Friday, August 19, 2016

Flooding Feels Like Forever

As a kid, I remember our house flooding twice.  The first time, we were watching outside, thinking the rain would come in through the door.  Anyone who has ever been in a flood knows water doesn't work that way.  You walk into your room, thinking everything is okay because you've checked outside and the water, while over the curb, isn't at your front stoop.  

You take a step and squish.  The carpet is damp, as in wet like when you drop a glass of water and have to blot it up and get to the deepest amount of wet, wet.  At that point, we all ran screaming, scurrying to put everything in our closets and on the floor onto our beds, to unplug everything.  "Save my books! Save my stuffed animals! Save my records!  Save my shoes!"  These were the over hyper thoughts of a seventh grader when the water began to rise above the carpet and saturate our house.

My father loaded us all into a John boat and put on his waders used for hunting and pulled all four of us and my mom and our dog down the street to a neighbor who had a two story.   Not really getting it, my brother and I asked if we would have school the next day.  When the answer was no, we started dancing, celebrating.  We asked if we could take intertubes to float down the street.  The answer was again no.  So we spent the rest of the next day watching our neighbor's cat get really irritated at seeing fish swim across the kitchen floor while it sat on the counter.   I remember my father quoting The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, "Water water everywhere, and not a drop to spare." I thought of the book, Winnie the Pooh.

When we finally made it back to our home, it was weeks before something like normal returned.  We had throw rugs on the concrete slab and had to step over the doorways where there were wooden planks with carpet nails sticking up.   Lots of stuff was just gone, and sometimes we wouldn't recognize what went missing and be looking all over only to remember, oh yes, that got lost in the flood.  We flooded a second time, though not as bad.  We knew what to expect, we also knew how to recover, so it went faster.  We also had flood insurance, so that made it easier too.

The bottom line is, when you flood, it is an unimaginable mess with months, not weeks of recovery time.   There are all sorts of secondary problems once the water recedes, once it is no longer dramatic national news.   Mold in the insulation, lost treasures that have no value insurance wise, but mean something to you, pictures, books, all sorts of odds and ends get lost in the process because water so coats everything it touches.  

It helps to get a sense of things, how bad is it?   

I've lived in Baton Rouge for one summer, the landscape of Louisiana is such that when there isn't a main road, there often isn't another road.  It's part of the logistics of living in that area of the country.  I-10 is a long stretch of road with cities every hour or so, and smaller places you can't get to on I-10 except by going to the bigger places and retracing your steps.   It's part of what makes flooding in this area of the country so devastating.  You can't get to all the places, at least not by car.   

So please, if you can, give something to help out those who right now, can't even begin to do damage assessment.

Here's a link to Catholic Charities USA, where you can go to give direct aid to the victims of the flooding in Louisiana.   And thank you.

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