It started around five. I called K to see if she’d need to stay late at work and asked her if it was raining.
“It’s coming down pretty hard here,” I explained.
And down it came, through dinner, through clean up time, into play time. E and I were by the window when I realized how significant the rainfall really was.
Sheets of rain; gusts of wind. I had these terrible images of one of the enormous trees in the backyard falling onto the house. What would we do? How could I protect my children, my wife?
And still it came down.
Looking into the backyard, I saw we had a lake. And it was growing. Within a few minutes, I realized why: the stream was no longer a stream. And within a few more minutes, we were all standing in the carport in shock.
But it was nothing compared to what I saw when I got to the neighbor’s yard. Looking into her neighbor’s yard, I saw something that literally made be question my grasp on reality. Water flowing out of the house. Pouring. Torrents running out of the house.
The poor folks were getting it from three directions.
Seeing the owner in the garage, I walked in and asked him if he needed help. I could only imagine what might be going on inside the house, and I thought if I could help him move anything at all to higher ground it would be more useful than standing around with a video camera in my hand.
Fortunately, at that point, nothing had gotten into the house. It was just flowing through his garage, he explained. He’d lived in the neighborhood for close to forty years, he explained, and he’d never seen anything remotely close to this.
I promised to return later to see if the situation had worsened and if he needed help.
It turned out, though, that we had our own issues to deal with.
“Where did the water come from?” K asked. Walls? Floor? Who knows. When this much rain falls in such a short time, the answer is probably, “All of the above.”
I vacuumed for at least half an hour before I really felt I was making no progress at all.
“Surely I’m just imagining this,” I muttered to myself. “Surely I’m making progress. I’ve emptied this thing at least ten or twelve times, and it supposedly holds sixteen gallons. That’s a lot of water for it to show no change,” I continued, still rambling to myself. (The more confused I am, the more likely I am to begin talking aloud to myself. Perhaps I’m not the only one?)
I decided to take a quick break and see if the water rose any. That would confirm my obvious suspicion that water was still flooding into the house.
By this time, though, the rain had almost stopped and the water was lower, almost returning to the confines of the small creek.
What remained was a fetid mess.
An expensive fetid mess: the house, about a half a mile away from our humble home, with a backyard so gloriously landscaped I thought it was a park, no longer had a beautiful garden. In its stead was a lake.
It was no Katrina. Flash flooding at the most. Still, enough of a view of what water can do to put famous floods into a more meaningful perspective.