When it Rains it Floods

The Art Tree

Little Treasures of Home

The first thing I reached for when the creek started rising, was a picture of my son at the ocean when he was about five years old.  It’s my favorite photo.   He’s wearing a little pair of blue jeans rolled up above his ankles, walking in the sand and looking down at the waves barely covering his small bare feet.

I placed the photo carefully in the plastic tub I was using to hold my most cherished belongings.

I wasn’t ready for a flood, but I should have been.  Along with my rental lease when I moved six months ago, I signed a statement informing me that the apartment is in a flood zone.

I didn’t read the paper I signed.  I was desperate for a place to live. 

An unexpected bed bug situation in an apartment my son had recently moved into interrupted my search for a rental.  Suddenly, my son was without a home and I had a deadline to find myself a place.  We were tired.  The winter weather was cold and I was in severe physical pain.  Neither of us were able to continue looking, so we each rented an apartment in the flood zone.

The rain started late in the afternoon.  I hadn’t watched the news and was not aware of pending thunderstorms.

My dog, Ruthie, tried telling me the rain storm was unusual.  She barked loudly as soon as it started.  My gut grabbed me for a moment.

I opened the door and looked outside.  I could feel something different.  The rain was loud.

There were two birds here that I’d never seen before.  Cardinals were rushing to the feeders, getting more wet by the second.  As the rain continued, the birds kept feeding.  Water had soaked one cardinal’s wings and the poor bird struggled to stay in flight.

I quickly realized that everything in my home means a lot to me.  I’ve downsized and what is left isn’t replaceable.  Anxiety set in.

Family photos, art and crafts that either my son or mother created, and my pretty wooden clock that my sister gave to our immediate family members one year for Christmas, all went into the plastic tub.

I wrapped my little sculpture of a girl holding a bouquet of orange flowers to her face that my mother gave me for a birthday present about five or six years earlier.

Then of course, there’s the beautiful hand carved wooden spoon that I love.  My son made it from a large piece of Cherry when he was thirteen years old.  Without using power tools, he worked for many weeks chiseling, carving, sanding and shaping the wood.  How in the world can something like that be replaced?

I spent the best of four hours, while the downpour continued, putting things in high places, packing them in the plastic tubs and lastly, unplugging electrical devices.  I packed bags of clothes and necessities. 

Management sent a messenger to tell tenants to evacuate the parking lot.  Everyone moved their cars to higher ground.

Anxiety had me distressed.

Image of Haw River water currents

Currents Meet

Then, my son came over.  He was completely calm. 

At first, I was upset by this.  I mean, how could he be so calm, I wondered, when our homes might be flooded any moment!  I needed his help packing, I thought.

I felt disoriented.  I honestly wished I could have afforded a hotel, but since I couldn’t, then I was planning on driving to my mother’s home.  

After several hours of packing and listening to the downpour, along with seeing the families of other tenants come and go, taking their loved one with them, fatigue was overcoming me.  I would likely have to surrender my pride and perhaps, accept the invitations offered to us by two friends for nearby refuge.

My son had earlier gone to the store for water, drinks and snacks.  While I was running around packing stuff, he lied down on the floor with Ruthie and whispered in her ear.  This obviously relaxed her and since she is such a sensitive dog, I was grateful.

Within a few minutes, Ruthie was lying on her back with her legs in the air.  You know a dog is alright when they do that.  My son gently rubbed her little belly and continued talking softly to her.  

Ruthie and I both needed what he had to offer during the crisis.  I suppose he needed it too.

The worst of the storm came at midnight. 

The fire department and Red Cross had waited for hours on the other side of the bridge.  They had a rescue truck in our parking lot.  The water started to seep into the front door when I called them to say I was ready to leave.

Ruthie wouldn’t go outside.  I would need help carrying her to the rescue truck.  I was beginning to wonder if they would have to carry me as well.

My son had disappeared just before the water starting to come inside.  He’d gone to check on his own place.  I don’t think he realized how bad the situation could have been, until he saw the water rise to the level of my doorstep.  I had begged him not to leave because the water wasn’t only standing in our otherwise grassy lawn, but by that time, there was a current.

I didn’t want to leave without him.  I waited.

Within about fifteen more minutes the water started to go down.  I had a feeling the worst of the storm had passed, but the rescue team suggested that we leave in case of another downpour.

The water level had gone down enough so that Ruthie would walk on the sidewalk.  Three firefighters were at my door.  My son had told them I needed help.

“Where is my son?” I asked the men.

“He’s at the club house playing pool,” one answered.

Apparently, he wasn’t alone.  Floods are common and expected at this property.  Management opens up the club house for folks to gather, watch TV and play pool.

Ruthie and I walked with the men.  They carried my bags.  They were most enthusiastic about their duty, which fire fighters tend to get.

I had only seen three men, until we rounded the corner of the building.  There were six more waiting for us.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Ten strong beautiful men waiting to rescue me!

Thank you for visiting dogkisses!

Note:  I was right about the storm’s end when the creek reached the level of my door and fortunately, we didn’t have damage to the inside of our homes.  I did not refuse the help when one of the men offered to lift me up on the back of their truck.  How could I?

