Floods, burials and cads (2005-06-20 - 10:00 p.m.)

Alberta is under water!

And that was barely an exaggeration. Rocky is all right due to being built on hills (VERY fun when I was a kid with a paper route, I can tell you!) but Sundre is being evacuated and my dad's gas plant is shut down altogether. And they certainly don't do that unless absolutely unavoidably necessary.

I wandered down to look at the North Saskatchewan River with my sister yesterday and yeah, it's high. I've never seen anything like it. Apparently it's a once-in-200-years phenomenon. Rocky's on a water conservation advisory, "due to high siltation of the North Saskatchewan River". My brother heard that the water treatment plant is down to its last 5% of stored water. Hopefully in the next few days they can lift the advisory, but in the meantime we can't do laundry and are supposed to "limit bathing and toilet flushing" (!)

However, that's nothing compared to the rest of the province. My dad saw washed-out bridges and roads all over Bearberry country, and one of the guys from the plant had to evacuate his vehicle. He was driving and the road was washed out, but he didn't notice because it was covered with water... suddenly, his truck just sank. The water was too high to open the door so he had to kick out the window and abandon ship. They found the truck the next day, on its roof. Water was pushing unevenly underneath it and just flipped it. Incredible.

My brother said there are trailers floating down the river near Sundre, and in fact bridges floating down it as well. Rivers have changed course, there are lakes where there were farmyards, the posher riverside bits of Edmonton were evacuated - it's just crazy. We're pretty lucky that the worst we have to deal with is a lack of showers. Makes you wonder where all this water came from - the ground must be just saturated. Weird.

In other news, besides buying my hat I have been getting into the spirit of Rocky by going out with my brothers Saturday night. We went to the Top. Technically the two bars on Main Steet are called Boomers and Flash, but everyone has always called them the Top and the Bottom, because Main Street is a hill. No sense in calling them by their actual names because they'll just change, especially the Bottom, which (as Will says) keeps to its schedule of an annual name change to evade the law.

The Top wasn't actually too bad, although dead. But Tim picked up the tab so it was all good. I ran into a girl I knew from high school, to whom I had to say my name twice before she recognised me. Apparently I've changed since high school. I suppose that's a good thing (and no, you can't see the pictures). I have to say, I love having this conversation:

Me: So, where are you living now?
Old Classmate: Oh, just with my parents in Rocky, working in Red Deer. How about you?
Me: Oh, living and working in Edinburgh, it's a nice town...

Oh yes, the cosmopolitan world traveller. (HAH!)

Kinda pathetic, but at least if I'm treading water I'm doing it somewhere new and interesting, I suppose.

Then we went to the town's nominal club, where no one was dancing, the crowd was 88% male, and everyone stared at me as I walked across the room. And then I got hit on by my cousin. (The rule in this case is, if you can trace the relationship it's too close).

At that point, we called it a night.

At least I can say I've been out in Rocky, I suppose.

Yesterday was Grandma and Grandpa's interment. Quite a good thing, as poor old Grandpa had to spend nearly eight years languishing in a box in the computer room (don't worry, we cremated him first). I am not the only member of my family who is a little vague about getting things done on schedule. Anyway, we had a very nice graveside service and then everyone got to shovel some earth into the grave, which was a nice touch. I'm really glad I made it back for this bit - I think it did actually help with the closure I was looking for. And it was so nice to have the whole family together for once.

We (my mom, my great-aunt Barb and I) have been spending the evening going through giant boxes of random stuff we found at Grandma's house. We found, for example, a list of wedding gifts next to a passport of Grandma's from 1970, next to a picture of Grandpa and his sisters aged 21, next to a letter to Grandma's brother, next to a picture of Barb's grandkids from 1994. A complete jumble, and completely interesting. I also found the following little piece of literature typed on yellowed paper (with no signature), which I thought I would share.

Ode to a Canadian

He'll ruin your life and run off with your wife
And think he is doing no wrong.
He'll take you around if you lend him a pound
And take all you've got for a song.

He has a 1000 mile ranch that was left him by chance
At the death of his old uncle Joss.
He's a marvellous shot and believe it or not
He's a wonder at breaking a hoss.

He's forgotten his wife. He'll be single for life
With the boys he's a regular guy
He's got a life story that is covered in glory
But he's much too wicked to die.

He'll gaze with a frown on Old London Town
Saying, "Gee, what a hell of a dump,
Way back on my farm it would go in the barn"
And your ego goes down with a bump.

He's a personal charm that is meant to disarm
The unwary that come in his way.
But don't listen to him for he's only a whim
And will surely lead you astray.

Tho you know he's a liar your blood is on fire
As he whispers, "I love you so much!"
You go weak at the knees as he whispers, "Oh, please"
And you feel his experienced touch.

Tho you may regret it you'll never forget it
Altho it is breaking your heart.
To think of the kisses some other young misses
May give him while you are apart.

Tho he makes you so mad and sometimes quite sad
Still you cannot send him away,
He's a real bad guy and a regular cad,
So why do you whisper "do stay".

He'll wed you of course when he gets his divorce
But while waiting! "Oh Honey Why not?"
So just think of this when he begs for a kiss,

Whew! That had to be written during the war. I take it someone was bitter about a Canadian guy.

In other news, I was telling Barb that I found Megan Thom "very easy to get on with" and looked up to see dad and Tim mocking me with identical smirks on their faces. Apparently I have picked up some Britisms. Oops.

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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