OH, For God Sake

DSC 1405

Late last summer the flood control folks from the county decided they were going to do us all a favor by digging out the wash that starts at the top of an 8000 ft mountain down to the desert floor.

This decision in turn subjected all of the local residents to months of ground shaking, rumbling, dust, speeding dumptrucks, damaged roads, and, in the end left us with a view that looked like a moonscape.

We weren’t pleased about what they’d done. We were over fucking joyed when the heavy equipment finally left and we were no longer in the middle of a fucking construction project. It was our Christmas present and we all sighed a deep sigh of relief.

Then in March, it rained! God forbid, it should actually rain!

What happened next was what many of us had predicted would happen. As I noted in an earlier blog any child who grew up east of the Kalifornia border and whose parents weren’t terrified of their child actually being … a child … knows what happens when you build a “Straight channel” down a slope and it rains.

The surrounding dirt fills in the bottom of the channel and dirt from the top of the slope comes tumbling down to fill in your carefully dug channel.

IMG 0014

(As a kid I lost more plastic army men in channels dug in my sandbox and back yard than I can shake a stick at. I’d love to see the archeologists face in 2000 years when they excavate my old back yard.)

However unlike the small channels dug with a garden trowel replicating the movie  “Guns of Navarone,” the channel behind our residences is deep enough and wide enough that when the material started moving, it really started moving.

Lets see, 8000 ft mountain, deep channel, nothing to hold material in place, (since they couldn’t take their excavations and concrete the barriers right to the base of the mountain because that is national forestry land), and what do you get?

A large movement of dirt, rocks, debris, and god knows what else all over cemented barriers and you still have the road (which is too low in the first place) flooded out and buried.

A child could have predicted what was going to happen. 

SheepCreekWash SlipperyElmRd LookingNorth01

All this is a rehash of what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future, provided Kalifornia doesn’t become a desert akin to the Sahara.

My gripe isn’t so much about the utter stupidity of this whole wash project itself. I’ve been pissed off for a while because absolutely nothing that the county said was going to happen, has happened (aside from the construction itself.)

My gripe is about the complete destruction of the peace & quiet.

Throughout the tail end of the summer when I should have been enjoying my back deck, I couldn’t. In the Fall when I’ve spent happy hours writing blogs, or my books watching the seasons change I was denied the simplicity of sitting on my deck in the early morning or evening watching the sun rise or set over the desert.

SheepCreekWash SlipperyElmRd LookingWest01 1

We honestly thought that our Christmas celebrations were going to be disrupted with the clanking of bulldozers and dump trucks. As a result, I barely put up any lights or decorations because I simply couldn’t stand the horrific din of being at ground zero of a construction project.

I was recently away, I was in a very small town in FL. My folks home backs up to a swampy area which at one end is truly a swamp, the other end opens onto a lake. In point of fact it would probably all be a lake had it not been for some illegal dredging in the past 50 years.

The point is, I got used to the silence. The sound of birds, the sound of rain on the roof (No, NOT TIN! Thank you very much, although Tin roofs are making a nostalgic comeback on certain upscale yuppie homes.) The sounds of frogs, and splashes of fish making a meal of an insect on the surface of the lake. It was a quiet kind of noisy, the sounds were natural, familiar, and put me at ease.

Then I come home.

DSC 0562

And what does my first week home bring me? 

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, Rumble, rumble, diesel stench, and dump tucks racing up & down the road in front of my home. Endless noise of heavy equipment starting at 7am and ending at 5:30.

Because now you see, they have to empty all the dirt and rock from the channel they created. Yep they have an ongoing POS flood control thing to maintain. Guess that’s one way to keep people working.

Unfortunately, it’s not very convenient for me. Most of the year, we have the windows open taking advantage of the nice cross breezes we’re fortunate enough to have.

Last year, because of all the noise, dust and general chaos we kept our windows closed starting in August. You don’t even want to know about the electric bill because of the air conditioning use.

Here we are again, trapped in the house the temperatures are going up and pretty soon we’re going to either have to open the windows or start running the A/C.

All of which makes me want to do nothing but get in my car and leave! Again!

DSC 0553

At 7 am this morning the beeping that woke me wasn’t in fact a malfunctioning alarm clock but was instead, a grader driving up the newly created access road next to the wash. After slamming my hand on the “Snooze” button a few times to no avail, I seriously thought about calling a realtor. 


I’m being driven out of my home, or mad, or both by a flood control project I didn’t ask for, to solve a problem that didn’t exist until they started mucking about in the wash in the first place, which hasn’t solved the problem.

I moved 90 miles from LA so that I could enjoy the quiet. 

If I’m going to have to put up with the noise and hustle & bustle, and never have a moments peace, I might as well be living in fucking Hollywood. It would sure make issues on the job front easier to solve!

So my faithful readers, use this as a cautionary tale and if the county you live in, decides to “Make things better, or safer… especially if they’re talking about a problem that you’ve never heard of or seen before…


Pull an Arthur Dent, lay down in front of the equipment. Protest, and if necessary, start yanking distributor caps of the machines in the dead of night. Believe me, no good will come of a project the county decides is best for everyone.

Excuse me I’m going to check zillow for comps on my house, maybe I can sell this place and not lose my shirt.