Sunday, September 19th, 2004, 3:33 pm
The whole city of Pittsburgh pretty much got rivered Friday night. Rivered and creeked and tributaried. Six inches of rain from Hurricane Ivan on top of 4 inches last week from Hurricane Frances turned much of the area where I live into a gigantic lake. I went to work Friday morning the way I always do, cutting through the little town of Etna because of construction on the onramps that lead to Route 28 and Downtown. The road I drove on was under about 10 feet of water by 4PM that night. I saw pictures of a new shopping center that just opened in Etna that sits on a little rise about the creek that overflowed. The center was spared, though the water was right up to the door. From the air you could see this tiny strip of fresh blacktop surrounding a tiny island of concrete and glass.
I stayed at work until 9PM Friday night, watching as my possible routes home were slowly choked over by the rising water. I think that maybe I could have found a backroad up north that might have taken me miles out of my way but gotten me across the water, but at night I was afraid of driving around and maybe blunding into some water. I thought about heading up to my cousin Terry’s house, but the route to his house was closed by a mudslide and, more ominously, I couldn’t get in touch with him, most likely because the company he works for is in Sharpsburg, one of the hardest hit areas, and chances were good that he was down there doing what he could.
I got hold of my brother, who had just gotten home after a 3-hour odyssey, and after hearing that they’d ordered pizza I decided to chance heading his way. No problems at all, if you don’t count the tree that had fallen across an onramp and that I sailed past at about 60mph. It wasn’t until I was about 100 yards past it that I got the shakes and said, “Whoa”.
Rarely has pizza tasted so good, beer so cold. My wife was home safe, I was safe, Ryan was playing some poker, all was good. Except that we got killed in just about every tournament we played. We were playing just $5 tournaments, so of course you don’t expect inspired play, but good God. We were playing at PokerStars, and I guess I expected better play than you find at Party, but oh no. Appalling play, and on top of it the players were extremely aggressive. During one game this dude went all-in like 5 times in a row when there was any money at all in the pot. He stole the first four pots, and got knocked out when his AJ ran into QQ.
Ryan specializes in 7-Card Hi-Lo, and I think we won a tournament playing that game, but we came in second in an Omaha tourney we played after we’d drunk about 15 beers apiece. That gave us the coin to try some Hold-Em, my game of choice. To be fair, I got no cards for about 3 of these things. You can’t bluff terrible players, as I mentioned in my previous post, and when I tried I was punished for it. I limped in once with 2-4, and the flop came three clubs including the ace. I bet the pot, everyone folded but one guy. Another club on the turn, I made another big bet, call. Nothing on the river, I bet big, he calls. The dude called with the six of clubs. And then he had the gall to rip ME for giving him my chips. I typed something like, “you thought the six of clubs was good?” and he retorted, “I had a flush, you had nothing”. Sigh.
I waited to get cards so I could annihilate these fools, but it never happened. Once I went all-in with A-10 and had a guy call me with J-9, and lost. I went all-in with 22 and had a guy call me with Q-8, and lost. It isn’t the losing I minded, it was these yutzes calling me with junk. Well, the losing bugged me a little too.
Spent much of Saturday watching football, including watching the appalling Pitt Panthers slop around with an awful Nebraska team. My Nittany Lions beat Central Florida despite 6 turnovers, two lousy teams flopping about. Did see the excellent Florida-Tennessee game, proof that there a few teams out there that can still play this game.
I watched that game at home, after finally finding a way to get home. Nice to sleep in my own bed again. The destruction is pretty horrendous. I ride my bike along the river near where I work, and there’s an island called Washington’s Landing that has a few hundred luxury townhouses on it, and a massive marina with a couple hundred boats. The whole dock broke free, nearly 140 boats floating free down the river, to crash into the Clemente Bridge. So much debris and junk floating in the water, stacking up against any obstacle it hits.
There’s one suspected fatality, a man who got caught in a tree as the waters rose and lost his grip before rescuers could reach him. Thousands of people lost pretty much everything they own, and about 99% of them don’t have flood insurance. My friend Rico works for an insurance company, and he got called into to work today processing claims. My friend Frank is a volunteer fireman, and I’m sure he’s been working all weekend.
Don’t how long its gonna be before Etna is open to traffic again. Weeks, months. Don’t know how I’ll be getting to and from work from now on. That inconvienience pales compared to those whose homes are under 10 feet of water, who lost just about everything. I work with a woman who lives in Etna, she left an hour early because of the flooding, and I wonder if she was able to get home. I think she lives high enough that her house wouldn’t have gotten hit. But how would SHE get to work? Destruction all over, and we were 1500 miles inland of where Ivan hit. Unreal.
OK, gonna watch a little more football, then do some stuff around the house. My Steelers played like garbage against the hated Ravens, though Big Ben got in and showed some promise. I wouldn’t get too excited if I was a Raven fan though (all 250 of you who aren’t just bandwagon jumpers from the Super Bowl year) because their offense hardly impresses. Deion Sanders got beat deep by Plaxico Burress and hurt himself lunging after the Steeler’s ultra-underachieveing wideout, but Deion’s best play came after he returned a punt 15 yards and, showing his true colors, ripped off his helmet to showboat. Fifteen-yard penalty, and shortly after that he was done with a bad hammy. Tragic.
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