Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Rain it Raineth Every Day

I want to make sure I have the dates of last week’s rainstorm down in black and white, not only because of the misery our neighborhood has gone through, but because I will have a date of reference next time the City Council says we were visited by “a hundred year rain.” That’s what they said twenty years ago.

I didn’t need this message last Thursday or the accompanying loud warning noise. I had already gone down to the basement and seen the water swirling around the floor of the large finished room we have there. I admit that the night before I snuggled in bed, listening to the rain and somehow not thinking it might be a good idea to go downstairs and pick up the two large rugs. It was several hours before the enormity of the situation sank in.

We live in what is usually referred to as an “upscale community”, if you like to use vocabulary like that. We certainly have a couple of extra “e” s in the name. Although one of the nicest features is the variety of the architecture, the houses are for the most part red brick, well kept up with landscaping to match. The majority were built at the beginning of the century (ours was built in 1929) and as modern styles of living came into vogue many people had one or more rooms in their basement finished, with fireplaces, TV sets etc. Ours is mainly used by the grandchildren and is pleasant but not opulent. Just about everyone has their laundry room in the basement—my knees are beginning to object.

As the rain tapered off we ventured outside and everyone was asking, “How much water got into your basement?” The house across the street had none and we just had an inch, but we were hearing numbers like “14 inches, three feet et al.” Phones rang off the hook in insurance companies and soon people were dragging sodden possessions into the street. Before too long this was the view from our front porch as flood remediation trucks poured into the neighborhood. Our neighbor’s tree came down across the sidewalk. The city removed it quickly, but if if had fallen the other way it might have done damage to my car.

Later in the day the City Council sent out a press release. 2.5 inches before 7:30 a.m. another 2 inches between 7:30 and 9:30. “The level of water within the city’s storage system rose to the point of reaching the station’s transformers at approximately 11 a.m. Because of this, pumps were taken off line . . .”

Over the weekend people put up Facebook pages to share information. Words like class action suit were bandied around. There was a garbage pickup every day. Photos began appearing. I saw over 160 photos like this on one day, but there were many more by the next.

 The streets were lined with garbage bags, furniture, carpet, washers and dryers which had shorted out, bookcases, books, children’s toys—you name it. My neighbors were due to leave for Italy on Monday and Tim had to go out and buy a new washer so they could get ready for the trip. I don’t know what happened to the beautiful sauna they had in their basement. There has been some more rain, but not a huge amount.

A new word has come into the local vocabulary—rage cleaning.

And I forgot to tell you, on the evening of the day that this happened we had tickets for the performance at our local theatre. The show—and I kid you not —was “Singing’ in the Rain.”

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