Friday, June 13, 2008

Floods, swimming and mom's birthday!

When I first got to Iowa, it was so dry that there was a little dust storm. Dad couldn’t plant his corn seeds because the soil was so dry. Now we have just the opposite problem. It keeps raining, day after day. Now we’ve got a huge flood, the worst since 1993…or perhaps worse than that flood. They’re calling it a 500-year flood, but the phrase is deceptive. The way I understand it, it actually means that there was a one-in-500 chance that there would be a flood of such magnitude this year.

Last weekend when we went to the wedding in Iowa city, we had to change our route for flooded roads. The flooding is worse in Eastern Iowa, but even in Des Moines, they’re sandbagging. Neighborhoods are being destroyed, but luckily major changes have been made since 1993 when the floods shut down the Des Moines Water Works, leaving the city without water. Cedar Rapids is in much worse shape, with 500 blocks under water.

I signed on with the United Way as a volunteer to help. They haven’t called me in yet, possibly because I admitted on my application form that I have asthma, and lots of the cleanup involves dangerous mold. Oh, well.

Our field is flooded, too, leaving several small ponds. Who knows when Dad will be able to plant? The only advantage is that I managed to snap some swell pictures.

I’ve pretty much given up on taking a summer job, but I’ve been helping Dad on the farm and spending time with my Staker grandparents. They’re in town for a while, and they split their time between our house and my Uncle Jay and Aunt Dea’s. I’ve missed them a lot. Grandma is in go-go-go mode…actually, it’s her standard mode. She’s got us all cleaning up and repairing antiques that survived the tornado. It was three years ago, but we’ve been busy! Grandpa Keith is really good with fixing furniture, and made quick work of it.

Tuesday I got to see the swim meet of my cousin, Hannah. Technically she’s my mom’s cousin Karen’s daughter (second cousin once removed?) but Karen’s parents (Unkie and Helen) helped raise me, and she adopted me as a little sister so I’m probably more like an aunt to Connor and Hannah. Anyway, Hannah invited me to her swim meet, and I had a good time watching her swim. She was great! After the meet, we went back to Unkie and Helen’s house. Hannah and Helen made me a gorgeous strawberry pie. It was delicious. Poor Grandma. When I got home, I told her they made me a pie. She got her hopes up, as strawberry pie is her favorite, and was so disappointed to learn that we’d finished it off.

Thursday, Grandma and Grandpa Staker took us out for Mexican food to celebrate Mom and Dad’s June birthdays. The food was wonderful, but my poor parents were forced to be photographed in sombreros while we sang to them.

Today was Mom’s actual birthday. She told me she wanted to do nothing all day. She also stated that, as it was Friday the thirteenth, she should stay in bed all day with the covers pulled over her head. I did my best to help Mom do nothing by making Dad’s breakfast, doing dishes and laundry, but before I knew it she was up and about. Mom’s not really the type to do nothing.

Then a guy arrived to fix the in-floor heat in the basement. He discovered that the system had been installed with an illegal chemical. The people who installed it won’t answer my parents’ call, so now they will have to sue to get it repaired. “See,” Mom exclaimed, “I knew I should have stayed in bed!” Mom loved the Michael Buble CDs I got her, but they weren’t enough to completely cheer her up after that.

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