Thursday, September 8, 2011

Well It's (not) Flooding Down in Texas

No serious musician can read that without hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan tearing it up.

As it turns out, it's not flooding or even raining or misting in Texas.  It's a regulation mess.  They need the water.

The irony here is that the Philly area has had more rain than they can deal with.  Chicago has had more rain at this point than other entire years.  Texas can have all of Philly's rain, as far as I'm concerned.

I am not a climatologist, weather forecaster (although chance is almost as accurate), or marine biologist, therefore I cannot being to figure out where to place the blame for this horrendous weather.  As we say here, it's not a climate - it's a plague.

We recently had an earthquake on a Monday.  By Friday we were in Total Panic Mode<tm> over an impending hurricane.  The hurricane was more news fury than damage (thankfully), except for several inches of water in the basement. 

I am also not an excavation specialist or basement magician, yet my task was to remove the water from the basement with the aid of a wet-vac.  As it turns out, water is very heavy, especially in five-gallon containers.  I spent the next three days feeling like I was run over by a small fleet of eighteen wheelers.

Just for fun, the area got five and a half additional inches of rain last night.  While this isn't too far from the norm, there is simply nowhere for the water to go because it won't stop raining.  Hence the lovely happy voicemail from my wife on the ride in this morning (since I moved from Verizon to T-Mobile, calls tend to go to voicemail), stating that we got more water in the basement, this time encroaching on our freezer at the far end.

Water eradication used to be an easy task years ago.  The water stopped pouring into the basement after we re-graded the soil outside.  The remaining puddles lefty via the sump pump.  This worked perfectly and automatically, therefore the township had no choice but to start inspections, insisting that all sump pump evacuation routes be blessed by the county (looking up, reverentially).  We actually had to let them into our basement to see that our pump was correctly installed.   Since the pump drained into the sink, we were ordered (HEIL!) to spend five grand to have it drain into the street or remove it totally.   We removed it totally.

So I have that to look forward to after work.  Small wonder my back is trying to send me images of Texas and Arizona at this moment....

So aside from my own full-size olympic basement pool, the first order of the day was to get to work.  Normally a relatively easy task, I had no idea of the Herculean feat that would be required.  Fox News was already in Total Panic Mode<tm>, advising people to stay off the roads (although they hadn't yet announced that they were pre-empting their normal schedule to go wall-to-wall flood coverage).  Because it won't stop raining, there was simply nowhere for the water to go.  Because there was nowhere for the water to go, it pooled.  Because the water pooled, people tried to drive through it.  Because people tried to drive through the pools, their cars died in the flood (one of the first was a police car).  There are very few live brain cells in the Philly metro area, especially among its drivers.

One of my carpool signaled he would need a ride.  A few moments later, he texted that he would be running ten minutes late, as his recycling bin had ridden the rapids and he was out in a futile search for it throughout the county - he needed a hosing-off then a shower.  This fellow comes up with better and more creative excuses than a crack addict.

When I got my most recent car, it started snowing as I drove home.  To keep things consistent, carpooler #2 just purchased a car and she has to drive us to work through a flood.  Things only get better from here.

It's a twenty minute ride to work, normally.  When I say normally, I mean with no traffic, during summer recess, when there are no buses or parents taking their godforsaken brats to school, choking up the roads.  Since school just started, the ride went to forty minutes overnight.  When you add in flooding, it's anybody's guess.

Because of flooding, one of the major arteries had to be closed, dumping all traffic onto the small road we use to get to work.  It was jammed solidly for a few miles in all directions.  Total gridlock. 

To make things just that much more interesting, we had Stereo Cacophony.  On the right, we had the constant blaring of horns, from `helpful' people beeping at cars that were simply not movingWhy do people beep horns at gridlock?

Even more unnerving and infuriating was the noise in my left ear, which turned out to be the new stereo, which was playing the new `music' from the new stations.  When I say total f-ing garbage, I'm not kidding.  The noise made me long for Britney Spears - it was that bad.  I didn't hear a single real drum for the entire ninety minute ride.  There was even a discussion of which we hated more, country music or rap music.  I noted that both terms are oxymorons.

I also realized that if I was lucky, I might be able to get a job as one of those guys in rap groups who looks angry, wears a wool cap, and says HEY into the mic every now and then.  It would suit my mood well.

To add to the hilarity, after the ninety minute car ride, the entire department was abuzz over fantasy football.  I have half a mind to go into the firewall and block the URL.

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