On April 29, I was enjoying a lazy Saturday morning at home with my family during a spring storm. The ground was saturated from a previous rain, and we watched the normally dry little creek bed fill with run-off water and quickly overflow. Since we've seen it overflow before and never reach our house, we didn't take the flash flood warnings very seriously.
Daryl was fixing breakfast while I made my morning cup of coffee. I went to look out back again, started to take a sip of coffee, and saw muddy water coming in under the door. The only words I could form were, "Oh, crap! Oh, crap! Oh, crap!" I grabbed all the towels I could find in the laundry room and tried to stop the water from going into the kitchen. Yeah, right!
|Towels did not work...|
My daughter Jessika was still in bed and jumped up to see what was going on. The bathroom across the hall from her room was already filling with water. In what seemed like a few seconds, water was everywhere! It was coming in the back door and flowing out the front door... and it must have come through the floor and walls! Our carpet appeared to be floating.
I was frantically going through the rooms trying to get stuff up off the floor while Jessika was trying to keep Buddy (the dog) from getting swept down stream! Daryl and our son Jarod worked on unplugging all the electronics. Daryl was zapped when he touched a power strip while standing in his flooded office! The table, counters, beds, furniture, and even bathtubs were piled with stuff, and water continued coming in. We called a friend to bring us a shop vac. Yeah, right!
We were still getting stuff up off the floor when we were told to evacuate. We each quickly packed a bag and carefully waded out to our neighbor's pick-up that was high enough to still get through the water. Before we left... not knowing how high the water would get or how long it would stay... Daryl and Jarod kept me from having a total melt down by moving the cedar chest (hand made by my dad for my 21st birthday) up on the coffee table. I just couldn't leave with that piece of my dad sitting in nasty flood water to be ruined!
|The end of our road!|
We've never even thought about what to do in a flood. I figured we were going to be homeless and everything inside the house was going to be destroyed. Thankfully my mom suggested bed risers or even cinder blocks to put under our furniture. That got our brains working! We found a stack of bed risers, so later that afternoon when the water went down enough to walk back to the house, we put our main furniture up on the risers and then put trash bags under other items. Our piano is on wheels, so I rolled it forward, put down plastic lids, and then rolled the piano back onto the lids so it wasn't directly on the soaked carpet. The house already smelled bad, and the carpets sloshed. We tried using the shop vac again. Yeah, right!
|Thankful for bed risers!|
Because we live on the campus of Cookson Hills, we had lots of offers for places to stay. Since we were dragging along our freaked out wet dog, we decided to camp out in the former preschool room - it was carpeted and had access to a bathroom! Plus, we were soaked and more than a little frazzled with so much to process... we knew we wouldn't be very good company. It was nice to be with just the four of us - and the dog.
|Our survival kit!|
Sunday morning we headed to Walmart for tubs - lots of tubs. Not knowing if/when we'd be able to stay in the house, we decided to pack up things that we didn't want to get damp and smelly - like all of our books! Then we saved Jarod's nutcracker collection! While people on campus were helping two other flood victims get moved out of their wet homes, we found out they were coming to help us next. An empty house on the other side of campus was going to be our temporary home.
How in the world do you wrap your head around moving out of your house in ONE DAY??? I just stood on the sloshy carpet looking around at the total chaos of stuff piled everywhere. I was overwhelmed... with the smell... with all our stuff... and knowing people were on their way... The horror of people seeing ALL my stuff quickly faded when they walked in to help at the flooded house while others were getting the temporary house ready for us.
Our friends and co-workers were definitely the hands and feet of Jesus. They were so kind and willing to serve by supplying tubs, packing and moving, and providing food and drinks. They knew when to let us cry and when to give us hugs! If we were going to be flooded, we were at a good place for it to happen.
Those two days felt like forever, but we were just beginning our time of being unsettled!
...to be continued...
Here's Part 2