Someone once described me as “wet behind the ears”. At the time I didn’t realize I was being called naive. I thought it really was about the water. You know, do a better job toweling off after the shower. Use the hair dryer longer.
Now that I’m older and supposedly wiser, I still believe it’s about the water. For an opening argument consider my astrological sign. I’m an Aquarius – the so-called water-bearer. Aquarians are more nobly representative of “the Gods nourishing the earth with life-giving energies”. Not from my experience. We January/February birthdays are all about the wet stuff.
I should have seen this coming, really. Twenty-eight years ago, in the San Francisco B&B where my wife and I spent our wedding night, we awoke the following morning to a steady drip onto the middle of our bed from the ceiling above. What a fitting prelude to the years that followed.
The ball really got rolling (correction: the river really started running) with the handful of houses we’ve purchased over the years. Our first place – a townhouse – was built on landfill. That landfill began sinking years before we bought the place. There weren’t water problems to speak of, but the bulk of our monthly homeowner’s dues paid for fixes to the leaking underground plumbing (not to mention the lawsuit that came with it).
Our second house – a modest old lady from the 1940’s – endured the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. There wasn’t much damage, except the water heater fell over in the garage, and for awhile we had a nice little stream from our driveway to the street.
It gets better. In fact, our third house was the piece de resistance of our liquid adventures. This place was somehow built without a french drain; essential for transporting water away from the building foundation. In the spring of that first year therefore, the melting snow turned our basement into a scene from Titanic. You’ve heard the term “floating ceiling”? This was “floating floor”; carpet, furniture, and all.
The house we live in now – on several acres of land – includes a retention pond that is part of a network of neighborhood creeks and reservoirs designed to move water safely through the region. But we had no idea the previous owners dug out our pond much deeper than its engineered specs. So the first really good spring rain not only overflowed the pond, but broke the dam to the creek that moved through downstream properties. The result: a custom-made flash flood. Our neighbors received so much surface water they should have gone into the rice paddy business.
In my research on astrological signs, I came across the website beliefnet.com, which hosts a ten-question quiz to determine which element – air, earth, fire water – best describes a person. On a 0-100 scale, a “water person” is between 21 and 50. Does it surprise you my answers rated me a 41? Then again, I’m not sure how much credence I can give to a quiz where “water people” are described as “go with the flow”, “bubbly”, “enjoy meditation especially in steam baths”, have eyes that are “deep and liquid”, are “prone to tears”, are “inconsistent as the tides”, and possess a wonderful sensitivity that can “go overboard”. Somewhere the water gods are laughing at me.
You think I’d learn. Every summer we spend our vacations at the seashore. Last month we took a cruise. Most hours of the day my companion is a glass of water. For heaven’s sake, do you SEE the banner photo I chose for my blog? It’s as if I’m taunting those gods of Aquarius. But I think this is more of a fate thing. And I’m not naive about this anymore either. I’ll bet you a case of Dasani it won’t be long before something new rains on my parade.