When in danger or in doubt…

… run in circles, scream and shout (Robert Heinlein, “The cat who walks through walls”)

The temptation to run in circles presented itself earlier this week.  Let’s just say our street developed a small water problem after a three-day downpour.

I was ready to scream and shout after my neighbor called me at work and told me about this.  Fortunately I got horrifically stuck in traffic, and was thus saved from rash actions.  I had plenty of time to calm down and to work out a rational course of action with my husband on the phone.

Everything turned out fine in the end – the street got over a foot of water, and the field across from us became a lake for several days,  but our house was ok.  My heart goes out to all the folks I know who had significant water damage in their yards and basements.

Lesson learned: even in the face of a real emergency, take a couple of minutes to think about what to do.  I find that I almost always get a better outcome that way.

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2 Responses to “When in danger or in doubt…”


  1. 1 David Locke March 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    When I was a kid (1973), the creek behind our house came up to the top of the ravine behind out house. That was over our property line, but at our fence line. The utility easement was back there down the hill slightly. We didn’t take the hint.

    One Saturday morning when I was going to pick up my son for the weekend, I turned on to the usual road and was looking at the water on the road, more than two feet of it. Good grief. I took a different route, but the rain was pouring down and six inches of water flowed down the hill under my tires. I picked him up and went to my parent’s house. I was talking to dad when water came in under the garage door. Yes, we where flooded.

    The city had grown outward, so there was more of suburbia, less green space feeding this water into the creek and heading it our way. The water didn’t come up the back ravine, but came out of a drainage ditch, that the city had constructed in the years since we move there, and ran down the road flooding the house from the front. That was the minor flood. Another one hit twelve hours later.

    If you didn’t like this flood, think about how your city will change and how the flood will be worse the next time. Consider doing something now, so you don’t lose the stuff that we consider our lives.

    Mom got a new portrait of me for Christmas. You lose that kind of stuff, stuff that matters immensely.

    • 2 Elaine Chen March 20, 2010 at 6:22 am

      David, sorry to hear about your flooding experience. Our part of the town had a similar transition. My neighbor told me 30 years ago our part of town used to abut a whole bunch of wetlands. It’s now nearly all gone. Someone described our town’s storm drain problem as “a bathtub with a slow drain”… After having water in the garage 2-3 times in 6 years, we now keep nothing of value in our garage and we park some place else when there is a really bad rain or thaw.


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