Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pineapple Express

It is a term we have here for warm wet storms that come out of the Pacific, usually in early winter.

You may have heard about the flooding in Western Washington the last couple days. We had a 'rain on snow' event. Looking at the weather service maps I noted that we got about 8 inches of rain in our neck of the woods. I distinctly recall slogging through snow Saturday night as we bought our Christmas tree at the Chehalis Home Depot; wind riping and heavy rain coming sideways thinking how glad I was not to be riding a bike. I also thought this could mean nothing good for us.

Our house was flooded last night.

We couldn't get to the house after work yesterday, much of Oakville was underwater, and the river was still rising. With power out and the only light coming from the occasional warning flasher it was an eerie scene. So we returned to Olympia and spent the night in a motel. The Chehalis river crested at Oakville at 4:00 am this morning (Decembe 5th).

I made it back to Oakville today. A challenging trek because Highway 12 is still closed on either side of town by slides and floodwater. So the 'secret' route is through Captial Forest via logging roads (with washouts) in the little Subaru. Glad I've had experieince driving logging roads, though the sube is not the ideal 'high clearance vehicle'. Still, you do what you must.

So a little driving around barricades and through running board high water got me back to our little casa. It was a real mess, we took on about 6 inches of mud and water throughout the house. It took me back to the time a few years ago when I was doing disaster recovery work in Louisiana. Though that was much more serious, it still really hits you in the gut when it is personal.

I spent the day cleaning up, and there will be much more of that to come. I'll be back there tomorrow, and until Grays Harbor PUD gets us juice it will be' power by armstrong' (hand work). I am thinking of investing in a gas powered generator to run fans and heaters to hasten the drying.

Flood insurance is not the same as your homeowners policy. It will help you get the structure back to it's original condition, so things like cabinets, flooring, 'pemanently affixed carpet' and appliances are covered. Personal items, clothing, funrniture, vehicles, BICYCLES (!) electronic equipment, etc are not covered.

We've made arrangments to stay in one of those 'suites' type hotels for a week starting tomorrow, but that's burning through the budget faster than Crepes in St Quentin so we have to come up with something better quick. I am hoping to score an old travel trailer or RV for a month or two while we bring our place back to life. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Right now I'm hammering away on a terminal here in the lobby of a cheap motel. This thing feels like it has expereinced one too many pretzel and Seven and 7's so please excuse me if this is not well crafted. I'm also bummed at the thought of what we have lost and what lies ahead so pardon me if this is something less than the 'sparkling prose' you've come to expect.

No telling when Oakville will get power back or when after that we will be able to power up the house. So updates to the chronicles will likely be spotty for awhile.

On the plus side Chairman Meow the regal Siamese cat survived. We locked him in so that he wouldn't get swept away, but he was understandably freaked and more than a little perterbed at this less than royal treatment. He was also a little sick. I think he licked his toes clean after traversing the muddy floors one time too many.

The 'Koi' (79 cent feeder goldfish) in the pond, ... well we just don't know. I like to think of them as liberated, something like that clownfish in the Pixar pic. But let's keep this quite: I dont want to be blamed for the hybridizing of winter run steelhead in the Chehalis river system.


  1. Paul,

    If there is anything you need that I've got (not sure what the overlap in that set is!) let me know.

    I'll be sure to blame you when the mutant koi-salmon start running next year.

    I'm glad everybody is basically OK.


  2. That is awful. You are welcome to stay in the city with us :)
    Although we only have a couch bed... and a nosey cat.
    Speaking of cats, I randomly found this
    Chairman Mee-ow.

  3. Paul! Email me off-blog! Lemme know if I can be of help.
    Or, if you can get down to PDX, stop by the shop Mon-Thurs and let's chat. Insurance may not cover bike stuff, but that's their problem and not necessarily yours.

    Beth H. in PDX