Friday, June 13, 2008

way too wet

We got hammered again yesterday and last night with more torrential rainfalls. The onslaught has been nearly unrelenting since last week. Widespread flooding in southern and eastern Wisconsin has wreaked havoc on those areas near rivers and lakes. That is to say, all of southeastern Wisconsin.

All the local tv stations have been reporting the weather created devastation nonstop for the past couple days. Each story is worse than the last. The scenes of people desperately filling and stacking sandbags in a mostly futile attempt to save their houses is gut wrenching in its pathos. The rivers keep rising, the dams keep failing, and yet people battle on, thinking that they can beat Nature at its most unrelenting. The human spirit stays high and dry while the world all around is drowning. You have to be impressed with the fight in people while still shaking your head at the futility of the fight.

The past winter saw nearly record setting snowfalls around here and now this June has been officially declared the wetttest on record. All anyone wants right now is a boring weather forecast. Yet the prognosticators are predicting more scattered showers over the next few days. The already saturated earth can't hold anymore moisture, so there will be even more flooding before the rivers and lakes start to recede and offer a respite for the weary. All eyes are aimed skyward while curses are uttered at the approaching clouds with one breath and prayers for relief are sent heavenward with the next.

All we can do is endure. Eventually some normalcy will return.

Monday, June 09, 2008

water, water everywhere

Well, we still have our heads above water after a long weekend of nearly nonstop heavy rains. I think the official total rainfall is somewhere around 6 inches. And most of that is still sitting there since the ground is thoroughly saturated. Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings were constant all weekend from Friday evening until Sunday evening. We spent about 45 minutes in the basement on Saturday when it looked like a tornado was about to appear. Sirens were blaring for quite awhile. While we didn't see any tornados, the winds were sometimes in excess of 60-70 mph with these storms, so there was a lot of wind damage as well as flooding. Scary stuff. But the only real worry we had through all of it was that the sump pump would quit and we would have to spend the next couple days bailing out the basement. Katie's (daughter-in-law) folks had it a lot worse than we did. Their basement flooded and they lost a lot of stuff. Their street was flooded because the storm sewers couldn't handle the volume of water that fell in such a short time, so the water had no where to go but to the lowest point, which turned out to be their basement. What a mess. Rivers are overflowing their banks and flooding areas all across the state. Roads, even the interstate, were closed for periods during the weekend, and the pictures of flooded and abandoned cars were a testament to the folly and sometimes stupidity of people thinking that they could go where no one else could. Still, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries caused by the storms and flooding. So that's good.

Right now it is darkly cloudy and nasty looking out there again. I think we are in for another round of showers today. The week long forecast calls for showers nearly everyday, but not the severe kind we had over the weekend. So the prospect of the ground drying out is only a dream right now. Our lake has reappeared in the backyard larger and deeper than ever, so we anticipate the arrival of ducks any minute now. The landscape is all impossibly green and lush because of the rain, too. The lake at the cottage should be at an historical high point as well. So there are some good things to come out of the biblical event--full lakes, green everywhere and a plethora of ducks to enjoy it all with. I can think of worse things.....

Monday, June 02, 2008


I’m concerned. I did something so out of character for me yesterday that I am questioning my sanity. I don’t know what caused me to lose it like that, so I am worried that I might someday have another attack of lunacy and do something really stupid.

You could count on half the fingers of you left hand (or your right if you are so inclined) the number of times in my life that I have washed a car. I don’t mean taking it to the carwash and driving it through the machine. I mean getting out the hose and the brush and the chamoix and the rags and actually going through the process of washing the car. I’ve always considered that one of the most useless, meaningless, ridiculous, futile exercises ever invented by man. Consider: as soon as you take the car out on the road it is going to get dirty all over again. If it rains within a day or two of your cleaning effort, you will be cursing the heavens for dirtying your car. Why bother with the frustration. Leave the car spotted and streaked and covered with the detritus of a well-used vehicle and be done with it.

Cars were made to be driven, not washed. Cars are transportation, not showpieces, unless you are engaged in a custom car show where the object is to dazzle the gawkers with the gleam of your chrome. Then and only then, is it permissable to take the time and expend the effort to wash and wax and shine a car. Otherwise, get a life.

So realizing where my attitude about carwashing lies, how do I explain my radical actions of yesterday. Ok, you say what’s the big deal? Washing a car isn’t earthshattering. But I failed to mention that I didn’t wash just one car. And if you’re thinking that two cars washed still isn’t beyond the pale, keep counting. We currently have four, count em, four, vehicles of various descriptions clogging the garage and driveway. We have the sedan, the minivan, the pickup and the visiting sedan. The first three are ours, the last one is our daughter-in-law’s, which is occupying garage space while son and daughter-in-law are on vacation. So, as not to show favoritism to any one of the aforementioned vehicles, I lost all sense of proportion and washed them all.

Perhaps it was the beautiful day, full of sunshine and warmth. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to go in the house where Mary was engaged in window washing (second on my list of ridiculous chores) and fearing that I would be dragooned into helping her, I opted to stay outside and look like I was doing something useful. I figured if she was watching me from inside, I could earn a few more husband points in the process, since she considers a clean car second only to a clean house. She has been known to lavish undo attention on all our cars and vans and trucks, even doing the occasional body work to restore them to their showroom quality. I am not ashamed to admit that I let her wash my truck whenever she wants to. It’s the least I can do to help her maintain her own sanity. But for me to get so carried away as she often does, is frightening. Maybe all these years of her goading and haranguing me about keeping the cars clean has finally seeped into my brain. Maybe my brainwashing is complete.

So now my greatest worry is that I am susceptible to the power of suggestion. If I can be brainwashed into washing cars, what’s next?
Washing windows? Shampooing carpets? Wallpapering? Voting Republican? If that happens, please put me out of my misery. Just be sure the hearse is clean and shining.