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September 6, 2011

But Does He Float?

When we bought our present house there was no need for flood insurance because the house is near the top of a hill and all entrances into the house faced away from the downward slope.  Natural flooding would never reach us…..except maybe on a Noah-Ark scale.  Yes, we could get water damage inside from a broken water pipe, but otherwise, our house is not floating away anytime soon.

The exception is Frankie’s house.  It does face the downward slope.  Really, I hadn’t given it all that much thought.  

Greg did install a water grate on the upward side so water would not get under his house and sweep it away.   

Still, we overlooked that front door positioned at ground level.  Hurricane Lee would point out this error in thinking.

Hurricanes this far in land (Birmingham is half way up state from the coast) usually brings several days of 24 hour rain with no stop that results in flooding.  We’ve never been worried.  

Yesterday, during the second day of non-stop rain, seeing Frankie outside on the lawn did catch my attention.  He grazed in one spot for a while but soon walked back toward his house.   A couple hours later, I ventured out in the pouring rain to check on him. 

Frankie was sitting next to his house during a down pour.  Not only that, but Frankie blocked water behind him like a damn.  

“Frankie!”  I say.  “Get in your house!”  I proceed to drag him toward his front door.  All the water building up behind him gushed past him and ran ankle-deep over me. 

“Crap,” I say, which isn’t far from the truth since the water has been soaking in sulcata poop for two days.  Kneeling down in the rushing Frankie-poop river water, I shove Frankie into his house.  I return to my house dripping wet from rain and soaked in Frankie-poop water.  I go clean up.

No other thought passes my mind about Frankie until post dinner when the temperature outside starts dropping below 75ยบ F. I consider that I should turn on Frankie’s heat pad in his house. 

I get outside to the backyard and find Frankie sitting next to his house again.  “Frankie!” I yell.  

This time I notice as I push him in his door that water and poop is running out of his front door. I open his house (it’s still raining), lift the inner lid and see a inch of poop-water in Frankie’s house. 

“Ah, crap.”  And I am right, again.

No wonder he didn’t want to stay in his enclosure.  This is a week’s worth of poop completely soaked in rain. He didn't want to sit shell-deep in poop water. 

Facing the facts, I retrieve the purple pooper scooper to muck out his house (yes, it is still raining).  On my knees, I scrape water and poop from the back of his enclosure to the front of the enclosure.  The poop exits out the door but the water flows back inside.

Outside I spy that rain around Frankie’s house is backed up from debris, poop, leaves and rocks. I abandon the inside and go to outside to muck debris away from his house. 

Then I notice that Greg’s water grate on the side of Frankie’s house is backing up.  I go around the other side and the emitter is not draining.  I pull the whole emitter off the drain pipe and buckets of poop and debris gush out over my shoes, legs and hands.  Within a few moments the only thing draining is rain water.  At least the clog is gone.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to shower at all.

I finish clearing debris from all around Frankie’s enclosure so water drains away from his front door and into back into the yard.  Time to finish mucking out his house.

Starting from the back and scraping toward the front, I move poop-water toward the exit.  The muck splashes all over me and my arms are covered in it. 

Eventually all the muck and water is pushed out of Frankie’s enclosure.  Now it is time to push Frankie back inside.  And I do. He drags more muck so I have a bit more to clean out. 

Frankie does not want to sit on a damp floor (I don’t blame him).  I take my wet, filthy, poop-covered self inside my house to fetch newspapers.  When I return Frankie is half way out of his house again.  I push him back inside.  I muck out what he’s dragged in.

Newspapers are set down all over and Frankie is dragged over.  I place more newspapers around him.  Frankie is dried with a towel to make him more comfortable. 

Tucked in his nearly dry enclosure, his heat pad slowly warming up, Frankie is finely satisfied he will not be floating in water.  Still, I block his front door so he stays inside and maybe keep some more rain from coming in.

I check again that all water is flowing nicely around his enclosure and not being blocked or diverted into his house. 

About this time, Greg starts banging on the window trying to get my attention.  I start yelling that I can’t hear him over the rain which is coming down in buckets. I give him the “one moment” hand signal and head into the house. 

“What?!” I ask.

“You need to get in the house.” He replies, rather irritated.

Yikes! Are we under a tornado warning?” 

“No,” he says, “You don’t need to be standing out there in the cold rain.”

You think? 

Once again, Frankie proves that 1.) Anything can happen with a sulcata around, 2) I can’t think of everything so must be prepared for anything, and 3) the possibilities of Frankie stories is endless


  1. And I thought scooping out cat litter boxes was a chore! You are a very devoted Frankie-Mom, and I hope for everyone's sake the rain has stopped.

  2. well this made me think of when i took pledges to a high school club out and made them run thru a winerys settling field. yucko stinko! maybe his house needs to built up on some stilts Leann. haha!