MY TOWN’S WOE:  A Flood Story

About ten days ago, I rode my bike down to the banks of the Mississloppy River (as I often do) to take a few pictures.  Those pictures were going to be part of my epic Cycle365 photo-documentary about the major flooding that the TV news was predicting would arrive in ten days.  My plan was to take a bunch of before-and-after-pictures of the river, from the exact same viewpoints, ten days apart.  Very creative photo-documentarianism, if I do say so myself.

On the day I took those pictures, thanks to the advanced warning provided by the flood forecasters, hundreds of volunteers had gathered downtown to fill sandbags.  One of those volunteers was THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA!  Way to go Guv!  I would have volunteered too had I not been working on my photo-documentary.  You know, business before pleasure and all that–and I really NEED that paycheck I’m getting from Cycle365 for my professional photographery skills.

So now it is ten days later and I’m faced with a bit of a problem.  A couple of the viewpoints from which I had taken “before” pictures were no longer accessible for “after” pictures due to floodwaters.  Well, even the BEST photo-documentarians miscalculate once in a while.  Certainly Cycle365 won’t renege on our $25,000 contract over such a small technicality.


March 21: The river is already a little high, but not at flood stage. Note the railing leading down to the dock.


April 1: This picture is not taken from the same spot because even I am not so daring as to pedal into floodwaters. The railing is almost overwhelmed.


March 21: Looking downriver toward the railroad bridge.


April 1; This one IS from the same vantage point. The river has risen above its banks.


March 21: I really like that nice viewing platform above the river.



April 1: Hey! Where did the viewing platform go?


Pretty nice, right?  Well worth that $25,000 fee.  Please send the check care of my agent, G-2.

The flood didn’t reach record-setting proportions, thank goodness.  The flood experts said that’s because we were lucky not to get any rain this week.  A few homes on the east side of MY Town were threatened, but, thanks to the dedicated sandbaggers, there was no major damage that I’ve heard about.



The Feeshko and I live in a modest split-level home that is nowhere near the Mississippi River flood plain.  Yet, we suffered a flood.  Our drain clogged and backed up sewage into the lower level of our house last week.  WOE IS ME!  Incredible stink.  Carpet ruined.  Books waterlogged with sewage.  WOE IS ME!  Hassles with contractors and insurance companies.  Renting of short-term storage facilities.  Moving into a motel with our dog for two nights.  WOE IS ME!  Very hard work carrying water-logged furniture and other crap out of the house.  The Feeshko and I sometimes work well together and sometimes fight like a cobra and a mongoose over this.  WOE IS ME!

But, at least I’m not complaining about MOLD in my house.  Not yet anyway.

I heard there is a new challenge for April.


Which is good because sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m coming . . .


. . . or going.




Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

20 response to "TWO TALES OF WOE"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: April 1, 2019

    Hi Greg,

    Good job all the way around, even if — fortunately!!! — the 1000-year flood didn’t quite materialize. As to the cobra and the mongoose, I hope the neighbors couldn’t overhear me and my ace support crew “discussing” the project while hard at work on plumbing in the laundry room last week. It seems each one of us felt confident the other one was the incompetent assistant who should just be quiet and do as told….

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 2, 2019

      It’s funny how everybody KNOWS they are right and their spouse is wrong. Marital life is a lot like political life.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: April 1, 2019

    Good the Mississippi didnt flood any worse that it did.
    Sewage backup BAD, very very BAD. 🙁
    Ever see Dirty Jobs and Mrs Fraiser’s basement? Hopefully your experience wasnt that bad!
    Home Ownership: The American Scream.

    (Reading the Cycle365 Fine Print: All contributors requesting payment for their material shall be paid at no more than 50 cents per year.
    Please send Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.)

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 2, 2019

      I must admit that our sewage backup wasn’t nearly as bad as many cases I’ve heard about. I think I was feeling sorry for myself because my back and knees are kind of sore from carrying all that stuff out of the lower level for five consecutive days. (We had a LOT of stuff down there and I hope I’m not speaking out of line when I say very little of it was mine. I’m a minimalist, The Feeshko is a maximalist.)

      Wait a minute! Fifty cents per year? I can’t live on that!

      • By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: April 4, 2019

        I didn’t know sewerage was that heavy.

