Friday, September 30, 2011

Time to Make Lemonade

Spoke too soon, didn't I?  All the hoopla of early June was only the flood monster's opening salvo.  On June 22 at 1:00 pm the evacuation sirens went off and one-fourth of our city was homeless, including all of my Minot children except one (DD living with BF).  From the safety of 50 miles away I watched the Corps of Engineers frantically shore up the secondary dikes to save the north-south route through town and add even more secondary dikes down the middle of streets, saving one side, giving the other side over to the river.  I watched the river fill some of the loveliest old neighborhoods.  I watched the boat tour down University Ave. and knew for a fact that Doug and Tina's house took water on the main floor, plenty of it.  Kate's school, Ramstad, is gone.  Our zoo, swimming pool, the two largest parks in town are severely damaged.  There really are no words to describe it all.  There are several videos out there worth watching, if you have the fortitude to do so.  It's heartbreaking:

But we survived.  No one drowned.  It was amazing to watch friends, neighbors, and even strangers opening their homes to each other, whether for housing, a complete garage, or even a corner, for storage, or a hot meal, or a shoulder to cry on.  Of 12,000 people evacuated, only 200-300 were stuck in the shelters.  Close to home, a precious granddaughter was added to the family.  (No, they did not name her Venice or Flo.)  We went back to our homes to dig out the muck and sewage.  I'm so very proud of the way my boys (men) banded together to gut first one house and then the next and the next.  They are a formidable crew. 

Doug and Tina's is the worst.  Only three feet of water on the main floor, but gone are the dovetailed hardwood floors, the barrel ceiling in the living room, the notched arch into the dining room.  Time to make lemonade--they didn't like the inefficient layout of the basement and the new utility room is convenient.  It will give them a larger family room eventually.  FEMA was enough to replace the furnace, ductwork, central air, water heater, sheetrock....  and they had decided to move all their furniture and appliances out the week before, even though they weren't in the evacuation zone at first.

Don and Kristi's rental property, closer to the river, had only two inches of water on the main floor, but the floodwaters receded slowly there and the mold had a good head start before they could go in.  It's gutted, ready to be worked on this winter.  The renters left a lot to be hauled away.  The house was their first purchased home and they'd kept it for an investment since it was relatively close to the college.  So no FEMA.

Only two blocks from me, Daryl and the boys at the Man House stayed dry through the flood.  His basement didn't survive the sewage though.  There are 25 lift stations in Minot--13 of them were either under water or broke down.  People going back to their homes found up to four feet of sewage in their basements.  Yes, we'd plugged the drains, but sometimes the pressure was so high that they blew.  One lady had her drain braced with a 2x4 against a floor joist.  It splintered the 2x4.  Daryl had only six inches of sewage, but that is a big basement to empty out.  They are working (slowly) to turn it into an apartment for Dwayne and his bride.

My house?  There's a guardian angel sitting on my roof, just over there by the chimney.  Several of my neighbors had sewage, but I came home to dry floors.  Didn't have utilities for a ~long~ time.  Yes, the basement is very, very damp and I still pull a bucket or two of water out of the dehumidifier every day.  We'd evacuated most of the furniture thinking that if I flooded it wouldn't hit the main floor.  We've pulled the carpets out down there and I've painted about a third of what I intend to paint.  We are surviving on the one upstairs bedroom until I can finish.

Had surgery last week--girl stuff.  It is driving me up the wall to lift only ten pounds!  I'm not messing this repair up though, so I'm behaving.  Lemonade for the past months?  I got to know my son's family much, much better since we were living with them.  They have a big farmhouse and the air mattress was fine.  Kate and Mikayla got to see baby pigs being born!  ....and I don't think I have to worry about paying for vet school in a few years.  Gabby loved the swings and sandbox (8'x12') and learned how to sit up properly.  I think the sand gave her just enough support so she strengthened her back muscles and learned to balance better.  Farm living suited my girls, even doing chores.  Except for those nasty goats.  I didn't like driving in so many miles for work, but at least I didn't get caught up in the two hour traffic jams when there was only one road open between the north and south ends of town.  I missed having internet available all the time.  But we survived.

It would be really nice though if life could get a little back to normal.

No comments:

Post a Comment