Friday, June 12, 2009

our little town flood

It was one year ago today or tomorrow ( depending where in town you live) that our little town flooded. Thurrsday was the 12th and Friday was the 13th. Friday the 13th how ironic !
Thursday night our street was a raging river and then our basement started to flood.

It was shortly before dinner when the tornado siren was blaring thru the neighborhood. As a newbie to tornado's I didn't know when to take it seriously or not. It was pouring rain, The worst I have ever seen it rain. Mark was trying to get home from Madison ( he flew into the airport there) and the roads were starting to flood. I told him what the TV was saying about the tornado warning and he told me in no uncertain terms : "get in the basement."
Ok, so I have been in my basement a few times and I always dread going down there. My home was built in 1895 and the stairs are old, uneven. There is no rail and very little to hold onto.

I started to cry and thought: pull it together and get your ass downstairs. I grabbed the dogs ( who were already had a horrible week with the death of their sister exactly one week earlier).
I picked up Noelle & put her on the stairs and Ripley followed. They both went down the stairs and waited for me to get down there.
We sat down there for a while until Mark got home. He said I was singing to the dogs, sitting in a lawn chair when he got home.
We came upstairs and tried to feed the dogs and the tornado siren went off again so downstairs we went. This time we brought the dogs food. Stayed down there for a little bit and then came back upstairs. Do I need to remind you I have MS and I have climbed the stairs how many times?

I made dinner and we watched it rain and rain and rain. It was getting very scary. The basement was starting to leak. I suggested we bring as much as we could upstairs and so we began that monumental task.
We don't keep much down there. Just big stuff. Mark brought it up the stairs and I tried to find a place for it in the house. He had to carry my extra wheelchair seat ( weighing about 200 lbs ) up the narrow stairs.
By the time we were finished we had bikes, boat equipment, the contents of the extra freezer,
wheelchair stuff, etc. in the dining room, living room, halls, everywhere.

We realized we were in for a long night. The sump pump was running overtime and we even had the backup sump pump working.
We were still taking in water quickly. My phone kept ringing. Neighbors concerned for me because Mark had been out of town and they wanted to make sure I was okay.
I don't think anybody in the neighborhood slept that night as we all watched our town go underwater.

My neighborhood is the best. We all helped each other out that night. We were a team determined to win. We unplugged our back up sump pump and gave it to a neighbor. Many of the guys tried without success to keep the drains in the street unclogged. We borrowed shovels from each other. We made coffee to keep each other awake to monitor the situation.

I had to get some rest so I left Mark sleeping on the couch. He had set an alarm clock every hour so he could keep on top of the mess. Of course, he didn't hear the alarm clock go off so I woke him up every hour.
By morning it was apparent our neighborhood was under water. It was so sad to see this town like this. Fortunately the largest company in town, Mark's employer, was a boat company and was able to successfully rescue everybody who needed help.

The damage in town was unbelievable. I have a picture of the new SUV Police vehicle with water up to the hood. You can only see the plastic shield that read Police.
All the Post Office vehicles were a total loss and the post office was also flooded. The hospital new cafeteria was covered in mud and the aquatic center pool was a mud bath.

We were without hot water for several days. When they came to hook it back up we realized out water heater was damaged.
FEMA was set up in no time to help us. I applied for help with replacing our new water heater.
I called in a claim on Tuesday, they came out on Friday and inspected the damage and the following Tuesday we had a check in hand.
Maybe our country learned something from Katrina. I was impressed.

I am not the only one who doesn't ever want to go through something like that again. Mark has made some changes to the basement and we have these plugs that will help water from getting in. I have instructions posted in the kitchen incase I can't get down the stairs and have to call a neighbor .
I surprised myself that night. My physical strength of climbing the stairs so many times, of carrying and lifting all this stuff from the basement, my emotional strength ( after my mini teary episode). I took care of myself, my dogs, my home.
We did what needed to get done and we did it together. I am all for bonding but I am sure there are other ways. We worked as a team. The neighborhood worked as a family. A well tuned machine.

Remember the speeches the flight attendants say: "take care of yourself first, then help others"
Because we all did this there were no serious injuries and I don't believe any deaths.

Have a great day everybody and help a friend when you need to.



Jen said...

Yikes. Scary having such an emergency and also having to worry about your physical stamina. It's good to have such a loving husband and such a close-knit neighborhood. : )

Diane said...

I remember seeing this on the news last year. We were watching it closely as we have family in St. Louis and I guess that is where the river/flood was headed too.

Sounds like you live in a wonderful community. I didn't know you received tornadoes that far north on such a regular basis that you would have sirens like we do down here. That's good!