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: April 2, 2019

    Ugh. That is really shitty, literally. Like really, really not good. I hope your insurance is not a hassle to claim on and the clean-up is straight-forward with no lasting implications. Glad the river flooding was not worse and I hope the rain stays away until all the snowmelt has moved on. All the best!

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 2, 2019

      I resisted, with all my might, using the word “shitty” to describe my dilemma. Thank you for breaking the ice and telling it like it is. And thanks for your well-wishes. Things are actually going OK so far. I’m sore from all the lifting and carrying stuff up the stairs, but I’m confident I would be a lot MORE sore had I not been cycling and shoveling all winter. Those things keep me in pretty good physical shape.

  4. By: MrGrumby Posted: April 2, 2019

    Nice shots of the flood, and sorry about you’re house flood!
    If I know the Cycle365 Leadership, they’ll pay up with your $25k pretty soon.

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 2, 2019

      Thanks, Mr. Grumby. After reading Rich’s “50-cents Per Year” message I was feeling a little depressed, but your encouraging message pretty much reassured me that the $25,000 is on its way.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: April 2, 2019

        It is . . . . . . for the next 50,000 years — think of it as a steady income.

  5. By: NancyG Posted: April 2, 2019

    WOE IS YOU!! So sorry for that water stuff! No wonder you don’t know if you are coming or going. Yuck. Photos are interesting though ;’-)

  6. By: gregblood Posted: April 2, 2019

    Hi Nancy. I was a little disappointed in the photos. The Mississippi River is always pretty wide, so when it gets a little wider it isn’t quite as dramatic as when a tiny stream in California surges into a raging torrent.

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 3, 2019

      Nah, it’s not really the worst. I really shouldn’t have even brought it up here except for the fact that it fit in with my Flood Theme. Yes it smelled, yes it involved a lot of lifting, and yes it’s a major hassle, but the way I see it, a lot of people with health problems and serious economic hardships are way worse off than The Feeshko and I. Nevertheless, I do appreciate your (and everybody else’s words of sympathy.

  7. By: Scooter Posted: April 3, 2019

    I am so sorry, Greg. That sounds really miserable.

    It would be uncharitable of me to point out that if you and the Feeshko had just sold your place and hit the road like the crafty Anderson Team did, this would all be mostly someone else’s problem to deal with. So I won’t.

    Yes, $25K sounds very reasonable for such an over the-top-submission. Unfortunately the awards committee is out of the office indefinitely and unable to respond at present. Rest assured though that this is in the queue for prompt attention in due time. If you don’t hear back from us, please send a reminder when the river runs dry.

  8. By: gregblood Posted: April 3, 2019

    Oh yes, I did think of the lifestyle of Team Anderson and how nice it would be to only have to worry about flat tires, chain lubrication, and the occasional replacement of bike parts.

    Um, I’m afraid I’m going to need that $25,000 payment before the river runs dry. You can just go ahead and quickly post the awards committee’s credit card number and expiration date in a reply to this message. I will process the transaction and we can put this matter behind us.

    • By: Scooter Posted: April 3, 2019

      You Minnesotans are SO NICE! Lovely of you to offer such a convenient solution to the situation. I’ll discuss it with Rocky and get back to you whenever,

  9. By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 5, 2019

    Hi Greg,
    Oh brother, do I feel your pain. When I lived in the country near New Prague, we had a septic system that backed up EVERY SPRING for five or six years. The year the sewers went in, we moved to France before construction on the sewers began. My Better Half (TM) says we will NEVER have a septic system again. Even if we live on the top of a hill. Even if it’s in the desert. Even if it’s in all other ways our dream house.
    Oh, and no photos of the crap in your basement, OK?

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 5, 2019

      Hey there, Keith. I’m with TM. I don’t think I’d ever want a septic system either after reading your story. In our case, it was just a clogged drain, not a septic system backup. The Feeshko had done several loads of laundry that day, plus a couple of showers, plus toilet flushes, plus regular water use for drinking and washing, and by the time we discovered the backup, the lower level was flooded.

      Well, the drain has been cleaned out, the wallboard and carpet removed, the floors cleaned and disinfected. Now it’s time to rebuild. I promise–no pictures of crap.

  10. By: Suzanne Posted: April 5, 2019

    Great Mississippi flood documentation – and I’ll just repeat what the others said, thanks for no documentation of the domestic flood.
    Hope all is back to normal soon and that YOUR town will offer some pretty pictures of spring flowers and the like.

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