Thursday, March 2, 2017

I'm homeless! (Eh not really)

I realize my predicament due to the heavy storms that struck the Chicago area and much of the Midwestern U.S. is far from the most severe being experienced.
I had a miserable drive home Tuesday night due to the storms
The storms caused two known fatalities, including one in Ottawa when high winds blew down a tree that landed on top of them, causing a fatality.

THERE ALSO WAS the convalescent center in Ottawa where people suffered injuries, and Gov. Bruce Rauner included a visit to the center during his Wednesday rounds across the state. He also met with officials in Naplate, in addition to receiving a briefing from law enforcement officials in Ottawa.

By comparison, my predicament experienced in the portion of Cook County just south of Chicago was minor. But still a major harassment that I'm still coping with as I write this commentary. Once I finish up, I return to duty with a mop, cleaning up the sloppy floodwater tainted by sewage that managed to creep its way into the basement of the house where I'm currently living.

Which hits me directly because that basement is what passes for my humble abode. The couch that usually passes for my bed is currently cluttered with my belongings, which I managed to elevate to a high-enough space just in time to avoid having my possessions -- which consist mostly of my clothes and a few books -- become completely water-soaked.

But there was a point when the streets outside of the house were flooded over, and the use of a shop vacuum to suck up all the flood water wasn't able to keep up with the fact that the sewers were overflowed to the point where it seems our efforts weren't sufficient.

JUST AS SOON as we'd manage to get a few buckets of water out of the house, there would be a few more inches of water back inside. It was the "mess" that wouldn't leave! Was I doomed to live in floodwater forever?!?
The sum of my life's possessions ...

Now I was fortunate. I had a pair of nephews, both of whom are sufficiently younger and in better physical shape than I am, on hand to help with bucket detail.

I also had my father on hand to operate the "shop vac" to try to suck up the dirty water. Although I have to confess that at his age, I did feel guilty getting him dragged into the clean up efforts.

Which in reality were mostly handled by Mother Nature, who at times can truly be a wacky broad! Or perhaps I should apologize for that remark before she decides to whack me up again with another type of natural disaster.

AFTER REALIZING AROUND 1 a.m. that we were getting nowhere with water removal and that we could easily wind up staying awake all night (on a night when I actually had been hoping to go to sleep early because I was feeling a little bit sluggish), I finally tried to get a few hours of sleep.
... are now idle piles on the couch

Not that I was able to, since I wound up having to sleep on a different couch that was really meant to look cute in a living room with a "proper" decor. But when I woke up a few hours later, I found that most of the water had naturally flowed out of the basement.

The four or so inches of water that had my ankles completely covered was gone! The carpeting was damp and there are some traces of dirt that was turned to mud. But now it's a manageable cleanup effort that I'm hoping will be complete by the time you read this (my taking the time to write this was actually during a lull in clean-up activity that also allowed me to consume a cup of coffee before getting back to work).

Although as annoying as this was, I have to confess that the drive "home" I endured earlier Tuesday night was more horrendous.

FOR I HAD some work-related activity that evening in Gary, Ind. Getting into the northwest Indiana city was no problem.
Some of the slop I now clean up!

But leaving? I had to cope with heavy rainfall exacerbated by the fact that strong winds were blowing water around in every direction. I actually saw rain go from right to left, rather than come straight down from the skies.

My visibility traveling along Interstate 80/94 (a.k.a., the Borman Expressway, named for the astronaut, in case you care) was so minimal I'm amazed I made it all the way back into Illinois without crashing into one of the big-rig trucks that were transporting goods along the highway. It must have been on pure instinct that I made it back in one piece.

All I know is that Tuesday night may not have been terribly "newsworthy" (I don't see a gubernatorial appearance anywhere nearby to check on my condition), but it is a night I doubt I (or any of my neighbors who also got flooded out) will forget anytime soon, Which is why I wasn't paying any attention last night to the presidential address -- any chance we can figure out a way to blame Donald Trump for the mess?


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