Sunday, June 7, 2009

The sky is falling! the sky is falling!

Raise your hand if you had the weirdest, most exhausting weekend of your life

*feebly waves hand*

Everything started out just spiffy Saturday morning. I slept til 11, it was sunny and wonderful and life felt good.

I think something was just making sure that I was in a good mood before kicking me in the crotch.

I gave the dogs a bath. I was feelin' good. And then it starts to rain.

Now, it's June, and this is Honduras, which means the rainy season (or as we know it here: "winter") has started. And holy crap, did it start off with a bang. I think something like 2 feet of water poured out of the sky in the space of two hours--a truly ungodly amount of rain and wind that pounded the city and nearly brought down the mountain on our house.

See, my backyard runs straight into the mountain behind us. Our back wall is a 30-foot cliff with a 90 degree incline that usually keeps the house full of white dust that gets everywhere and piles up if not cleaned every couple of days. And of course when it rains, we get a lot of mud and water and other debris falling from the mountain. Usually the canal we have running from the back of the house, down the side and out into the street handles the amount of water pretty well, but every time it rains a fair amount of mud gets deposited into the bottom of the canal. You'd think that a conscientious houseowner would clean the canal after every rain, thereby ensuring that it wouldn't overflow and dump all the water into the back yard.

So of course, my family being the least conscientious houseowners in the universe, that canal hasn't been cleaned in about 5 years. I think the last time someone bothered to clean they gave up after removing a few inches of sand. It was a disaster waiting to happen. And it happened last night.

There were waterfalls, people. Three gorgeous (but terrifying) falls of water coming down the mountain and falling straight into the canal--which, choked as it was with the accumulated mud of 5 years, decided to throw its hands up in the air and dump five billion gallons of water into the back yard. Holy god. I have never seen that much mud.

So the night passed with unceasing rain as my mom and I had to deflood the back rooms (we have an attachment with a guest room and a laundry room outside), trying to move the dogs into the only clean part of the laundry room, and digging up some of the sand out of the canal so the water could flow more easily. In the rain. In the cold, cold rain. At one point the downpour was so furious that the canal that ran down the side of the house OVERFLOODED and poured the water into the front yard, which was already soaked with water as it couldn't escape down the two tiny drainage holes dug into the front wall of the house. So I had to go out there and wash a ton of water down into the garage, creating a mini-waterfall that I'm sure would've been fun to watch if it hadn't been so scary.

Meanwhile, the sheer amount of water that fell on the house caused about 15 leaks to appear in the ceiling--a ceiling that withstood a hurricane not ten years ago. New leaks everywhere; a giant puddle growing in the ceiling of my room. When we had finally cleared up the water from the canal I (exhausted and wet through) had to get up on a small ladder and hammer a nail through the ceiling, pull it out again and create a little hole for the water to come out of the roof instead of pooling inside it and killing the lamp. It worked, but my room is full of pails of water.

The rain finally stopped at around midnight, but not before the power went out for about an hour. There is nothing freakier than hearing waterfalls pouring down not thirty feet away from your window, in complete darkness. Finally the power came back, the rain stopped and we went to sleep, completely exhausted.

This morning, the yard was a disaster. The grass was covered in an inch of whitish mud and the front yard had sprouted a small lake. The garage was choked with dead leaves and more mud. There was mud everywhere. EVERYWHERE. While thanking the powers that be that none of it had come into the house, we set to work on a massive cleanup job. My two brothers, my sister, my mom and I armed ourselves with shovels, sticks, buckets and whatever else we could find and removed a ridiculous amount of mud out of the yards and into the garage. We had the groundskeeper from my grandfather's country house (country house makes it sound way fancier than it is, believe me) help us dig out the FOOT of mud from the mountain side of the canal. There was literally a FOOT of mud in there. We all helped carry buckets of sand, and if you have never carried a bucket full of sand down the entire length of a house, down the stairs, through the garage and out into the street, then you have no idea when I tell you that it was one of the most exhausting things I've ever had to do. I consider myself relatively strong for my size and height (and *ahem* laziness) but I had to call it quits about two hours in. My legs were shaking and I couldn't really close my hands.

Oh, and I also fell most painfully on my (thankfully well-cushioned) ass. It was pretty hilarious, actually. My brother had opened the garage door to take some of the sand out, and my dog Oreo saw this as a prime opportunity to SET HIMSELF FREE and run out of the house. He tried, but I rushed over to stop him and close the door. It was then that my foot hit a slick patch of mud and I flipped over, landing on my left thigh and getting mud all down my left side. As I fell the little garden shovel I was holding in my hand FLIPPED out of my hand, flew six fit into the air, did a couple of turns and fell about two inches in front of Oreo's face.

I think that finally persuaded him to abort his escape plans. Luckily, I was laughing too hard and nobody saw me, so the only hurt thing was my dignity and my left thigh. And my left boob. And my left forearm, which looks like it was scratched by an angry squirrel.

So anyway, my brothers finished removing all the earth, then had to pack it into heavy canvas bags, throw it into a borrowed pick-up truck and had dump it into a landfill that's about 10 minutes away from my house. I took a shower and made everyone lunch, and the work was finally done at about 3pm. It was insane.

So, after two Advils and a lot of downtime, I can finally move enough to type this entry and make some well-deserved brownies for everybody. I am still very achy, and I can only imagine that tomorrow my body's going to feel like it was trampled by a herd of rabid little black-and-white terriers.

I took some photos of the amount of earth that we had to move, but those will have to wait til tomorrow.

I have to say, though, that as crazy and scary as last night was, I'm of course thankful that our house didn't get flooded and we only suffered from a lot of mud getting dumped in our yard. And that it feels pretty good to have done all that physical labor. It was actually pretty fun to be digging and cleaning, and despite all the aches it feels good to know that I CAN get off my ass and do some work when I have to. Ooh, yeah, look at me, I'm totally butch now *flexes*.

So that was my weekend. Envy me, people who sat around drinking and having FUN. I'm gonna go eat me some brownies.


Spender said...

Damn, figgy! I'm glad that all turned out well but that had to be extraordinarily frightening. I'm now rather happy that my weekend was boring and uneventful!

teabibber said...

Dear me. Graham never tells me what is going on. Sorry to hear about the flooding. Glad the house didn't get too messed up.