It rained…and Neptune came calling

A torrential rain fell.  They said it was going to be biblical and it was.  We had tickets to see the Pirates play the Orioles.  Maryanne and Jim came down.  Todd was coming. But it rained and it rained and it rained.  Not a little.  It was coming down like someone had a gigantic fire hose aimed at the earth.  The game was cancelled but we decided we would at least go out to dinner.

Before we left I had a thought to check the sump pump.  It has never run the entire time we have lived here.  it has always been bone dry.  I opened it and to my surprise I discovered it was full.  The water was cresting.  Water was pouring in and the pump was not operating at all.  The motor was making a whirring sound but it was the sound of a dying pump.  It had no power to move the water.  I ran to get the shop vac so we could at least empty out the water well.  We filled the 20-gallon vacuum about three times but we had to go to dinner.  We called the plumber but he was out of town.  He said he could help us if we wanted to wait.  We did because we trust him.  So we left and kept our fingers crossed.

We went to dinner for all the meat you can eat at Fogo de Chao.  The food was actually pretty good but I am not a big beef fan.  The lamb was good, the chicken was good, the pork was good.  And it is all you can eat so we were stuffed.

We finally headed home, the rain still coming down.  When we got home, the pump was cresting again but even worse, rain was leaking through the basement window.  A drain in the window well had clogged and the water was backing up.  I ran outside and found the well was full of leaves.  The water was a good eight inches deep.  I used a rake to  clear the debris.  The frogs living in the well were not happy and they jumped around as I poked in with the rake.  When I cleared the window well drain, water streamed into the sump pump even faster.  It was filling about every 15 minutes.  We’d suck out the water, dump it in the basement bathroom shower, thank God for that convenience, and take it back for another load.

We manned the shop vac until well into the morning.  Matt tried to nap between vacuuming.  I just went about my business.  Soon it took a half hour for the well to fill, then longer.  The rain slowed down and the water flowing into the sump pump finally ebbed to a slow trickle at around 3 a.m.  It was still coming in. I figured it might take an hour or more to fill the well again.  I told Matt I did not care.  I was going to bed and if Neptune wanted to flood my basement, then so be it.  I would take the chance that the water flow would eventually end.

We got up around ten a.m. and the water well was full but it had not overflowed.  The rain had moved out, the storm system leaving seven inches in its wake.  It was a hell of a lot of water.  All I can say is that I am glad that we don’t live at the very bottom of the hill.  I cannot imagine how much water flowed into my neighbor’s basement.

The plumber came the next day and installed a new pump.  We are safe for now.  Until Neptune decides to give me the water treatment again.

Dear Bird Store Owners – Geeze, Lighten Up!

Dear Bird Store Owners:

I usually do all of my shopping on the internet but there are some things that simply seem more practical and fun to buy in a store.  As a general rule, I love to visit the bird store.  There are supplies and fun things–jewelry,  flags, fountains, stuff with birds on them like mugs and such.  I just like to wander around and check things out.

But bird store owners, you are really making me reconsider.  I tried a new store in Rockville.  I wanted to get a feeder that would make it harder for the squirrels to get the food.  I don’t want to completely stop them because they are fun to watch and I find a bit of joy in yelling at them and scaring them off.  We play a game, the squirrels and I.  They are clever.  I try to outsmart them.  I can’t and we keep at it.

At this bird store some creepy guy working at the store did not see the humor in squirrels at all.  He announced quite seriously that,  “Squirrels can be stopped.”  He sounded like he had a vendetta.  He hated them.  It was palpable.  I just kind of scoffed and said, oh, come on.  But no, he said if I wanted to stop them, I could.  I was laughing about how I put PAM spray on the poles so they could not climb.  It is hilarious watching them slide down the pole in utter amazement and puzzlement.  They soon figured out some other way but it is fun to watch them thinking it through.  They are not really destructive.  They are just really, really hungry all the time.  He did not think this was funny at all.  He said with a sneer, “And how long does that last?”  Hey buddy, lighten up!

So I went to a different bird store.  They had a sign out front that said they had blue bird boxes.  Okay.  I wondered if I could put out a box.  I have been to this store before and stopped going because this store owner is in a perpetual bad mood.  But I figured I’d give it another try.  That was a mistake.  Everyone else in the store seems fine but on this visit he was training a new cashier and he was impatient and at times rude to her.  That relationship did not seem long term.

When I asked about the blue birds,  he growled at me, “You need to live with open fields.”  Okay, that is not really me.  Then he went off about sparrows and how they were an invasive species that need to be cleaned from the face of the earth.  Apparently, they will nest in blue bird boxes if the boxes are not built and placed properly.  Boxes need to have a hole opening small enough that sparrows cannot enter but blue birds can. See this discussion.    But one does have to ask, at what point are sparrows no longer an invasive species?  Sparrows have been here for over 100 years.  They are here to stay and our native birds need to get Darwinian on them and evolve to handle them.  We are not going to make them go away.  Not by a long shot.  So can’t we all just live together?

At this point, I do not want to go back to either of these stores, my choices being creepy guy or angry guy.   Maybe it is time to try the internet.



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