I Think I’m Afraid to Flush, Way Too Much Rain, and All Points Converge Here

A peculiar quirk here in Central Ohio during the Monsoon Season (the two months – give or take a week or two- between the seasons of Snowbooger Grey and Stygian Heat, usually from mid-March to late May) is that occasionally storm drains overflow into the sanitary sewers, making it possible for effluvia rinsed down sinks, flushed down commodes, etc. to go the opposite direction than the one intended.  Low elevation, painfully flat landscapes, clay soil and torrential rains do not make for an optimum environment for natural drainage.

During the monsoon episodes, should one need to relieve oneself, in a good part of Central Ohio, you get to play a rousing game of “toilet roulette.”

Should I flush?  If it’s yellow, let it mellow?  If it’s brown, will it actually flush down?  What are the odds of ending up with a floor full of unspeakable mess?

At home I am not too averse to waiting to flush until the storm subsides, and I can see that the storm sewer grate is clear outside, as I really don’t want a backflow situation in my own bathroom.  But in public places it is extremely rude to leave your leavings without giving them their final send off, or at least making the attempt.

So far so good today.  For now.  Hopefully the deluge will take a break for an hour or two and let the storm sewers clear out some more.

I am glad it wasn’t raining like this yesterday when I was up in Marion.  It actually was a pretty good day. Steve-o got his hair cut and got some shades he wanted.

Dad had mentioned something intriguing when I was up there that I had some peripheral background on, but had not really taken a whole lot of notice.  I grew up not even really noticing the trains because trains went through town constantly and they still do.  You don’t notice them until you leave, and it either seems oddly quiet, or the trains are replaced with another background noise, which in my case today is the airport.  I live less than half a mile from Port Columbus.  I don’t notice the planes unless I make it a point to pay attention to them, but I certainly did notice the silence on 9/11 and the days following.  Passenger aircraft constantly taking off and landing, and F15s flying over have vastly different sounds.

In the early 20th century there were five different railroads that converged in Marion- from all points across the country.  Only two of those rail lines remain- the trains still go through pretty much constantly, with their endless cargos of coal, but the trains haven’t actually stopped in Marion since the early 1970’s.  If one looks close enough one can see where these rail lines once intersected which is sort of interesting.

At one time there were a lot of people going everywhere and nowhere.  Of course people are still going everywhere and nowhere, but the ride is a lot less scenic and usually is taken up with either phone conversations, electronic gadgetry, and the endless monotone of  flat, straight Interstate.  I enjoy a road trip (and even more if I make it a point to take a less traveled road) but I think something might be lost in the autonomy one has when you drive.  The train journey leaves your whereabouts at the mercy of another force, but paradoxically it also gives you the freedom to drift off into that void between everywhere and nowhere.   Sleeping (or even that delightful realm of half-sleep) and driving don’t mix.

The ghosts are restless at those convergence points.  It’s easy to imagine them at the train station even though trains don’t stop there anymore and only part of the train station remains.  Someone waiting for the next train.  Someone running down the platform.  Someone looking for someone who will never return.

I’m haunted by those stories, especially those of the troop trains.

Everywhere and nowhere.

Eventually the rain will stop, and I will get beyond my little melancholy foray into a past I don’t really understand.

On a lighter note, there are seasons here in Central Ohio. We have five.   That’s why the people who live here part of the year, but go to Florida part of the year, go down there for most of them.

Winter.  Begins right after Halloween, lasts until mid-February or so.  Best described as, “The Brass Balls Have Frozen off the Brass Monkey.”  Lots of precipitation. Dark most of the time.  Freezing rain, snow, ice, etc.

Snowbooger Grey. Mid-February or so until mid-late March.  Like winter, but with temperatures hovering right around freezing, so the snow all melts and the landscape everywhere looks like those snowboogers that accumulate in the splash guards and wheel wells of cars.  Since it’s slightly warmer than winter there’s more rain, and a bit more daylight, if you can notice through the overcast, grey haze that hangs over everything.  Dismal.

Monsoon.  Mid-late March-mid-late May.  Or so.  Just rain.  Constantly.

Stygian Heat.  100% humidity.  100% bugs.  Late May-mid-September. Plenty of rain.

Fall Monsoon. Mid-September-Halloween. Do you like rain? 🙂

Who Wants to Go to Dog Shit Lake? Springtime in Central Ohio, Sort Of

This weekend it is finally supposed to be above freezing here in lovely Central Ohio.  I know only too well what that means here in Whine Country.  My back yard, which is currently encased in layers of ice and yellow snow, will be transformed.  It will become Dog Shit Lake. 

We have a fairly large back yard, but we also have three large dogs.  The back yard has not thawed out since some time last November.  When it does thaw I know exactly what I will encounter, and it neither looks nor smells good. 

The problem with picking up after the dogs during the winter is that the poo is hiding beneath the snow and ice.  Since it’s hot when it hits the ground (fun fact: normal body temperature for a dog is 101.6 degrees F) dog poo melts through the snow and settles on the ground.  Then additional layers of snow and ice freeze over it so that it is impossible to see.  The dog poo only becomes visible again as the snow- and the poo itself- melts, leaving a noxious cocktail of thawed snow and partially melted, soggy turds.

I’m not shoveling that up.  It really doesn’t help to shovel it anyway, because even if you get the big pieces, you’re not going to get the melty poo water, so it’s still going to reek.

Ahh, the delight of spring in Central Ohio.  The pisser is that even a few days’ thaw is not really spring.  It’s just enough to get the young kids to go back to wearing tank tops and flip flops, but it’s only mid-February.  It will get cold and go back to permafrost for a time or two more at the very least, and the possibility of extended freezing temperatures extends well into April and sometimes even May.

I have to wonder whose dogs are eating in the bathroom.  I know some dogs have a taste for toilet water, and no dog alive will refuse the opportunity to snarf down cat shit should it be made accessible, but one really has to wonder.  I wonder if the author of the note understood that “canine” refers to dogs.  Infestations are usually attributed to pests or vermin such as insects, rats or mice.  Obviously I don’t regard dogs as being pests or vermin, but who knows?  Maybe this person thought “canine” refers to squirrels or rats or some other sort of critter.

Theoretically it could be said that the human gene pool is suffering from a huge infestation of stupid people.  That’s not a nice thing to say, but not everything that’s true is always nice. For anyone who hasn’t already noticed, I am NOT politically correct by any stretch of the imagination.

Sometimes the obvious must be made painfully clear, however, can we assume that a person who needs a sign to be warned not to drink urinal water may not necessarily be literate?  What good is a warning if you can’t read the sign?

Some things should be common sense, but common sense isn’t terribly common anymore. 

Not whizzing on the electric fence sounds like a good idea, no?   There is also an educational song (though the video for some reason shows scenes from Lion King) to remind people of the hazards of tinkling in bad places.  The scary part about Ren and Stimpy is that the older that cartoon series gets the more intelligent they appear to be.

Perhaps in a thousand years, if there is any human society left, they might view such downright stupid humor in the same reverent light as we view the literary works of Shakespeare or Emerson or Faulkner.

Ren!  Enlighten us with your wisdom!  Stimpy!  Share with us your awesome brain!

In a thousand years I won’t be around to witness the madness and depravity that humanity will have devolved into, which is probably a good thing.