Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still Wish I was in Taos

A quick follow up to yesterday's post: I may not have gotten a video of the rain I experienced in my house yesterday, but I did find this as I was cleaning up last night:


That, in case you can't figure it out, is a light fixture completely filled with water.  You can also see how the fan blades have been damaged by the water.  Here's another view:


Mmm doesn't that look appetizing!  Dirty water with dead bugs.

Good thing I shut off the power first thing when I came down from the attic.  I also disconnected the wiring for this and another fan before turning the power back on.  Now I wonder if I dry out those bulbs if they will still work... nah, not worth it - I'll never trust them again.  My father's wife's house nearly burned down when a compact fluorescent bulb turned into the Olympic Torch.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wish I was in Taos

I'm lying in bed, exhausted.  It's just after 10 PM, which is usually when I'm getting my second wind, but I don't see it happening tonight.

Today was supposed to be a relaxing day, a day for getting things done, a day for catching up and charging my batteries for the holidays, which shouldn't be tiring but always seem to be.  As you may have guessed, it didn't work out that way.  It rained instead.

I was reminded of a story I read a long time ago by Tony Hillerman, about the Great Flood of Taos, New Mexico.  I remember the story because it was so perfectly absurd that I found it hilarious, things like that stick in my brain.  If I remember the story correctly, it went something like this:  the Great Flood of Taos wasn't a normal sort of flood, like the kind we get here in Salvador: Taos is in the desert and Salvador is in the tropics.  We got some flooding today - the rain that spoiled my day dumped a couple inches or more on my house in all of twenty minutes.  In Taos it's a little different- apparently the Great Flood was more like three days of drizzle, which caused some adobe roofs to saturate with water and then leak in the houses they were allegedly protecting from the weather, certainly unpleasant for all involved.

Here it's a little bit of a different story.  The local paper is reporting more than 50 mudslides in the city, and tells me that we got 8 centimeters (over 3 inches) of rain today.  On a street near where my wife grew up, people lost everything as the water rose to knee deep.

So you're probably thinking at this point that I am writing to contrast my experience with those lucky people over there in Taos, complaining over three days of drizzle.  Actually, I'm not - what made me think of it was actually a similarity between their experience and mine. You see, my house is up on a hill, in the 'upper city.'  It will not flood knee deep with water, because the water runs down the hill, which is steep, and it is my downhill neighbors who suffer for the most part.  Flooding in our house happens, and it has happened on more than one occasion, because of clogged drainage, inept construction, or both.

I was at the house this afternoon when it started raining because our roof tends to leak when it rains. I was checking the most common points of entry, and I was pretty satisfied that we weren't going to have any major problems this time.  Then I thought I'd better check The Gutter.

The Gutter is a standard rain gutter, made of plastic, accepting run off from a large portion of our roof, and there is one really big thing that is wrong with it.  It is inside the house.  The way the facade of our house is built, the roof doesn't extend over the edge, but rather buts up against it and requires that the drainage be handled from the inside.  This wouldn't necessarily be a problem except for the guys who installed the thing were completely inept (one of them is my brother in law) and they screwed it up.  On very rare occasions, it overflows.  Into the house.

When I went to check The Gutter in the attic where it is 'installed', it was just beginning to overflow.  Except this was an overflow the likes of which I had never witnessed: from at least two different places, water was pouring out as if from multiple faucets turned up full blast.  Turned up to eleven.  Water was pouring out across the ceiling of the room below it.  I tried to stem the flow for about ten seconds before I realized it was futile and got my sorry ass back down the ladder and into the room below.

This, dear reader, was what reminded me of Tony Hillerman's story.  Those soaked adobe roofs?  They leaked - it rained inside the houses.  And let me tell you, it was raining inside my house today.  It really looked like rain.  For a millisecond I considered grabbing my phone and filming it, and maybe if I was ten years younger I would have.  If I was 20 years younger I almost certainly would have.  Kids these days!  It would have made an impressive YouTube video.  But all my stuff was getting soaked, and the water was rapidly making its way through our floor and into the room below it.  It rained down there too.

I won't bore you with details of the cleanup.  It was long and tedious, and isn't done yet.

Forecast for this weekend?

Lots more rain.