Thursday, March 3, 2011

FIRST BLOOMS, FINISHED SHOWER, AND POSSIBLE FLOOD


Time is short and the water rises. Should things get critical over the next couple of days, I wanted to zap off this quick report and update beforehand. 

First off, the shower project has been completed! Thanks to fellow-father-in-law Rich, without whose plumbing expertise we'd have been at a total loss. Rich worked tirelessly, cheerfully, and regularly to do what had to be done. I mostly stood around, occasionally held this or that, and practiced the art of idle chatter and shoot-from-the-lip quips as entertainment. Plus I fed him well. The finished shower looks great and works wonderfully. We are so grateful…

Second, the orange-yellow crocus seen above are the first blooms of the season to appear in my yard. They poked their colorful heads up Tuesday, and actually bloomed yesterday. I have hundreds of other crocus scattered around the yard, hillside, and amongst the planter beds alongside the house—but these are always the first ones to put up green shoots and the first to bloom. You know it's spring when the crocus blooms!

Third, below is a recent shot of the river. The first thing anyone asks when they see the stream's proximity to the cottage is, "How high does the water get?" Here's the answer. This is the upstream view. You can see most of the narrow deck which spans the front end of the house, the little landing which is at the top of the steps—now invisible—which normally lead about 12 feet down to the water, a bench, some of the stone patio I put in last fall, and a tiny bit of the wider side deck plus a small portion of the stone corner wall of the cottage; the front door is about two feet to the right, just out of the image. From where you see the water now, to get to the cottage's threshold is perhaps an additional 10-12 inches of rise. Not much leeway. Once inside, there's another 6 inches of rise needed to get above the level of the small entryway and actually onto the great room's floor. So as the situation appears in this photo, I have approximately another 18 inches to go before I'm in trouble.

In the past, that has always been enough. In fact, the water has never been any higher than what you see in this picture—and that has only occurred three or four times since moving here six years ago. This time, however, we could be in trouble. Snowmelt and days of heavy rain over that past week or two have left area fields saturated. There's no cushion of absorption. All and new water can do is remain on the surface and run off. The forecast is for heavy rains Friday and Saturday. Flood alerts have been issued. Many area homes and roads are already underwater. The river here is currently going down—and is, in fact, a foot lower than in this shot which was taken yesterday afternoon. But I'm afraid it won't fall fast enough to give us the necessary "freeboard" to make it through the weekend unscathed. I hope I'm wrong…but time will tell.



I'll post as I can. Your prayers and thoughts would be appreciated.

———————

47 comments:

Rowan said...

I certainly hope that either the rains aren't as bad as forecast or that your river level drops sufficiently to be able to absorb the extra water. Take care.

Grizz………… said...

Rowan...

I'm hoping for the same, but as of five minutes ago, the same forecast is being issued. I'm putting books and stuff in the attic. Saturday will be the critical time.

Thank you...

Bonnie said...

Let's hope the weather predictions are off just enough to spare you any water damage. Does water not leak into your basement even if it does not rise that final 18 inches?

Hope your back is not acting up as you try to move your treasures to a higher spot.

I will hold good thoughts for you Grizz.

The Weaver of Grass said...

This looks quite terrifying - I am used to such beautiful but gentle photographs of your lovely river. I shall be thinking of you this weekend - the only comforting thought is that rivers can go down pretty quickly. Although we do not flood here on the farm we do live near to rivers which can rise twenty feet in an hour - but they can go down at the same rate. I trust all will be well.

AfromTO said...

Better lift that piano up or put each leg in a high,thick plastic bag-will sandbagging the door help?hope the weathermen are wrong(they usually are)I will add you to my prayers.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

No basement, as the house is on a slab. Unfortunately, the back is in bad shape—and this is doing it no good whatsoever. But I have no choice other than to pop pills and grit through the pain.

I've already moved a few thousand books. Have a meeting I must attend tonight, then will come back and move more books until I run out of energy. Tomorrow, more of the same. Then wait re. furniture…

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

Quite a different view of thee river, isn't it? Normally, this river goes up and down fairly fast. But this time, the larger river this one feeds into about fifteen miles below here is even higher—therefore this stream can't get rid of its own overload at the usual pace. The water isn't exactly backed up from the other stream, but it's slowed and the drop rate with it.

