By John Rice
Last week was certainly a topsy-turvy one, mostly turvy. On Monday, we got the distressing news about the Boston bombings. Our cold gray weather reinforced the general gloominess.
On Wednesday I got soaked by a bone-chilling rain. That night, the downpour became relentless, prompting fears of another flooded basement. We awoke to no power and remarkably, no school. It was the first time in my memory class was called off for a "rain day." The streets were quiet, like after a blizzard.
There was no water in the basement but many of our neighbors flooded. It was heartbreaking to see. I'm not recommending that homeowners drill holes in their roof but maybe the leak in our dining room relieved some pressure on the foundation. We fled our damp, darkened home to hang out with the grandson. He's kind of like human sunshine.
After the rain, came snow. Normally, we're grateful for showers this time of year. We comfort each other with, "At least it's not snowing." This time, we welcomed having the white stuff, rather than the dark wet stuff.
The mood improved on Friday. We celebrated payday with a dinner on Madison Street. Afterwards, I was feeling too energized to go home. It was that magical time of the year, when all of our Chicago sports teams were in action at the same time. It's much more fun to watch the games in places with multiple big screens. So, I decided to explore the watering holes of Forest Park. Being a crusading reporter, I had a license to spill.
At one of the establishments, we heard the second bombing suspect had been captured. There were cheers up and down Madison. But I wasn't finding the warm, friendly crowds I was looking for. One bar employee told me I was too early. He recalled that back in the 90's he and his friends would "pre-game" until 9:00 before hitting the bars. Today, he said patrons are drinking at home until midnight before meeting up on Madison. It must be the economy.
So, I left Madison and headed for Old School. I had never been there but heard good things about it. Sure enough, it was filled with a hockey-friendly crowd watching the Blackhawks. The place had a different vibe than the others I visited. It was a comfortable mix of families and patrons in my age-range. I got to celebrate two sports moments: the Cubs losing to Milwaukee and the Hawks winning in overtime.
By Sunday, the floodwaters had receded somewhat. During a long walk, we took pictures of where the Des Plaines River had spilled over into the cemeteries. These one-hundred-year floods are coming with increasing frequency. But wait, there's hope. According to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the Deep Tunnel is going to hook up with the Thornton Quarry reservoir in 2015 and the McCook Reservoir in 2017.