I’ve had a rare “opportunity” this week. We survived the great flood of 2016.
To begin, I do not live in a flood zone. Wednesday I left work as normal and the flash flood hit. The street my little people were on had already begun flooding so I parked down the road and waded my way through the knee-deep water and pouring rain to them. I thought the worst was over when we got back to the car and then to my surprise we pull into our subdivision and it was flooding as well!! I backed up and went through a back road and safely made it into our garage. We’ve had a couple of flash floods, but it never made it into our neighborhood. I guess since we’ve been getting so much rain, there was no where for it to go and so it just began rising…and rising…and rising.
By Saturday, the sun came out and it seemed like the water must go down! To our frustration it went up. By now it was up to our garages and front doors, and for a couple of neighbors it was in their homes. The initial flooding hit so fast that we weren’t able to leave to get sandbags or supplies. We definitely did not expect it to continuously rise.
So you ask, what was the “opportunity”? There are so many I don’t know where to begin.
I met neighbors and saw our neighborhood rally together. They helped me lift my fridge and deep freeze to put pavers and wood underneath, they helped me move furniture to my second floor, we all used sand from the girls sandbox to make quick sandbags for our garages, we watched each others kids so others could meet family and friends for supplies, we shared food and groceries and stories, we let our kids play together, and so much more. I loved WHERE we lived before the flood, but now I love my community of neighbors. I don’t have enough words for all the nice things I’d like say and the generosity, civility, and concern we were shown. Especially after all the negative things you hear people say and do now, it’s nice to know the good people are out there. I only wish I would have made more of an effort before the flood to get to know their stories. This was a lesson to me to label less and communicate more.
My “noisy motorcycle” neighbor (you know you have nicknames for your neighbors too) ended up being the one who saved us. Her boyfriend knew some people and was able to get an industrial pump brought in to drain the water. We all pitched in for gas for the machine, but without her we wouldn’t have had it and the county was unconcerned with helping us. She got it Saturday and the water immediately started to recede. Then we had another flash flood and the water just went up to where it was previously. I have no doubt in my mind that it would have been in my home, A/C, etc if it wasn’t for her. I love my “noisy motorcycle” neighbor now. We went to thank her and it turns out she’s actually very sweet. She just has a noisy hobby that as an exhausted mom I found frustrating some late nights. However, never again! 🙂
My “angry, crabby old guy” neighbor helped dig a trench to release some of the water too. Then afterwards he walked about a mile and a half to get more supplies and brought the girls back chocolates as well. “Angry, crabby old guy” neighbor is actually a lonely empty nester. It ends up it was just him and his daughter for a long time, but then she went away to college about a year and a half ago out-of-state. So now it’s just him and his garden. I’ll probably be the “angry, crabby old girl” when my kids go off to college too. We’ll be taking him cookies and such more often.
Also, I realized how lucky I am to work where I do. I love my job truly, but occasionally I wonder if I couldn’t be doing more with my life and my degree. However, throughout this ordeal my coworkers and boss were constantly checking on us and helping me weigh pros and cons (my first flood so it was nice to have some feedback). They sent over pizzas, drinks and formula for me Saturday when the water was at my front door. People I only see from 8-5 waded through 4 blocks of water to get to my house just to drop off supplies. That says a lot about the people I work with and company I work for. I’m forever grateful just for the sheer thoughtfulness.
Lastly, my home is ridiculously clean. After moving all our furniture upstairs we were at a wait-and-see point. This gave me time to clean under and around everything. lol. Forget spring cleaning — I’ve got a full-on summer shine! I had to go through all the boxes in the garage to get them out of there when the water was leaking in (thankfully diapers came in handy for keeping the water at bay). I moved into this house when I was 3 months pregnant and had horrible morning sickness. To say it was an unorganized and unmotivated move would be an understatement. I finally feel like we are “moved in”. It just took a flood to do it!
I could be a negative Nancy and focus on the bad stuff. My backyard still has standing, stinky water, the mosquitos are going to be INSANE now, I missed a couple days of work, and Milla missed her last day of PreK. However, my family is safe, my home is intact, I made some amazing new friends, and we know there is a drainage problem that we can fix before any potential hurricanes. All-in-all, it was a blessing in disguise and Milla didn’t seem too upset about missing school with all her friends and a creek in the front yard. Kids have a way of creating fun where adults can only see predicaments. We could probably all learn a little something from that. 🙂