You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Monday, June 28, 2010

Brief History of the Flood

It was a dark and stormy night. (Last Friday)

I had just put Sena to bed.

Matt left to go play poker.


More rain.

Then some more.

Add some hail. Plink! Plonk! Plunk!

Then I heard a different sound. Not lightning. Not thunder. Not a crying baby.

It was the sound of a giant tree limb hitting the ground. CRAAACK! Whoosh! Thud!
I didn't know what it was at first, so I had a few thoughts in my head. Actually, only one: "What the hell was that?"

I ran to the window and saw the tree limb. A biggin. Landed on the sidewalk and thankfully not a car. It would have crushed a car. As I'm contemplating this my eyes are suddenly draw to a sight I was unprepared to see.

A geyser.

A geyser was geysing! Is that a word? I don't know, but that's what it was doing. It was the manhole in the intersection at the end of the street. I actually ran outside into the driving rain to watch it, my mouth agape. A geyser! We got Old Faithful in the middle of South Minneapolis. It shot up once, blowing the manhole up into the air. It gushed again. The third time it went over ten feet high.

I thought, "Holy Shit!"

I wasn't the only one that saw it. And while I stood like an idiot in the rain I watched as it took approximately 2 minutes for the entire street to flood.

Our street has done this before. It's low on our end and the storm sewers can't handle massive amounts of water. The last time it was bad was five years ago. But this time I have pictures of it.

Because our neighbors hadn't been here when that flood happened and I noticed they had cars parked out front I ran next door to warn them. They had seen the whole thing and were in the process of getting on their galoshes to go move them. By this point the water is halfway up the tires on the cars.

"Better move them!" I say. Because I still have the memories of what happened five years ago in October.


There had been a heavy rain all day. I remember because my brother was flying into Minneapolis that night. He was coming back from a trip in Scotland. He'd been gone two weeks and I was going to pick him up from the airport.

Because of the rain the flight was delayed. And delayed.
And delayed.

I stop checking at the airport and wait until he calls me to say he's arrived. It's about 9pm. It's still raining.

I fall asleep on the bed holding the phone.

At 9:45 I awake to a heavy pounding on the door. I'm disgruntled, and stumbled downstairs, thinking, "What the fuck?"

I open the screen door. It's still raining.

I see my neighbor. And some other dude. They're both soaking wet.

"Is that your car out there?"

"Huh? What?"

"Your car?"

I peer out into the dark. The street looks weird; it's all shiny and shimmery. I rub my eyes and see the reason the street looks weird is because it is now a lake of water.

I'm still confused. "No, I don't have my car out front."

Then I have a horrible thought. A terrible thought. Mindy had a horrible, terrible thought.

My brother's car is out front.

I see it. A maroon station wagon island. In the middle of the lake.

I run outside without putting shoes on. I run toward the lake, run into the water, screaming like a loon. I keep repeating one thing.

"My brother's going to fucking KILL me!"

I don't even feel the water. I'm wearing sweatpants and suddenly they are all soggy. Then I remember something. "Shit! I need keys!"

I run back to the house. Matt is standing at the door, taking in the scene. I wave my arms like a baboon on meth. "Bucket! Keys! I need a bucket! Bucket! What are you doing? I need a fucking bucket!"

Matt looks at the lake with the dispassion of a stoic. He disappears while I run back to the car with the keys.

I get the door open and when I sit down to start the car my butt freezes. I'm sitting in water. I don't start the car. For some reason I'm afraid it will blow up. I put it in neutral and my neighbors push me out, back up toward the high end of the street. I sit there like a ninny with my ass in the water, trying to think.

Then I get out. Open the doors and start scooping out the water with my hands. Like a ninny.

Matt shows up with a small plastic cup. He is wearing his swim trunks and water socks. Talk about presence of mind.

I look at the idiotic cup. "I need a fucking bucket!" I think I say the F-word about fifty times, in various incantations.

"Does the car start?"

"I don't know. I haven't tried it."

I try it. It starts. I drive around to the back and park it by the garage. I get out and look at it. "Shit! He's going to kill me."

We had just gotten a shop vac, thank God. I start using it. Trying to suck the water out. It is slow going but it does work.

Eventually my brother shows up. He took a cab from the airport. I think by now it is almost midnight. Luckily, he doesn't kill me. He actually doesn't seem that upset, probably because he thinks his car is okay.

His car is not okay.

After a long involved story, the car is totalled. The electrical system is ruined. He tells me it's fine because the insurance will cover it and he said he wanted a new car anyway. I still feel like a shithead. Right now, typing this, I still feel bad about it.

But anyway, that's the story. And here are the pictures, which weren't as bad as the storm from 5 years ago. Sena slept through the whole thing and missed it.

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