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11 thoughts on “When it Rains it Floods

  1. Glad to hear that you, Ruthie, and your son made it through the flood. I think your son’s calmness, even if not expected, helped.
    Now, too, you know you can ask for help/rescue, and there will be someone to assist you!
    I can see why you are looking forward to January!
    It would be nice, after you move, of course, if the apartment area was turned into a park. You could come back and leave a small token/totem from your time there somewhere in the parkscape.
    Take good care. Hope the pain and the rain getter better together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Phy,

      What a positive perspective and great idea to leave something here. I hope they do turn it into a park, personally. Floods all the time is not good where folks live. Not only is it bad to lose everything, but the water is dirty and dangerous! And about the rescue, I learned by midnight that my son had been talking to the team, and they had the idea that I might need a boat or wheelchair. Oh, that’s kind of funny to me now, upon reflection. sigh… I honestly did wonder at the worst point how in the world me and Ruthie were going to get out of here. Next time, I’m leaving before any floods if I have time.

      Thank you, my dear friend, for communicating here. You are kind, Phy.

      Hugs and Love,
      Michelle.

      Like

  2. Hello Michelle! What a relief that you’re okay and your possessions are, too! What a scary thing to go through–not knowing if the rising water would flood your new home. How long does the “flood period” last? Is it only in the spring? Considering another move when your lease runs out is a wise thing, to eliminate the anxiety and potential stress of another “flood.” You probably dislike moving as much as myself.

    Setting down some roots feels good, although we may be moving in a few years, too. Our home has stairs and my daughter who lives with me, was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (she’s 40). We don’t know if she’ll be walking in ten years. MS is a strange disease–no two cases are alike. She lost some of her vision permanently and hasn’t been able to work since January.

    Life: you just never know! After several crises this past decade, we are learning to “roll with it.” We don’t roll well and we definitely don’t roll pretty; but we’re still rolling and I guess that’s what counts in the end!

    Love,
    CZ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Thank you, CZ! I appreciate your good wishes. I guess if we do have a flood season, it is Spring and Summer. Seems like we’ve had more rain over the past few years, even in Fall and Winter. We need more affordable housing options. Other than the flooding problem, it is a pretty cool place with all the wildlife and nature trails, but I want a place that feels more permanent. Also, I haven’t taken to city life like I thought I would. I like the trees so close that the limbs touch my windows :)

      I’m sorry about your daughter’s diagnosis. I hope she has more good times than not, and you’re right about MS. Each person is different. She has you, so that is a big plus for her!!! A friend of mine has MS and she’s doing pretty good, last I heard from her. She also lives with family, which I believe makes a big difference for her. I wish your daughter much healing.

      We do have to roll with things, don’t we? I haven’t been rolling too pretty lately, but I guess, I’m rolling as well as anyone would. My son needs better healthcare, but I’m not sure where to turn. It’s very frustrating and sad too, but the days go on. We rode our bicycles together today. I had a great time, even though it was only for a few minutes.

      Thank you for visiting and leaving me your kind note. I love ‘talking’ with you!

      Hugs and Love,
      Michelle.

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  3. Sue, yes, you are right! I don’t want to be in any position to be rescued, no matter how good the teams are. I want to be safe without floods.

    I’ll check on sandbags in preparation for future floods. I’m glad you mentioned what my son brought to the situation, and Ruthie too. They were both great.

    I’ll also come check out your garden photos! Thanks for the link!

    Love, Michelle, and family too xoxo

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  4. Dear Michelle, OMGoodness what an ordeal, and how very distressing for you.. I am so so thankful you are all ok and that this time no damage was done..
    I am pleased the rescue seemed so organised and you managed to pack the items dear to your heart.. ..
    Only today we have had a huge storm which flooded roads where we lived with hail and thunder like nothing I have ever seen in my life time… The weather is getting more extreme all over the world..

    I am so thankful you are safe and well, even though you are shocked … I am happy no damage to your property this time… Maybe you could enquire about some sandbags to put near your door to help in future if the water seeps higher..

    Sending you a Hug and some love.. Sue xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sue,

      Thank you for your sentiment. I guess I was shocked and writing about it helped me process the event, although, it could have been much worse. My son did mention us getting sandbags. I wish the town would provide each resident here with something to help out. They apparently want to buy the property and make it a park, because fixing the land enough to make it not flood is too expensive, or so they say.

      Yes, the weather is extreme everywhere. I am glad you are safe too.

      How is your garden growing? I bought a small Peppermint plant recently. I love those so I hope it grows big.

      As much as I don’t like moving, I must say I hope to move again in January. I love the wildlife here, but I need a more private place, with my own little yard, and no flood zones (even if the rescue team is beautiful).

      Hugs to You, and all my Love,
      Michelle, and Ruthie Mae.

      Like

      • I think a move is wise under the circumstances Michelle, and I would look to have some sandbags handy too through the winter … Autumn can throw some wild weather too… I am pleased you have such a great rescue team.. But I am sure you would prefer not to be in the position of needing rescuing..

        As for the garden its growing well… You can take a look at some pictures here

        http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/progress-grow-your-own-with-recipes/

        I took a couple of weeks ago..
        I hope you manage to relax a little and soon feel stronger Michelle… I was impressed how Ruthie warned you and how calm your Son was… Brilliant…
        Hugs to you and take care of yourself..
        Love Sue xox

        Liked by 1 person

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