Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Joy in Mudville

In the continuing saga of the historic rain here, the day after the rain fell was Friday night. Date night for my youngest daughter Samantha. She and her date, a respectable RM, decided to go to the park. Unfortunately, the park was under 4 feet of water. Unfortunately, that didn't stop them.

They waded out until they found the swingset. They swung in the swings for awhile. I'm not sure quite how they managed since the swings were actually under water. When they'd had enough, or were too cold to stay, they got up to leave when, to their horror, both of them had lost their sets of car keys in the murky waters. They tried and failed to find either set of keys and got keys delivered from one set of parents and drove home for the other set of keys.

My wife and I were not informed of this key loss, which said keys belonged to my truck, until Saturday evening. We went speedily to the park where I waded out about 25 yeards only to decide that the water would be way to deep another 100 yards out where the swingset was located.

I talked to Chris about borrowing his kayaks mentioned in my last blog. He and Tandy decided that was as good an excuse to kayak as any and headed out before I could. In the kayaks they quickly got to the swingset. Chris told Tandy, "Watch my leg to see how deep the water is" and he got out of the kayak. With a shocked look he told Tandy, " I think I'm standing on the keys!"

Sure enough, the first place his foot touched down was on my keys.

Monday, Samantha and friend were going to meet at the park to look for the other keys, which Chris did not find. Before Samantha could get there, he'd already found his keys.

We're happy we found both sets of keys in the flood, but we were both disappointed that we didn't get to play in the kayaks and water.

I wonder what else I could find if I paddled out anyway...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clouds All Around and Pouring Down in the Middle

With the approach of Hurricane Ike, much of the south expected some rainy weather. In the plains where I live, however, we only usually average 22 inches of rain per year. When I moved here 6 years ago, we had a huge rain of 3 inches in an hour or so. Streets were flooded to overflowing. Local ponds spilled over their shores into the neighborhoods and the city decided to spend millions of dollars to put in a major drainage system. There has not really been a very large rain to test the system, but the small ones seemed to drain away as intended.

Hurricane Ike did not reach my home, but it seemed to alter the flow of moisture in the air sufficiently to cause a pretty good rain. OK, it was the most rain my area has received in over 100 years. Basically, the only other known rain that was larger floated an ark. We had a solid rain for nearly 24 hours, culminating in an accumulation of about 8 inches of rain.

I was taken back to days of my youth, towing behind and being towed behind a bicycle on an air mattress down the rain filled street where I grew up. My son, Chris, has several kayaks, all of which he most dastardly put into storage instead of leave at least one at my house. I would readily have put on my wet suit and paddled my way down the gutter into the evening news, but alas, por Twist, he hath no water craft small enough for such a venture.

At 2am after the rain, there was a knock on the door. Our friendly, neighborhood city engineer wanted to know if we wanted sandbags for our house. Now, I would assume, that he would have noticed, even at 2am in the morning, that there was no water near my house, that the water closest to the house was downhill at the end of the block, probably .2 of a mile away, but perhaps he was singularly focused on his task. Perhaps the flashing lights of the fire engine block the road there distracted him, but regardless, we refused his offer of sandbags. How short sighted of me! I could have used those bags of sand in the back of my truck this winter. Oh, well, maybe I'll get a couple of bales of hay instead.

There are lots of pictures of the flood damage, but none struck more fear in the hearts of people than the picture I included, the football stadium with 8 inches of water in the bottom. The pumps that would normally have made the water go elsewhere failed. With a home game later in the day, would it be ready in time?!? The fire department came to the rescue and thousands of fans breathed a sigh of relief and a heartfelt thank you to the firemen.

Later in the day than 2am, at a more respectable hour of about 10am, another city engineer, once again focused on his task, asked if we had any water damage from the storm. I once again pointed out that the water was about .2 of a mile away, down about a 6 foot drop in elevation. Several more 8 inch rains would still not make the water reach our house. He went away, somewhat disappointed that he could not add thousands of dollars in damage to our house to his slowly growing list. I expect the city wanted a larger list to report to the federal government. Maybe my hens and chickens were overwatered in the rain.

I wonder if it's still too late to put in some damage estimates....


Monday, September 1, 2008

Stuck in the Middle

I have a really good idea for my next book. If I do the book right, I will have a character developed for any number of future books. I'm off to a great start. I have what I think is a dynamic start for the book, a fair, vague idea of what I want to write and lots of notes.

Today being labor day, I thought I'd sleep in. For me sleeping in goes to about 7am, 7:30am if I'm lucky. I guess today I got more than lucky. I was starting to wake up at about 7:20am. Normally when I wake up the first thing that goes through my mind is my morning song. In fact, earlier in the morning as I stirred the theme song from Jonathon Living Seagull by Neal Diamond was my morning song, which, though I don't remember the dream, I remember it went with whatever the dream was. My last time up, however, instead of my morning song, which had started several times, something different ran through my thoughts. This morning what ran through my brain was the perfect way to end my book. I immediately got up and wrote down as much of the details as possible. Now all I have to do is come up with the five hundred or so other pages I want to write for this book

I'm going to need a new laptop.