A little history first, so hunker down and work with me here. (It'll be worth it in the end. Plus, you'll be all the smarter, trust me.)
Fact: Rainfall totals for Placerville, California have been maintained since 1873, a whopping 144 years worth of data.
Fact: Placerville's yearly average rainfall is 39.5 inches, the rainfall season beginning July 1st and ending June 30th of the following year.
Fact: Last season's rainfall total topped out at 66.55 inches, the third heaviest on record. Only the freakish years of 1889-'90 (78.13 inches) and 1982-'83 (72.85 inches) were wetter.
Fact: Given last season's sodden state, the house in which I reside came close to flooding.
In the five years I've been in Placerville, the first four have had below average rainfall totals. So last season's eye-opener was just that. Especially when you see ground level planters refusing to drain, waterfalls miraculously appear from the middle of block walls and water beginning to seep into the concrete floor of the garage.
Translation: There's a lot of water that needs to go somewhere when it's wetter than usual come the rainy season.
In the midst of one rain-persistent and dreary morning, all the above was discovered of a sudden. It started when I happened to note the garage floor seemed to be absorbing water but with no indication of any physical leaks. The accumulation wasn't bad but it was concerning. Where was the water coming from?
I put on boots and a raincoat and investigated the property. It didn't take long to find out the riddle of the garage floor. The answer: Water, water, everywhere.
Lakes had begun forming around the house fed from the backyard where there is a steep incline from the upper reaches of the property. Rain was naturally draining down from these climbs straight toward the back of the house. Luckily, most of it was diverted to one side and then toward the front. But all that saturation seemed to be settling beneath the house, thus water coming directly up through the cement floor of the garage. Further inspection found a mini reservoir had formed in the driveway and flowerbeds had filled to overflowing with rain, threatening to invade the house proper.
Much to my chagrin - and with lots more inclement weather threatening in the coming week - I was forced to do something drastic to divert the water. It was abundantly clear if I didn't act there could be dire consequences. I was going to have to start digging spillways and mini rivers in order to shift any further water from coming at the house. Not exactly my first choice to spend a weekday morning.
So, armed with a hoe, a shovel and steely determination, I began reconfiguring waterflow.
The result, after lots of huffing and puffing and being subjected to continuous rain for half a day - was an impromptu mote surrounding one side and the entire front of the abode. Or, more succinctly, there was now a mote around the house.
The good news was it did the trick. The water saw fit to accommodate my efforts, the garage dried out before any damage could arise, rooms at the back of the house were safe and any future rainfall would be redirected into the front yard were it would eventually make its way to the street.
Fast forward to this weekend: I've spent the last couple days digging and fortifying the "mote" in the front of the house with river rock. I've tested it out and it appears to be sound and ready for action.
Now? It's just a matter of hurrying up and waiting for the deluge to hit to verify if it "holds water" ... so to speak.
(I know, I know. You're a bit jealous you don't have a mote surrounding your house. Call me. Maybe we can work out a plan.)