Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not just another rainy day

Well Saturday was a fun day. Though the heat wasn't as bad as it has been it was still 88 degrees and very humid. We were warned that there were severe thunderstorms approaching and sure enough are 2 in the afternoon the clouds burst and in about an hours time Cambridge Ma. received 3.3 inches of rain. The most in the area overwhelming drainage systems everywhere in several Boston area communities but Cambridge got smacked the worst. I was working and my store is a very old building. It dates back to at least 1860 when it was a large barn for horse drawn trolleys. Later it became a can barn for electrified trolley's Here's a shot of it in and around 1893 to 1897.
This is it today. (Not my photo. found on the web.)
Everything you see on the roof in the old picture is still there it's just behind the front facade. Anyway so much water came down in such a short time that all the drains and toilets in the front part of the store (which is facing right towards the parking lot) backed up a spilled onto the sales floor right at the registers. Water was rushing in the door(lower right hand corner of the building). Downstairs where the employee restrooms and lunchroom is located flooded with about 6 or 7 inches of water. The rest of the basement which is a labyrinth of corridors and large areas,presumably to store the trolleys was also flooded. By the way the the store basement extends under the street where there is a bricked up tunnel that led to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery across the street. This way they could descreetly take bodies to the cemetery without carrying them across the street. There was a concern that the water would hit the boilers and potentially explode. They debated evacuating the store. Outside a wire that powers the electric trolley buses in this area, was down.
This is not my photo. It just happens to be a photo of a trolley bus I found it on the web and it happened to be across the street from my store. You can see the contact poles on the roof of the bus. The fire department was out on the streets and traffic was snarled all over the area. One tunnel in neighboring Somerville was flooded with 10 feet of water. This all happened in an hour. That's why they call it a flash flood. Now I won't begin to compare this to some of the major floods that has devistated some areas of the country. The Charles River which is about a mile from the above photos didn't rise over it's banks because, I'm guessing here, it wasn't a very long storm. If the river did rise it would have flooded two main arteries on eother side of the river and that would have really caused a huge mess. As it was my drive home (5 miles) which usually takes 20 to 30 minutes at rush hour took about 75 minutes. I had to cut through Harvard Square which is normally full of hustle and bustle anyway. 
This part of Harvard Square (My picture from January 2008). I drive in this way every morning using the road in the center of the picture. Coming home Saturday I was on the road on the left. The place was packed with cars and a good portion of my time was spent here just sitting in gridlock.

Fire update. I have yet to hear what caused the fire a few days ago but I did find out that 13 people escaped unharmed. Several of the structures on that block are 100 years old. That area used to zoned for commercial use and a train used to stop just across the street. Some of the train tracks are still there. The particular place that burned down had a pharmacy and a cleaner as late as the 1970's. Then they building was converted to apartments. Here are some pictures of the rubble the next day.
The brick apartment building one the right used to be another old wooden house that was destroyed by fire fire 40 years ago. The building on the left was also a commercial structure converted to apartments. It is about as old as old as the one that burned.
Here's a shot from my driveway. The brick apartment building is a bit left of center in the shot on the corner of my street and the street perpendicular to it.
Sunday was a rather uneventful day thankfully though I did watch a very good movie called Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCapario. A great twist ending. Monday I worked till 3:30 then I went back at midnight for an overnight inventory out at 6 a.m. Pretty much a lost day.
So here I sit on tuesday finishing up a blog that I started on Saturday. It's still hot and humid. At least it's not 100 degrees. At 7:55 I sit here drinking coffee when I should be sleeping. I had to work till almost 7. I made a slight $15,000 mistake. It actually wasn't my mistake per se. The scanning gun read 4-6 oz. containers of parmesian cheese as 4 pallets of apples. My mistake was not looking at the little screen on the scanning gun and catching it. Fortunately it can be corrected when you look at a print out. Before I left I happened to look at our daily departmental mail. The pickle barrel we have on the sales floor is no longer allowed. It's been there for as many years as I can remember. No reason was given but you can rest assured there was some disastrous pickle tragedy somewhere.  
Alright this has gone on long enough. Ive been awake for 25 of the last 27 hours.
I'm outta he....zzzzzzzzzz


  1. Great update on the weather, flooding, fire your overtime and the mysterious pickle barrel. So what was the fun you had Saturday? Surviving maybe? Go git some catchup sleep. That's opposed to musturd sleep.

  2. You have had an exciting few days Paul. I understand flash floods very well as we have been hit hard this year with heavy rain. A co-worker of mine made a similar mistake concerning film when I was working for the AF. I am glad you caught your mistake in time for it to be fixed. Now, go get caught up on your sleep.

  3. I forgot to tell you that the pictures are great.

  4. The backstory of your store is pretty cool, Paul; one of the perks of living in an historic city, I guess. The photos and commentary on the recent fire were equally interesting. Well done, sir.

    My city has a lot of wonderful old brick storefronts, many updated, cleaned,tuckpointed (Google that last term; got an interesting story of its own...), and converted into upstairs apartments; some of those living spaces are pretty luxurious.

    Marshalltown is over a century and a half old--here's a link to its history in Wikipedia:


    Maybe our Blogger neighbors might share a little history of their neck of the woods; could be interesting and we can learn a little something, too...

    Gotta get back to work on some artwork I hope to sell; you made my break a little more enjoyable, my friend. Hope you got that sleep you needed...

    Later 'gator!

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog. But I thoroughly enjoy all of your blogs..that's why I keep coming back besides, the Admiral said she'd scratch me if I didn't. You know, that picture you used and put the Admiral's hat on her...she has been called the Admiral even by the family ever since. So in a way, you named her. Her given name is Lady Bianca but I think the Admiral suit her.

    The squirrels made a concerted all out attack several months ago. My battery stick had given out--it totally died forever while I was gone on vacation. and when I came back..the squirrels were draped all OVER the feeder and ate if down to a nub..the food I mean. There was 4 pounds of seed...almost none when I got back. Droll Yankee said it was a defective power stick and replaced it. Took several weeks and I took the precaution of adding one of those lampshade looking things to thwart the chipmunks and the squirrels even with the newly powered up feeder back in service. :-)

  6. Thank you all for your always kind comments.
    Toodie, you're a nut. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Love your sense of humor.
    Beth You are such a sweety. I can always count on you. You're the big sister I never had.
    Marge thanks for the peek into your home town. I love that kind of stuff and wished more people would tell of where they come from.
    Carole what can I say. You are as loyal as they come. I really didn't name the Admiral I just gave her the image. Let me know if the squirrel wars or any other conflict breaks out. I will be at the ready to help provide coverage of any of the Admirals battles and conquests.
    Thank you my friends.

  7. Paul, I am honored to be considered your big sister. Thank you.

  8. Great update Paul. Your life is intersting. I lile the old building on the corner that you drive by everyday.
    I enjoyed seeing your view even if some of the photos arent the ones that you took. You took the time to find them and place them here.
    Glad you did. Give a whole new outlook.
    Had two little ones for five days. I still have hair.. believe it or not.. I didnt even take my camera out but for the moose I shot. I have hand prints all over me and foot prints also. My house is a right off and I have my work cut our for me to clean.
    Have a great day Paul.

  9. Hey Im getting good at the word verivation. Finally

  10. Can you talk Paula into coming over here. Maybe she likes fB I dont know. Miss that lady.
    Well I guess I babbled on long enough.