Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It is NOT Boring Living in the Great Pacific Northwest!

Whoa! This has been a winter to remember. Of course, all three homes we have owned in the Seattle area have had water issues which makes me think most everyone around here has to be on guard all of the time. Our first house had ventilation problems which we discovered when it started to rain inside; our second house was on a low lot and built over what used to be Canyon Creek so we had crawl space water issues; this house is built on a steep edge of Big Gulch. Furthermore, our large windows, which frame our lovely view and because they face the water, get pummeled during storms. Add the rattling of wind and an earthquake and the double panes pop easily.

At this moment, it is absolutely gorgeous outside. The water is blue and the mountains are out in full glory. It was like this yesterday as Apolo and I headed outside. Coy Mother Nature is saying, "Who...Me?" As usual, I met one of my neighbors out walking and we discussed storm damage and not Super Bowl. They lost a large tree but luckily it fell away from their house. The house right next to them lost their rotten fence as the wind crashed it to the ground. The crack was so loud, we heard it at our house. We wondered if our other neighbor had a basement full of water again. And I told her about our mudslide. The civil engineer had just left my house a few minutes before. I called the city's Public Works department and being Mukilteo, water related surface problems (mudslides) are their specialty. They spend all of their time trying to figure out how to divert and control WATER.

Also, being Mukilteo, the civil engineer was here within 15 minutes of my phone call. This guy crawled down into the Gulch to get a good look at our slide and he took pictures. He examined the ground and checked cracks and holes. He agreed that the earthquake along with all of the rain possibly caused it. I love competent and smart people. He explained soil movement, saturation, liquefying--you name it and he seemed to be enjoying himself because obviously, this is his passion. The good news is he doesn't think we need to build a retaining wall; the bad news is we will continue to have sloughing and bank failure as long as there is rain. Our house is in no danger and our fence should be ok. When we pick blackberries, we just need to be careful to not fall down a vertical 15 foot clay cliff. He recommended we research slope stabilization plantings and follow through with that in the spring and summer. I received all of this wonderful, practical, reassuring analysis and advice for free.

My neighbor, who moved here from California, said she didn't know what was worse--watching wildfires approaching or dealing with water rotting and molding everything every day of the year. When they moved here, the thought of no fires was so comforting but they are looking to move away; she can't stand it anymore. We agreed that a flat lot in the desert near Las Vegas was appealing at the moment.

But Las Vegas?? Ewww! I have never been to Las Vegas (except when we stopped there for gas once on a drive to Arizona when I was 10 years old) and my goal in life is to never go there. Give me Seattle anyday.

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Behind our fence--Sad--doesn't look quite like this now!