Hello this is Simon,
I often have trouble thinking about what to write about. Every month I tell myself I will make an early start, come up with a topic, and then work on it a little each day. However, it never happens that way. Coming up with a topic always seems to be the sticking point for me. This time was more difficult than ever because I suddenly got really busy for a stretch. It may be just a coincidence but it seemed happen right around the start of the rainy season.
The more it rained the busier I seemed to get. I got flooded with work. I’m always happy to have a lot of work, and enjoy being busy, but I was inundated this time. I went from being up to my neck in work, to literally swimming in it. I was thinking to myself “It never rains it pours.” as I tried to keep my head above water. I just couldn’t seem to make any progress. I had gotten bogged down, and before I knew it was completely swamped. I started to worry for a few days, as I had gotten myself into deep water. “I’ll be in hot water if I don’t do something soon.” I thought to myself. It was sink or swim. So I swam, hard. After a couple of days of it, I was starting to feel a little under the weather, but I pushed on and little by little started making headway. Eventually, I made it back onto dry land. It was a difficult few days and seemed to be compounded by all the rain. When it’s sunny I’m very positive and almost nothing can get me down, but it is very easy for me to be negative when the weather is bad. Coming home to my daughter every day helped though. She was like a little ray of sunshine that kept me going.
Being in this situation got me thinking about some of the expressions we use when we are busy. Words such as “bogged”, “swamped”, and “flooded” seemed to come to mind. I realized that we have quite a few expressions related to water and the weather. Maybe it’s just because its rainy season that got me thinking that way, but I thought I would cobble together some loosely related expressions that sometimes come in handy.
To be “flooded with” something means to receive so much that you cannot deal with it. It is often used in the workplace to talk about things like e-mails, telephone calls, orders, claims, complaints etc. (e.g. We were flooded with calls from concerned clients.)
To be “inundated” means the same as to be “flooded (with)” (e.g. This island will be inundated if the sea level rises any further.) It can be used in the same way as “flooded with” (e.g. We’ve been inundated with complaints since the program was broadcast.)
up to ones neck in…
To be “up to ones neck in” something means to be overly involved in something, or overwhelmed by an excessive amount of something (e.g. He was up to his neck in crime./She was up to her neck in work./We were up to our necks in debt.)
To be “swimming in” something simply means to have too much of it. (e.g. This local government is swimming in corruption./He is swimming in money./These fries are swimming in ketchup.)
It never rains it pours.
This is a standalone sentence. It means that unlucky events seem to come all at once, as opposed to being evenly spread out over time.
keep one’s head above water
To “keep one’s head above water” means to just be able to manage something. It is often used to talk about having, financial difficulties. (e.g. We have a lot of bills this month but I think we’ll be able to keep our heads above water./We had two staff leave this month, so the three of us are covering the workload. We are struggling to keep our heads above water.)
A bog is an area of soft wet earth. It is often very muddy. To “get bogged down” means to be in a situation where something is preventing you from making progress or getting ahead. Picture yourself being stuck in the mud and unable to move.
A swamp is also an area of soft wet earth, which is often very muddy. However, to “be swamped” actually means the same as to “be flooded” or to “be inundated” (e.g. We’ve been swamped with calls since the new campaign started.)
in deep water
To be “in deep water” means to be in serious trouble. This can be used in a variety of situations. (e.g. The company was in deep water after the tax audit./The recession has put many families in deep water.)
in hot water
To be “in hot water” means to be in a very difficult situation. It implies that you are likely to be punished, penalized, or have to deal with some consequences (e.g. The government official found himself in hot water after his comments about women’s rights.)
sink or swim
We use “sink or swim” to talk about a situation in which we will fail unless we make a lot of effort (e.g. When he left his job to start up his own company, he knew it would be sink or swim.)
under the weather
To be “under the weather” means to feel unwell or be in low spirits. (e.g. I had been feeling under the weather for a few days, and it turned out I had a cold.) It is often used as an excuse for not going somewhere (e.g. I’m sorry I can’t make it to dinner tonight. I’m feeling a bit under the weather.)
To “make headway” means to move forward or make progress. (e.g. The boat was making no headway against the current./We hope to start making headway with the project sometime this week.)
a ray of sunshine
A “ray of sunshine” is a person who brings happiness into people’s lives. (e.g. She is a ray of sunshine. Whenever she is in the office she lifts the mood of the whole room.) It can also be used sarcastically to mean someone who is gloomy and brings down the mood of the people they are with.
To be honest things didn’t get quite as bad as what I wrote. I took a little creative license in order to introduce a lot of these. I do however remember telling someone I was “swamped” at some point. And, I’m not exaggerating when I say I have a “little ray of sunshine”…
I hope some of these come in handy.
See you next month!
Hello! My name is Simon.
I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999.
My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.