Tag Archives: Weather

Rain on My Parade

I had my weekend timeline carefully planned to finally finish the door! After staining the backsides of all the trim, I planned to do a first coat of stain on the front side on Friday evening, a second coat Saturday morning, install it all Saturday afternoon, then paint the door and the back stairs Sunday.

Until it started raining Friday afternoon. When I got home from work, it was really coming down. “Meh, too humid to effectively stain,” I thought, planning instead to stain Saturday morning and again mid-day.

But Saturday was so oppressively humid that the saturated air wouldn’t absorb any more moisture. I waited until the overnight rain dried up (ha!), then applied my first coat late Saturday morning, around 11. I figured it should be dry by mid-afternoon, plenty of time to apply a second coat, and then install first thing Sunday morning.

Every time I checked on my little staining set up – a couple old sheets on the garage floor – things were still wet. The mid-afternoon shower didn’t help, either. I kept the garage door open while I was home, hoping that some non-existent breeze would help the process. And since I was working on the outsides of the boards – the pieces I’ll have to look at every time I come or go – I wanted to make sure things were good and dry before applying a second coat to guard against smudges.

The last time I checked on my litany of lumber, about 10:30 PM, nearly twelve hours post-application, everything was still tacky. Sunday morning, first thing, before I even read made coffee (too hot for it, anyway), I went out to apply a second coat. Things were even more humid than Saturday, so I wrote off any chance of weekend installation.

And when I went to bed about 11 PM, some of the boards were still damp.

It’s been a year since I started this project; what’s another week?

Now excuse me while I go move the boards out of the garage. There’s more rain forecast tonight.


Our Lawn, Seattle Style

What do you get when April and May weather continues through July?

Jungle lawn!

It’s the close of the coolest July in decades – with not a single day at or above 90 degrees. We’ve had tons of rain, inconveniently spread on multiple days throughout the weeks.

Hence, the jungle lawn. It just keeps growing! And it seems to rain just frequently enough that it’s hard to find a time to mow the lawn when it’s actually dry enough to work with.

Perhaps we should get a goat. Or a couple rabbits. That should solve the problem.


Stupid wind destroyed my tulips less than two weeks after they bloomed.
Though there are still petals all over the place.

Luckily, the seedlings I planted last weekend are starting to take hold in the new soil and mulch.

Winter – Vanquished!

After days and days of rain, I saw this in my front garden as I came home:

And now it’s raining again.

I hope that Saturday will be dry enough to plant my egg carton-bound seedlings into solid ground!

A Geyser & A Burn

One night last month, during a heavy storm, I unlocked the back door and heard an unusual sound.

The basement was gurgling.

Rather, the wall in the basement had sprung a leak and water was flowing all the way across the sloped basement floor to the drain, which was fighting to keep up, and failing.

I changed into grubby clothes and set off to plug the leak, which was the size of a pencil eraser, and was acting like a geyser or fountain. It looked a lot like a kid turning their mouth into a water fountain.

Unfortunately, everything I had onhand that might fix the problem was water soluble and couldn’t set up against running water – caulk, spackle, grout, liquid nails. It was too late to go out to a hardware store, so I tried the one thing I thought might actually work.

Duct tape.

I balled up some duct tape and shoved it into the leak, then created a patch over the top. The gushing slowed to a trickled, enough that I was able to squeegee out the basement and survive the storm.

The next weekend, after researching solutions, I bought Drylock Fast Plug as a first step to fix the problem. That entire wall has been seeping for awhile, and in addition to the one geyser, there are several smaller holes not so visible to the naked eye. My research and the shockingly helpful Orange Apron I talked to concurred that patching with Fast Plug, followed by a solid coat of Drylock Waterproofer, should do the trick.

I carefully followed the directions and made sure to ventilate the basement and don a mask, gloves and goggles. I mixed up a small amount to get the texture right, then applied the concrete to the main hole, then several other spots I had noticed and marked. It was kind of fun, almost like finger painting. Emboldened by my success, I mixed up more and patched the entire joint, where floor meets wall. I decided I had done enough for the evening and packed up and went off to take a shower.

An hour later, my face was a red, peeling mess that burned hot to the touch. When Don got home from work, he took one look and asked what had happened.

