Saturday, September 03, 2016

3 Cups An Hour

The edge of erstwhile Hurricane Hermine whipped through Augusta yesterday, flinging rain hither and yon. I was having the best night's sleep I've had in weeks, a natural deep rest sheltered by at least five Grandmommy quilts, a pair of foam earplugs, and the white noise of the air purifier in the corner of my room.

Whenever she can snag my attention, Trixie tends to lead me with little chirping sounds and beckoning looks in the direction of need...mostly towards her food bowl, because despite the fact that she's flirting with a weight of 10 lbs, she's convinced that starvation is imminent. My standard response to her efforts at allurement is, "Timmy's not in the well."

 When I awoke yesterday, Trixie was trilling anxiously at me, and lo and behold, the well had come to Timmy! There was an audible dripping in the hallway, and probably half a gallon of water had either soaked into the rug or pooled at the entrance to the kitchen, and more was coming down from the top of the door frame from little bubble fissures in the paint. Not good. I rushed to get towels, threw the wet end of the rug over a piece of ersatz kitchen furniture (a metal folding chair), and went upstairs to find the origin of the water. It was getting in through a spot in the roof in the walk-in attic, running down the wall studs and into the room below. My mom came over and climbed a ladder to throw towels at the damp insulation, and I handed her a plastic bin to put under the drip. For the next four hours, I clambered up the ladder to empty the bin every 30 minutes.

From an average of 3 cups an hour, the flow gradually slowed as the rain abated. Downstairs, I had installed another plastic bin and a portable fan, but the need for these disappeared as the water was caught upstream. The paint pealed off the edge of the door jamb, though. And the roofers we contacted had already had more than 100 calls about leaking roofs before they learned of ours, but at least we are now on their list. And praise God this happened while I was home – my damp-sensitive laminate floors would have been destroyed, never mind damage to my Persian rug and water in the walls and insulation. But of course it would happen right before I am due to leave for Korea. God forbid it rains again before my poor mother can arrange for the repair. But we do need the rain--I've been having to drag a hose around my back yard daily, dousing my banana tree and potted garden.

My volunteer cantaloupes, which appeared out of the compost I got from my stepdad, have been delicious, and my broccoli (though it never floretted) has been a tasty addition to my scrambled eggs every few weeks (the leaves are edible and taste exactly like the traditional florets). My cucumbers are astoundingly fecund but closely resemble squash, and taste bitter. I think they are actually the sort that people use to make pickles. I've given so many to my mother she's unwilling to take more. My two dozen tomato plants are taller than I am, but have altogether produced a total of seven smaller-than-cherry tomatoes and one tiny irregularly-shaped regular tomato. My bean vines are verdant, yet I have found fewer than ten beans over the course of the summer. I have one surviving pepper plant. It has bloomed several times, but there are no peppers on it. On the other hand, my mint and parsley are doing quite well, and my banana tree is really pretty. Not so my single surviving rosebush, which has contracted the same mite infection (the cursed Witches Broom) that caused me to uproot and discard its thorny cousins. It will be following them to the dump after my return from Korea.

I have decided what to take in my suitcase, and have put most of it in ziplock bags, but I haven't actually packed yet--it's all in neat stacks in my closet. If I forget something, I can get it at my destination, so I'm not panicking about overlooking anything. I went to the men's section in Walmart and bought myself another pair of 31x31 cargo pants, which I plan to wear on the plane with my hiking boots (one of my girlfriends and I are planning a 14+ mile mountain hike). I supposed to stay at a hostel in Seoul Thursday night, since it's impractical to commute 1.5 hours each way Thursday evening and Friday morning to my friend's flat outside the city from Incheon airport and then to the departure point for the DMZ tour. I hope I don't sleep through my alarm! And I also hope that I don't get sick – when I made my final rounds at the consignment shops today, there were germy little elementary school kids hacking and sneezing everywhere I went. Mobile petri dishes, children.

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