Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Automatic Newspaper Delivery

Early this morning: Ft. Harrington's front walkway as a waterfall.

We've been having a little bit of rain around here.

One of the first things I do most mornings is to trudge up the walkway and steps, through the gate at the top, and retrieve the newspaper from the side of the road.

I didn't have to do that this morning.

The storm drain (mentioned in this recent installment of SherWords) up there had become clogged, turning that part of the road into a pool, which emptied under our gate into the pretty waterfall shown above. When I peeked out the kitchen window this morning -- after the shock of seeing a waterfall where there should have been a static walkway -- I noticed that the stream of water had washed the newspaper (snug and dry in its blue plastic baggie) under the gate, down the stairs, and had deposited it near our front door.

Along with a bunch of other junk.

The convenience of such a delivery was sadly negated by the necessity to dress up in my water-gear, grab a trenching tool, and wade into the road-lake to unclog the drain.

While I was mucking at the drain, one of my neighbors (who will remain nameless here) came out and started chatting with me -- standing, of course, at the edge of the pool. He mentioned that he had seen the situation earlier, and would have unclogged the drain himself, but he didn't have any rubber boots.

Mull that over for a second or two.

He doesn't have any rubber boots.

He lives in the Santa-freakin'-Cruz Mountains, where we get about five feet of rain every winter, and he DOESN'T HAVE ANY RUBBER BOOTS.

Sometimes I think there should be a qualifying test of some kind that people have to take before they live around here -- but then I come to my senses and recognize that the most sensible thing to do is not live here at all. Evidently the Native Americans never lived anywhere along the San Lorenzo Valley. That probably should have told us pale folk something a hundred and fifty years ago.


Adam said...

Makes you wonder what Dan Kelly would have to say about your neighbor?

Sherwood Harrington said...

Heh. I don't know about that, but I'm pretty sure that he and Art wouldn't have been standing at the edge of the pool -- they would have been right in it with me, rubber boots or no. (Here's the Dan Kelly Adam refers to.)

Mike said...

I don't think the Indians had rubber boots. I could be wrong, of course ...

Ronnie said...

The Indians didn't actually live around Star Lake either. They had the sense to hunt and fish and then go elsewhere for deep winter.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

You guys get some serious precipitation extremes there. Five feet of rain over the winter, and then that dry spell that brings the fire risk. Sheesh.

I love a nice neighbor who sees a clogged drain that could be flooding your house for all he knows and does nothing about it, but who comes and hangs out with you while you do the work. In a neighborly kind of fashion. It's heartwarming.

Jessamyn said...


It is awfully pretty, your waterfall.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Update: The next two days brought more nasty cloggings and waterfallings. We have survived, though, as has most of our front landscaping.

Our "waterfall" can have destructive impacts on the decorative masonry it runs over, and around, and under, gouging, burrowing, drowning, and dismantling. And, ultimately, costing.

So, Jessamyn, "awfully pretty" is often right backwards: pretty awful.

hpj said...

Hi, Sherwood, would that by any chance be the neighbor with the three-letter name? To add insult to injury, it's his fault the drain was clogged to begin with...many people are already irritated that he blows all the tree debris ("duff") off his driveway and leaves it in the street to be "swept" to the side by the traffic. All that duff then washes into the storm drain and that's what clogged it. Glad to know it's not just me he's a jerk to, but sorry you had to deal with him!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Hi, Jeannie!

Actually, the schmoozer was one of the many hereabouts with a four-letter first name -- and one I'm actually quite fond of. I think you are, too -- it's kind of hard not to be. Who do you think would have long chats with just about anybody on the street, no matter what they were doing?

But, yeah, some of three-letter's activities are a little annoying, but not tremendously. The stuff that causes the worst problems with that drain is the material that the next guy down from three-letter uses for his driveway. It's loose, lightweight, and tends to wash down the drain and get clogged under our house in really heavy rains, about one year in five so far.

I'd still rather deal with this than snow. Or, God forbid, fire.

hpj said...

Oh, sure, out me. :) Hi, Sherwood! Oh, so it was M? All is forgiven - he's got a heart of gold, though no rubber boots. Leather, yes...rubber, no.

Well, three-letter(aka Mr. OCD) is off the hook for now, I guess, until next time.