Monday, December 03, 2007

Zen and the Art of Flood

I had been planning to write a post here about the use of leaves as compost for your garden beds, but I realized today that this blog is called "Rainy Day Gardening," and since it's the rainiest day Seattle's had in as long as I can remember and I was just out in the yard with a shovel doing some emergency "gardening," I figured I'd take this opportunity to unload a little misery on you guys instead. Next time I post, I'll be all "educational" about it. Today, I just want to whine.

As anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows, we are in the midst of the worst rain storm the area has seen in years. Know how I know this storm is the worst one we've seen in years? Because when we woke up this morning, I discovered we had magically become the owners of riverfront property during the night. We weren't the owners of riverfront property YESTERDAY. However, we sure are today! I'm sure you catch my drift on this one.

As charming as riverfront property may sound to some, the downside of it is that our garage is at the bottom of our hilly driveway, and if there's one law rivers tend to obey consistently, it's the law of gravity. I suppose I should feel lucky, as the intersection only four houses down from us is closed due to four FEET of standing water (we've only had more like four inches in our driveway), and the golf course across the street is now quite literally a LAKE. However, it's hard to feel lucky, even knowing things could be so much worse, because in only 90 minutes this morning, we mopped and shop-vac'd over 30 gallons of water out of our garage. We couldn't get the water up faster than it was flowing in, and about two hours ago had to declare the flood the victor and surrender.

The morning started with Denial, as I cheerfully piled up sand bags and leftover (unopened) bags of garden soil to try to block access to the garage. I grabbed a shovel and started digging trenches in the front yard along the driveway to try to give the water pooling on the concrete better access to the more-absorbent dirt (see? This post IS relevant: grass + shovels + rain = rainy day gardening!). Then I pushed up my (wet) sleeves, grabbed the mop, and started work on the garage floor. As I emptied my third bucket, I thought I must surely be about done. That's fifteen gallons of water I'd mopped up right there, after all -- how much more could there be?

But then I looked more closely and realized with horror what was truly happening -- the water wasn't just seeping slowly into the garage like it has in past storms -- it was actually FLOWING. I could actually SEE the water moving along the floor of the garage, like a little current was forming. I started to feel a tinge of panic and ran to go wake up my husband for an extra set of hands. The two of us began frantically sucking up water with the shop-vac and mopping, but it only took thirty (futile) minutes of that for Denial to turn to Extreme Panic (me) and Anger (husband). And then the freaking out and cussing began.

I'm happy to report, however, that we've now moved quite smoothly into the Acceptance phase. As soon as I started whistling the theme to Mickey Mouse's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, we realized the situation was pretty much out of our control. We put down the mops and started to empty the garage of all its boxes, stacking them neatly into the dining room as we made Noah's ark jokes ("How long is a cubit, again?") and talked about plans for lunch. And now, as I write this, I'm working hard at letting go of the stress. I strive to simply become one with the flood. The flood does not hate me. The flood is not out to get me. The flood is at the mercy of gravity, just like everybody else. The flood will do what floods do. And then it will be on its way.


Hope you guys are all staying warm and dry, wherever you are today! Please feel free to use the comments section to vent, rant, complain, whine, or just update us on the weather in your area. I'm off to check the garage -- if you've got a Buddha handy, give its belly a lucky rub for me!


Janet said...

You poor thing! I hope the water has started receding. How's the garage? Total disaster or salvageable with some minor repairs?

We lucked out. The creek in our yard rose to within about a foot of the top of the bank, but that's it. There were some road closures on the east side of town, and one of the freeways near me closed due to standing water.

Hang in there.

Meg said...

Yep, the most amazing thing was that Tuesday morning, all the water was just GONE! It had been thigh-deep in parts of our neighborhood, but overnight, poof! So, we spent yesterday cleaning up, drying out, and reattaching broken gutters, and though we're sore and exhausted today, I think the worst is over!

At least, I really, really hope it is!

Lordy, the yard is a mess.

mightymatt1313 said...

Your blog caught my eye becauseof a book I jusdt finished writing. It is called the Zen of Watering your Garden.