August 14, 2003

When It Rains, It Pours

Stories of my own stupidity make great journal fodder because there are so many of them, and I'm adding to them daily!

Yesterday I was a little late leaving work, and I was due at my cousin's house, but I wanted to fill my heating system with water, now that it has been repaired. I needed to purchase some "corrosion inhibitor" to prevent internal rusting of the iron pipes. Home Depot had never heard of the stuff, which is par for the course for shopping at Home Depot. If they don't carry it, they've never heard of it. So I decided to fill our heating system with water without it; it's largely optional and we've never used it before anyhow.

On the way home, comically, the radio station DJ proclaimed that the thunderstorms were going to end. The sky was fairly clear where he was, I suppose, because he mentioned that there hadn't been any thunderstorms and that he expected there wouldn't be any at all. It was about 20 seconds later that the first raindrop hit my windshield.

Soon I was in the midst of a full-blown torrential New England thunder storm. I stopped to get some sweet corn to steam while I was filling the heating system. Leaving the supermarket was an adventure as twin forks of lightening arced from the sky with an almost immediate and dramatic crack-boom. I ran.

Once in the safety of my house, I turned the water to the heating system on and closed the petcocks (a.k.a air cocks -- valves to release air pressure) on the downstairs radiators to prevent it from overflowing once the water level got above the first floor. I boiled some water for my corn and went upstairs to turn off the computers as thunder actually shook the house. While I was there, I changed into more comfortable sneakers.

Rain was filling up the gutters and rushing urgently through the aluminum downspouts. It's amazing how quickly a summer storm can quickly flood everything. The roads leading down towards the river had turned into tributaries. Riverside Ave began to full up like a basin, with silt and sand from higher playgrounds, yards and roads deposited across its width. All accompanied by loud splashing, rumbling, dripping, pelting, banging and cracking.

When my corn was ready, the phone rang. It became a juggling act as I tried to handle the steaming cob and talk to Mattie's new soccer coach who wanted to set up a practice schedule. I was late, trying to handle my dinner and in a rush, but I spoke to him for a little while while I could hear water rushing and spraying.

As I climbed the stairs it occurred to me that I hadn't closed the valves on the upstairs radiators. And that the sound I was hearing might not be all rain-related. I had to rush the coach off the phone when I saw that the bedroom carpets upstairs were beginning to be soaked by water spraying from the radiators. What followed would have looked comical had there been anyone there to enjoy it as I forgot what I was holding and scalded myself as I ran down the stairs to get a radiator key, tripping over my not-quite-tied shoelace.

I avoided injury while turning off those tiny (unintended) water faucets, and turned to the task of sopping up all the water. What a mess. I called to my cousin's house to explain I was going to be late and found out from Liz that poker had been basically cancelled. There had been no need to rush. I would have had the evening free.

But now I had given myself something to do.

Epilogue: Thank goodness for A/C. The only rooms that got wet were the bedrooms - all air conditioned. If it weren't for that, the carpets would be a musty, smelly, soppy mess despite all my efforts. We'd be on our way to mold city. Instead they were almost completely dry this morning. No harm no foul, except for a wonderful evening spent cleaning and how thrilled Maggie was when she got home.

Posted by James at August 14, 2003 12:36 PM
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