Thursday, March 15, 2012

Flood Lessons

Ella was only eight months old when our house flooded, so neither of our girls have ever seen what this river can do.  Especially after getting 12-16 inches of rain in less than twenty-four hours.  It's a difficult balancing act, trying to be honest and allow my girls to experience this and learn from it all, while protecting them from and soothing their fears and anxieties.

Thankfully, our house seems to have been spared this time, but we're surrounded by water and still prepared to evacuate if necessary.  You never can be sure if or when they might need to shut off the water for several days (I keep seeing the city out here to monitor that), and we're not completely safe until we get through this week without any additional rain.  This time, I have two little girls with me, and things are quite different, mostly in a good way.  Here are a few of the lessons we've learned this week:
  • Flash flooding and river flooding are two different animals.  We experienced both this week.
  • It's usually not a good sign when a kind person parks a boat at the end of your neighborhood, just in case.
  • A long walk after a storm or flood is one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures.  All of nature is as excited as you are that the worst is over, and they will sing a glorious song to accompany you on your travels.   Grab your binoculars and go bird watching or enjoy to the spring peepers.
Even this little guy wasn't scared of us in the least.
He just wanted dry land.
  • A river (or bayou) can turn a safe neighborhood into a dangerous swamp in no time.  We have some mighty cranky water moccasins right now.  The wasps and fire ants are pretty vicious, too.  Also, I'm not sure what is living in the back half of the neighborhood (the part with over a foot of standing water covering several acres) this week.  Alligators?  Swamp Sasquatch?  All I know is even the cranes refuse to land in there for more than a few seconds.
There was a really nice vegetable garden back there.
  • I am really glad we built raised garden beds.
  • We like continuing with school on what might otherwise be considered emergency days.  It gives us a focus and a sense of normalcy while we're stressed and anxious.  I save our vacation days for beautiful sunshiny days spent lounging on a dry blanket or playing with friends.
  • Keeping the house clutter free is essential when you need to pick up everything off the ground at a moment's notice.
  • There is only so much you can prepare for and control.  Packing a small bag with a change of clothes for each person and my household binder (where I keep all of our insurance policies, checkbook, bills, and list of account numbers) helps me feel calm and ready to leave in a hurry if the situation changes.  Also, it helps to do all your washing, boil eggs, bake a loaf of bread, and fill all of your water bottles in case you lose power and/or water.  After that, you start doing this weird chicken dance around the house.
  • Tension Tamer tea.  Or whatever keeps you sane.  Keep it stocked.  Avoid caffeine, except that first cup or two in the morning, which are vital after a couple of sleepless nights in a row.
  • Someone always has it worse than you do.
  • Pay attention.  The fire department has better things to do than rescue me on my flooded street because I forgot about beans boiling in a covered pot on the stove.  (I'm officially an idiot.  Thankfully, no firemen were bothered that day.)
  • Everything will be ok.  Even if we lose everything.  Again.  It will still be ok.  I didn't believe this eight years ago (I do cut myself some slack, as there were a lot of other factors added in during that time), but I firmly believe it now.  We prepare the best way we can, and we stay together.  Because people matter.  Stuff is just stuff.  As long as we take care of each other, everything really will be ok.
  • Oh . . . and one more . . . kids really love to take pictures!  Here are a few taken by Ella:
the exit for our road

the other exit out of the neighborhood

island property, minus the fruity drinks with the umbrellas

They say it will be a few days before the water begins the long, slow process of receding.
Now, we wait . . .

3 comments:

  1. Wow. That looks really scary. I'm glad you guys are okay and that you seem so calm!

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  2. Wait, is that a snake? Did you willingly post a picture of a snake? And that is a lot of rain in a short time. I hope that's the end of it.

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  3. Deb, I was a wreck Monday and Tuesday. Now that things are a little stable, it's easier to relax. Plus, we've been through this. It always gets better. Eventually.


    Amy - I know, right?!?! And I even got up close and TOOK the picture! Ella's desensitization program must be working. :) Either that or I was so relieved it wasn't a "bad" one.

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