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Forget the Red, watch out for flooding kitchens

Last Friday marked the beginning of spring break at Hamline, scattering students across the country to relaxations, vacations and fulfilled reservations.

Those of us heading north had a running joke about spring break service trips to the F-M area, where students could enjoy the warmth of March in Minnesota while combating flood tides.

I laughed along with the rest, amused at the thought, but truthfully thrilled to get home and be greeted by family and friends instead of flood waters. Little did I know that the spring saturation of 2010 was plotting an assault on my student-on-spring-break splendor.

I was to have the house largely to myself on Saturday, with the exception of my cat Biddy, who hasn't acknowledged my existence since I started college except to fight about who gets to sleep in my bed when I'm at home. Montana was doing track time trials at Concordia (my attempted alma mater), and Mom and Dad were at a seminar in the Twin Cities (practically down the street from my latest lodgings).

Best buddy Morgan and I were hanging out at my house, until I discovered she'd never experienced the majesty of Main Street Restaurant. Having been nurtured by their pie from infancy, I set to remedying the travesty at once.

Less than an hour -- and several plates of hashbrowns -- later, we returned to my house, and to Biddy mewling in distress from the kitchen counter. Morgan stepped into the kitchen, and realized why he had fled to higher ground.

The kitchen floor was rapidly being coated with an icy layer of water, spewing triumphantly from underneath the sink.

I ran to the basement, the usual location of our house's soggy storylines, to find that it was raining.

Bright side: at least it wasn't snow, right?

I called my parents' cell phones, informed them our house was under water, and was instructed that a phone call to the nice men at Hank's Heating would take care of all my thoroughly drenched needs.

This is the point of the tale at which it must be mentioned that my always-willing-to-share boyfriend had given me some virus the previous weekend, and I had hit the stage of sickness where my voice resembled that of a puberty-stricken adolescent boy who couldn't commit to an octave.

Flustered and freestyling through my kitchen's laudable imitation of the Red River, I called Hank's, gushing barely-voiced exclamations about the 112 percent chance of precipitation in my basement while watching Morgan commandeer a Wet Vac crusade and text-demanding Jake to gather two of every animal for the ark I was mentally constructing.

The voice on the other end of the phone told me I was "too excited" (and I was only at about a six on the scale), asked me enough questions about pipes to determine that my extensive dealings with Monopoly's Water Works wasn't enough to adequately enable me to follow any directions he might attempt to give, and promised to be there soon.

That was when Montana texted me about coming in first for his heat (hurrah, Little Brother!). I responded with a "Btw the house is flooding," and he sent back a simple inquiry: "Basement?"

Who knew spring break 2010's gnarliest swells were going to be breaking in my house?

By the time the blessed father-son duo from Hank's had made three trips to the house to troubleshoot around what turned out to be a deteriorated water filter, Morgan had earned her Wet Vac badge, Mom and Dad had heard my hoarse attempt at articulating the house's current moist condition, Jake had asked me about 20 times to please tell him what was going on, there were three laundry loads' worth of wet towels in the hamper daring someone to be mad enough to use the washer in a still-damp dwelling, and buses had been hired to transport high school students wishing to join in sandbagging efforts.

After about as much spring break excitement as a girl could hope for, I'm going to sit back, blow-dry the carpets, wring Biddy out, and make plans for next year. Maybe I'll run with the bulls, skydive or learn how to walk on hot coals; something safer than being home alone.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Hamline University in St. Paul.