Monday, July 18, 2011

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday--Measuring Rainfall

Have you ever wondered how scientists accurately measure annual precipitation. Me too! It's what I think to myself on a daily basis. How do they do it?!? How do they know how much rain fell? Well, this year, I found out.....accidentally. You see, we have this possession that holds water very well. It's not exactly *supposed* to hold water. But if one accidentally forgets to, I don't know, take out the plug that normally drains the water in the winter, it becomes a perfect vessel for holding water. Yes, I'm speaking of our boat.

It was a very long, wet winter. So long, that where we normally take our first trip to the lake in May, we didn't even take the cover off the boat until last week. Mid July! A group of college kids from our church asked if we could come to an activity they were doing and take some kids on a few runs. Of course we can, we said.

So as we were getting the boat attached to the truck to service it, my husband said, "That's weird, does the truck bed look extra low to you?"

We both stared at the back of the truck which looked closer to the ground than it ever had. "Yes, that's too low," I said. "Did it break."

We got out a flashlight and looked under the truck bed.

"What's changed?" My husband asked.

That got me thinking. The only thing that could have changed is the weight of the boat. "Do you think some sort of animal crawled in our boat and died?" We do live in the country, after all, so it wouldn't have surprised me.

"That would have to be one heavy animal."

I gasped. "Water."


"Yes. Rain."

"No," my husband said.

"Is the plug in??"

"Yes, but it can't be water."

"Take the cover off."

And we did. And it was water. Lots and lots of water. After screaming, Whyeeeeeeeeee?!? And then crying for 24 hours, we drained the boat and then took it to the mechanic to find out it's chances of survival which we thought were little to none. (If you would've seen the muddy mess that was inside our boat, you would've agreed.) But the man I will now call the Boat Doctor from heaven, said it was fine. He just had to change the belt and the pump. It may have been inappropriate that I gave this man a big hug and a sloppy kiss, but I totally did (just kidding, I didn't, but I wanted to).

After all this though, I can tell you we got 20 inches of precipitation in our yard this winter (or one third of a boat full). I'm sure there are devices that work better for measuring rainfall, but if you don't have one of those on hand, try a boat.


  1. Oh, you should have given him a big, sloppy kiss! :)

  2. I'm glad your boat is okay! Hooray for the unkissed boat doctor!

    I actually have a pretty good idea how they measure rainfall. My good friend in college was responsible for measuring the rainfall at our university for a semester or two. It basically involved measuring the change of water in a small pool on a daily basis. She said there were a few stations around the city that did the same thing. Somehow it seems like it should be more exciting, though.

  3. From one boat owner to another, that is a horrifying story. Like, worst case senario kind of bad. So glad it's okay!

    We weren't able to take ours out until after the Fourth. It has been the weirdest summer!

  4. Glad your boat made it relatively unharmed. We try not to have anything here that holds onto water so the mosquitos don't have a place to lay eggs.

  5. Yowza! That's a lot of water. Glad your boat and sense of humor survived the experience.

  6. Linda, I totally should've. Next time I see him, he better watch out. :)

    Jenilyn, I feel smarter now. :) I really didn't know how they did it.

    Ruth, I'm glad you feel my pain. It was horrifying. And, I know, the weather was so weird this year. I'm just glad to be on the lake again.

    Patti, mosquitoes are the bane of my existence. I hate those little blood suckers.

    Susan, they both just barely survived the attack. :)

  7. Dude... You scared me there. I'm convinced that I get to go in your someday and if it is no more...

    Let's just say it would be bad. ;-)

  8. Oh, Kasie~what a bummer! So sorry about your boat. I'm glad you got a chance to be on the lake--we haven't even gone yet! :(