37 inches to go

If you’ve seen The Great Race you know this by heart as Professor Fate and The Great Leslie discuss their predicament on a slowly melting iceberg.

The Great Leslie: [measuring the iceberg] Thirty seven inches to go.
Professor Fate: Oh, 37 inches to go. Huzzah! At the rate we’ve been melting, that’s good for about one more week!
The Great Leslie: You’d better keep it to yourself.
Professor Fate: Oh, of course I’ll keep it to myself. Until the water reaches my lower lip, and then I’m gonna mention it to SOMEBODY!

At 3:30 Sunday afternoon it reached my lower lip.

It had been raining, hard, since the middle of the night and was going non-stop. It was like the rain was on a mission. I hadn’t seen it like this since sometime in the late 80’s, near as I can remember it.

We’d just gotten back from running some errands and I was settling in, listening to the rain, feeling warm and content, and thinking about how nice a nap would be… Just then Karen announced we had a lake in the side yard. The words of ‘drama queen’ were halfway out of my mouth when I poked my head out of the back door and HOLY CRAP!!!

We had a fricken lake in our side yard.

Years ago I had a huge problem. When it would rain the water seeped into the house and the carpet turned into a giant soggy sponge. I had that fixed by removing about a foot of soil from the side yard. Short story; soil’s higher than the foundation, soil gets wet, stucco on outside of house gets wet, stucco sucks water into wall, wall into house, house into carpet.

I never thought I’d have to worry about that again, until I was looking at a mini lake next to the house. Karen voiced my own thought that the ground was hard and not absorbing the water. I threw on my boots, jacket, and hat to fend off the rain. Soon I was digging a few holes to break up the ground. Now I had the same amount of water but now it was muddy with holes that I’d later be stepping into up to my knee.

The ground wasn’t hard. It was saturated and wasn’t taking any more. Okay, next plan. Grabbing a ten gallon bucket I started bailing. I’d only get it filled about a third but I was chucking a lot of water out of there and it didn’t make a single dent. About that time my hardy REI jacket had decided it didn’t want to be water resistant anymore. My boots had reenacted the sinking of the Titanic and were submersed beyond hope. As I’m standing there, now completely soaked from head to foot, catching my breath the rain started coming down even harder. I just stood there watching the water rise in less time that it took me to bail it out.

How could this be??? Then I noticed that the water pouring off the neighbors roof was pouring onto their paved side yard and created small waterfalls under the fence into my yard.

The bucket wasn’t working. Time for plan C. I got the bright idea to siphon out the water using the water hose. It didn’t work and I swear I can still taste muddy water.

Plan D. We need a pump. Yeah, it was that bad. As I step into the kitchen water trickles out of my boot like I’m walking around in giant, soaked sponges. Leaving a track of mud and water through the living room to the computer and do a quick search of my local hardware store where I discover a bewildering selection of pumps. I was a bit overwhelmed, but thankfully Karen steps in and says, ‘Lets just go there and work it out with someone who knows.’

In fact that’s what a lot of people did because when we walked in we asked the greeter where the pumps were and they laughed saying they should just mark a path because everyone was coming in for a pump. We were very lucky because they were down to their last eight pumps and there were two people there getting one.

Back home with our trusty sump pump the instructions say it requires it be deep enough in the water for the little float to activate the pump. It’s pouring down and where I’m not soaking wet I’m covered in mud AND soaking wet and digging a hole that I can put my whole arm in. After a few tries I get the pump in place and it kicks on.

I can’t begin to tell you the child like joy of seeing water gushing from the pumps hose. By now the sun is starting to go down. Karen and I had been at this since four and it’s nearing seven. I can see my breath fogging in the air and the cold is working it’s way to my bones, but my heart is warmed by the murmur of that little pump working away.

Through all of this Karen had jumped in from the very start. She got just as soaked and cold and never complained or given in and gone inside. When I snapped she never snapped back but took it all in stride. You’d have to be there to really appreciate just how miserable the conditions were, but I could not be more proud to have her as my wife.

Finally confident we’d gotten the worst of it under control we threw warming coffee down our throats, had hot showers which stung and left us reddened and headed over to Marks place. It was like entering a Hobbit hole. It was warm and merry. There was a giant hobbit there to feed us hot soup and we devoured a couple of bowls each while enjoying Marks company and watched Family Guy Star Wars on his awesome new TV.

What a day it had been. The new reported that we got six inches of rain. I beg to differ. I was in it and it was WAY more than six bloody inches. As a side note, I never thought the day would come when I’d say I love a sump pump, but I do.


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