It this unusual set of circumstances that's the problem and worry.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Sandbagging might help…if I had them. There are other products, too, which I learned about last night—but no time to get them in.

Re. the piano, my plan is to rent a box truck with a lift on the tail, roll the piano out and onto the lift, put it into the truck box, and do the same with any other large items. Then just park the truck here until the danger has passed, or if there's water damage and it's going to be awhile, take the stuff to a storage locker.

Penny said...

Thinking of you, I do hope not too much damage. Your little river certainly looks quite different. So much flooding here in Oz some farms in and around the River Murray have been under water for 2 weeks and no sign of it dropping, and these are farms, houses not actually very near the river at all.

Julie Baumlisberger said...

Grizz, our community has one main river, which floods once to five times a season. Fortunately, our family home is not affected, but many of our friends and neighbours have spent many an anxious few hours looking at the water level, willing it to stop rising, so I can relate to your worries. You and your lovely companion, and all of your belongings will be in my thoughts and prayers as you get through this. Julie

Grace said...

We are getting to see another side of your river! I hope for the best for you and your books. Take care.

Gail said...

OH GRIZZ_

I will so pray very hard that the water recedes. I do love the view and the feel of your deck and I am also so aware of the possible trouble should the water rise. God be with you and your lady love.
Love Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Penny…

I appreciate your thoughts. Damage, if it happens, will depend on how much water actually gets into the house. And inch might be only replacing the carpets; a couple of feet would be a major redo from the walls out.

Less is better…

Grizz………… said...

Julie Baumlisberger…

I'll take every prayer I can get—thank you. I've spent a few nights myself standing by the water, two o'clock in the morning, talking to my river, praying for the rising water to stop coming up.

Living beside a river is like falling in love—you have to put the best of yourself in the care of another, understanding that you can get hurt sometimes, but still believing the trade-off is the best deal imaginable.

Grizz………… said...

Grace…

You must risk when you place yourself beside a river. They do, each and every one, have their "other" side. But this old river has been very, very good to me—taken me in when I needed comforting, given me a home and life I enjoys, entertained me, provided understanding and solace and pleasure. This riverbank is my home.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Thank you, sincerely. I appreciate your words, your thoughts, and your prayers. I appreciate you.

KGMom said...

Yikes--that water's getting a tad high.
Living near the Susquehanna River (though not along it), we are familiar with the unpredictability of floods.
Harrisburg had a spectacular flood in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes dumped 12 inches of rain in several days' span on the whole area. Other floods we have seen have occurred when snow melt occurred too fast, ice jams unjammed suddenly--and everything flows downriver.
So, I feel for you--will also pray that "the good Lord's willin', and the crik don't rise."

Robin said...

Prayers and thoughts?

In a heartbeat.

Your home is our home.

Robin said...

'Living beside a river is like falling in love—you have to put the best of yourself in the care of another, understanding that you can get hurt sometimes, but still believing the trade-off is the best deal imaginable.'

Okay, that just became a quote. And I am praying, lighting candles and killing chickens for you.

And Grizz, I so hear the worry in your voice.

May your home remain whole.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

Part of the problem here is that due to snow and ice melt a few weeks back, and rain after that, the ground is saturated. Falling rain becomes surface water and instantly runs off—like pouring water on a table top. Nothing soaks in to give a cushioning delay. Plus, the spacing between the rains has not allowed the stream to return to normal pool level. So it's like a double whammy. Today the prediction is for 1-2 inches of new rain, and we had showers all last night.

Grizz………… said...

Robin x 2…

Thank you. I know you sincerely mean every word—and I appreciate them.

I meant what I said about rivers (and love) too. The best things life has to offer always require some sort of personal risk. Living fully is an adventure. We have to come out of our hidey-holes to claim our blessings…and when we put ourselves "out there" we're not only available but also vulnerable.

Some folks choose to live their lives hunkered-in, buttoned-down, hunched and fearful like a rabbit in a hole. Others hear the music of the spheres, and take every opportunity to dance.

My river is just being a river—doing what God intended rivers to do…rising and falling and flowing ever on because they're as alive as the wind and rain and a few old River Rats who love them dearly.

George said...

