Monday, August 16, 2004

Hell is Paved with Pine Tags

The sun finally came out late this afternoon. The Prince, Princess and myself stood there blinking in curiosity for a couple of minutes, like cave dwellers returning to the world above ground, before we recognized what it was. It's been that long since we've seen it. We had rain everyday last week culminating in a visit from Charley (luckily a tropical storm by the time it got here). In fact, we've had record rain this summer. So much for global warming.

The funny thing about storms is that they tend to thrash the Godforsaken pine trees that are abundant in our neighborhood. The thrashing showers the ground with pine tags. The pine tags then race for the lowest elevation which just happens to be the storm drain directly in front of my house. Back when the city planners designed this system, they weren't counting on 3 feet of rain and 672 pounds of pine tags. You guessed it, the drain backed up this weekend thus forming "Lake Cattiva." The lake covered not only the street, but the lowest part of my yard and the four or five yards across and beside me. This water of course picks up more pine tags, only to rush headlong for the drain. It is a vicious cycle my friends.

You might wonder what in hell possessed C. and I to attempt to clean out the storm drain this evening, especially when all we planned to do was cut the lawn. The answer is $2,500. Twenty-five hundred big ones. That's the fine the city has imposed if they have to come out and clean out a drain filled with lawn debris. Apparently our city has had more than our fair share of flash flooding. Streets that normally don't flood, such as those in our neighborhood, are turning into canals. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a moron who blows grass cuttings and lawn debris down the drain. We bag our grass and leaves, but I wasn't taking any chances especially with a new roof in my future. My bank account can't handle a $2,500 donation to the city.

What put the fear of God into me today was seeing a city truck parked in front of my house. Luckily, they were just here west nile hunting - it was the health department. Did I mention the mosquito problem? We have one of those, too. It's our state bird. Anyway, I was relieved to find out the truck wasn't here to ticket us. I should have known they weren't there to clean out the gutter with the little bug net and water jars they were carrying, but logic escapes me when I'm panicking.

So, C. & I set out to clean out the storm drain. It actually started with me attempting to rake the pine tags out of the opening. Simple enough, except that it was solid. Yes, solid with pine tags. C. Pried the cover loose and we spent the next two hours digging 672 pounds of pine tags from the drain. That's about 3 1/2 feet down. The lower we got the blacker with decomposition these things got. Did I mention how bad decomposing pine tags smell? It was as if we had opened the gate to the bowels of hell. Screw it, next time I'm calling the city. And I dare them to fine me.


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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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