more to keep water from our tents than anything else. Sandbags are heavy…wet sandbags are really, really heavy. We were actually grateful when the rains stopped and we had a sunny morning…that is until it hit 120 degrees. That standing water went away quickly and the desert erupted with flowers that hung around for a day or two before the intense sun burned them away. It was beautiful for a short moment.

I remember once when we lived in Wisconsin a horrendous thunderstorm rolled through. The hail was the size of golf balls and left dents on our vehicles. It was so heavy and lasted a few minutes, but the tornado that was reported just missed us. It was late Spring and the heavy hail tore leaves from the trees. The leaves flowed to the sewers and clogged them up. I was watching from the front window when the realization of the clogged sewers hit me. I ran outside.

Armed with a heavy rake, I worked my way through water that was freezing cold and up over my knees. I looked and saw my neighbor waving at me from his lawn. His face said it all…better you than me, it seemed to say. I didn’t wave back.

I reached the sewer and began to rake the leaves out of the grate. The water rushed so forcefully it nearly took my feet out from under me. After a few minutes, I seemed to be making a difference. The water rushed down the sewer and slowly lessened after about five minutes to puddles. The way I saw it, I saved a number of our basements around our house. If I would’ve had time, I would’ve built a channel of leaves right into that neighbors yard who just waved and didn’t help.

Anyway, here I am again and there’s nowhere for this water to go. We have at least another 36 hours of heavy rain to go according to the weather report and I’m wondering where all the water will end up. I’m not really too worried that it’ll get into the house, but the garage might catch some flooding before it’s over.

If it continues, I might put a “donate” button on my blog so I can build an ark. It’s worked before…

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