Having been sidelined for several weeks by the vicissitudes of life, I have missed much of what is going on in the lives of my blogging friends. I was heartened when I saw that lovely photo of the crocus in bloom, but the momentary joy switched to apprehension as I saw the rising river and read of your small margin of safety. Good luck, my friend. You and your ladylove will be in my prayers as the river does its thing. Be well and be safe!

Grizz………… said...

George…

Thank you—and we will, of course, do what we can, though the river gets to call the game.

I was just thinking of you earlier today, wondering at your silence, considering whether I should write a quick inquiry or not. I didn't want to pry or bother, but as a friend I was also concerned. I'm glad you've returned. I'm all too aware that life sometimes alters our days and lives…as do rising rivers.

Tramp said...

Not having looked you up until now (Saturday evening here) I still feel I must add my best wishes that everything works out well.
...Tramp

Grizz………… said...

Tramp…

Thank you. The river dropped yesterday and last night, held steady (about halfway between its crest and normal seasonal pool) for awhile this morning, and has now begun rising from last night's and today's rains some miles upstream. The current hydrologic prediction is for it to again crest last tomorrow evening, somewhere slightly about the crest day-before-yesterday. How much higher is the question. We had a bit of leeway, but not much. Nothing to do now but watch and wait.

Julie Baumlisberger said...

Thank you for updating your situation, Grizz. Every one in a while, I anxiously check your blog to see how you are doing, glad it's so far, so good. Hang in there! A friend in Canada...

Grizz………… said...

Julie Baumlisberger …

You're welcome—thank you for your concern. I log onto the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction's graph and data page every so often, which gives me a reading taken from a gage upstream from here, plus a forecast of the river status over the next few days. They do readings every fifteen minutes, but only revise the forecast graph every four to six hours. And it is only a forecast.

Right now, it's still pretty much what I told Tramp; the river continues to rise, the light rain is now mixed with sleet. It's going to be close when it crests late tomorrow—an inch or two maybe. Providing the prediction is accurate, of course.

So I'll maybe make one more check of this tonight before going to bed…or I may just call it a night in the next hour and get up early tomorrow. I'm pretty beat…

Again, thank you.

sage said...

I hope you have survived the night with dry feet. The river here is high, but hasn't yet flooded. It doesn't matter as we're no where near the flood plain and it would have to be a flood like Noah's to get to us. That water looks to be moving fast--good canoeing--but such waters can be tricky and the canoers need to be experience and alert.

Grizz………… said...

Sage…

In my younger, dumber days I used to love taking my canoe out when streams were in flood and moving fast. It was an exciting ride, more like the whitewater rivers of the far north than the usual pastoral creeks of Ohio. So long as you stayed upright, didn't get caught under a sweeper, and didn't mess up going over the low dams. Often way too risky, though. Of course you're bullet proof when you're in your twenties...or so you believe.

So far we're dry, but the river will crest late this evening. I'm not on a floodplain, but am only a few feet above that level. All the floodplains are under water, and have been for more than a week.

KGMom said...

Well, Scribe--I appreciate reading the update. In fact, I have kept checking back to see what news.
I will continue to await news with bated breath.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

So far, so good.

NOAA revised the river's crest time estimate to about 10:00 p.m. (vs. 12:00 midnight) tonight and lowered the peak height by about a foot…which, after following it for the past few days, I now believe translates to an inch or two of rise here where I'm located.

Right now, we have about inches leeway before water gets into the entryway level of the cottage, and about three more inches from there to the actual floor level.

So…providing NOAA's estimates are accurate, we'll squeak by. Thank God!

I'll tell you the tension and worry of all this has flat worn me out. I went to bed early last night, got up hours later than usual this morning, slept fitfully, and still don't feel rested.

I appreciate your concern and will keep posting updates…though the one I'm really looking forward to is the one that says the danger has passed, critters (us included) and cottage are safe and dry, and we're back to enjoying spring's arrival.

Arija said...

I do hope the meltwaters come in stages and not all at once and that your feet stay dry.
I thought you were quite high above the river level but it seems to have swollen somewhat.

If my prayers count for anything, they will certainly be for your safety.

Too many houses were washed away in our Queensland floods for me to take your predicament lightly.

Blessings . . . Arija

giggles said...

"WOOOOOOT" for the crocus....
YIKES!!!!!!!!! for the river. Hope you stay dry.......