Despite all my precautions, I had brushed hair off my face with the back of my gloves, likely leaving some Drylock dust on my cheeks. When I hopped in the shower, the water must have activated the powder. A quick Google confirmed my self-diagnosis – I had minor chemical burns all over my cheeks and forehead.

After some burning, itching and a very uncomfortable night, they started to disappear about twenty-four hours later. But next time, I’ll use a hair tie.

Digging Trenches

I spent this beautiful 55-degree day outside with just a light jacket. It was so refreshing to stay outside without scurrying back to shelter!

But I had a mission. This was the first thaw we’ve had since around Christmas, so the snow had built up pretty high. In fact, with the last couple snows, we had run out of room to pile it up along the driveway, especially at the foot of the driveway where the plows only made things worse. The entrance to the driveway had gotten progressively more narrow and took a precise turn to get in just right without getting stuck. Plus, the most recent snows hit when it was bitterly cold, so we had done the bare minimum clearing, which had created a nice, icy layer underneath.

So today, I set out to widen the entrance to the driveway. When I got home from my mid-day errands, my neighbor was out doing exactly that. He brought over one of his roof shingle shovels – with a spiked end – that proved very effective at chopping through the ice.

I spent a solid two hours on the end of the driveway alone. The snowpack was at least three feet tall, so I climbed up and hacked at it. Living near the top of a hill, the street often serves as a bit of a waterfall on rainy days and thaw days, so a trickle was already beginning to flow. Even so, since my neighbor – just a tiny bit higher up the hill, whose peak is the house on his other side – had already made good progress, I had a lake of dirty, cold water forming at the end of my driveway where it ran into the still-strong snowpack. So the hacking took on a more strategic approach. I felt like I was part of the Army Corps of Engineers, strategically opening up trenches every time water started pooling somewhere.

With the warm weather, neighbors were out walking their dogs and getting groceries. I chatted with a couple of them as they strolled by, and as I was just about ready to call it good-enough and go back inside, one of those neighbors reappeared in his pickup truck, equipped with a plow blade. He waved me out of the way and shoved what was left of the snow pack back, widening my path even more. I smiled and thanked him with a neighborly wave. As soon as he left, water started pooling again, so my neighbor and I quickly reopened a main trench and were rewarded with a babbling brook.

I’m sure my arms and back will be sore tomorrow, but it was a great day.

The River Steams

We’ve been in the midst of the coldest weather in 15 years this week. This morning, I woke up to a temperature of -23F, with a windchill in the -40s.

It rarely gets this cold, so when it does, you get to see strange things. Like the Fox River, frozen solid, with what appears to be steam rising in big sheets at sunrise.

I wanted to take a picture as I walked to the train this morning but I was running late and also a bit terrified of removing my glove to dig my phone out of my pocket. Luckily, someone downstream apparently had the same thought and sent it in to Tom Skilling’s blog.

So very cold

The heat is blasting, and so are the humidifiers. We’ve got a sheet of ice caked onto the downstairs bathroom and office windows – but finally, the temperature has broken zero!

Times like this I miss my old radiator-heated apartments where I didn’t have to pay for heat and it was nearly too warm.

My Nose is Cold

I’m sitting on my couch by the oldest window. My nose is cold. So are my toes. There’s quite a breeze.

I can’t wait to get rid of this window.

However, the question is, how much insulation should I do for the windows that will be replaced in 6-8 weeks? I’ll definitely put in the storm windows. They’re already lined up in the garage, ready to go the next time I’m home during daylight hours (Saturday).

But should I bother with the shrink wrap for the five windows in question?

Given how cold my nose is -and it’s a relatively balmy 38 degrees compared to a month from now, with a brisk wind – I think it’s worth the $15 and the time.

We have river!

I noticed last night that the trees across the street have lost enough of their leaves to afford us the river view I love. Sure, all year you can see the gap in the trees where you know the river is. But from now until April or May, we can actually see the water itself, flowing southwards.

It’s especially neat when it freezes over solid. When it’s really cold, steam rises, making night and early morning extra ethereal.

I shall try to get pictures this year, but the phenomenon is rather fleeting and tough to capture.

In other news, we had our first sticking snow yesterday evening, a whirlwind of flakes that stuck to the grass and rooftops. It was very pretty – but it reaffirms the need to pull out the storm windows, shrink wrap the windows, and batten down the hatches for the rapidly-approaching winter.