Grizz………… said...

Arija…

I've never measured it, but as a guess I'd say the normal pool level of my river is 9-10 feet below the main floor level inside the cottage. A "normal" high water gets to within a couple of feet. This time around is unusual because of the earlier snowmelt, the still-saturiated ground, the subsequent heavy rains, then only time for a partial recovery (lowering) before even heavier rains added to the already overburdened waterway system.

Even now, have already exceeded all predictions from last night by a wide margin, the level continues to slowly creep up. We're down to a few inches of leeway. I believe, however, that we'll be okay.

Prayers are all and always appreciated.

Grizz………… said...

Giggles…

Hey, yours is the first comment on my snazzy orange-gold crocus. Thank you! And you've pretty much pegged the highwater situation, too: YIKES!!!!!!!!!

deb colarossi said...

Late to all of this...
Hope everything is okay now on this Tuesday?
I imagine you are absolutely exhausted.

and I love what you said about coming out of hiding places to see blessings. used those words in my post yesterday? so cool.

and I will hold you in my prayers as well, Grizz .

Kelly said...

...I hope all is well, Grizz--but after yesterday's rain, yikes! I was at the river on Sunday and Tuesday, and it was high. I hope it stays below those 18".

Arija said...

I hope and prey the good Lord has left you high and dry, well at least dry and no major furniture moving has been necessary. Spring is always a dangerous season in snow country. I also hope the rains abated before the river inched its way into your house.

I have always thought of you as Rattie living on the riverbank.

Blessings . . . Arija

KGMom said...

Still thinking of you.
We attended an Ash Wednesday service yesterday, and my prayer request was for all those who live near rivers with rising waters.
Hope the prayers are heard for you...and all my river side friends.

Grizz………… said...

deb colarossi…

Thank you very much for your nice comments.

I'm okay, floodwise, though am at the moment, indeed, absolutely exhausted. Not only have I been preparing for the worst all last week and the weekend before, and worrying and fretting about things as we had day after day of heavy rain and rising water…but on top of everything else, I had to leave Tuesday morning for an out-of-town conference—and of course, another inch and a half to two inches of additional rain was predicted.
So I had to leave Myladylove in charge on top of all she's got going on this week, which included changing jobs!

I'm now back home but barley awake on my feet. But, as I said, the water is slowly going down—maybe two feet since Tuesday. Still looks scary, but only if you didn't see it before. And other than perhaps some of the bank having washed away (can't see just yet), no damage done.

I really do appreciate your concern and prayers.

Grizz………… said...

Kelly…

It got to within 4-5 inches of getting into the cttage, and we'd have had another 3 inches before it got onto the main floor. But that doesn't look like much when the river is higher than you've ever seen it, it's raining, the water has been steadily rising for days—and even more rain is predicted. And I had to go to Columbus!

But I think we're past the worst now. And most important of all, safe and dry. Thank you…

Grizz………… said...

Arija…

I've always thought of myself as Ratty, too…but there were times last week when I almost wished I were Mr. Badger over in the Wild Wood and well away from the river. Almost. But the truth is, I love this old river and feel at home here—and I'm not going to get mad at or fall out of love with it for being a river.

I put books and some other things up in the attic—but no major furniture moving

Thank you so much for your prayers and words.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

Those prayers were heard, and I believe they made a difference. I believe in prayer. And I thank you, and anyone else who said one in our name or for anyone living where they were in danger of flooding. This is as close as I want to come, frankly—but life and seasons and the days yet to come are unknowable; for that we have faith and prayer.

More than a few who live beside rivers weren't spared the rising water. I'm grateful to have been blessed. And I pray that those whose homes and property were damaged will be able to recover quickly and with a minimum of loss and hardship.

Again, thank you.

Jain said...

Update, please, Grizz!

Robin said...

Beginning to worry now, Grizz.....

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

I will…I did…and I'm about to write you an email.

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Sorry, I've been trying to get to this but there have been, uh, extenuating circumstances. Frankly, I'm concerned about your situation. You need to email me and tell me how you're doing really. I'm fine—a bit gimpy, but fine; we're fine; the cottage is fine; Moon-the-Dog is almost fine except she got into a bunch of fortune cookies yesterday and had to be shamed for an hour or two.