Saturday, December 08, 2007

Noah's Ark + 5

Rawness - seems the most apt word now.

Feeling like we're "sucker punched" in a moment, unalterably changed, wanting to move to what I'd call a: "simple normalcy". Our daily temperatures go up to around 43 degrees (F), with nights down around 32 - with no furnace until 95% certain sometime Tuesday (it's Saturday now) we'll have our new furnace and heat. The boys' rooms have space heaters and we have our living room fireplace evenings for warmth. Our bed heats us also.

We're not the "Poor People of the Lower Ninth Ward" - or similar. The main floor of our house wasn't damaged at all.

IF we are able to get the City to pay for most of the damage we will be solvent. IF not, we will have horrific debt for many years into the future.

Sunday late night and into Monday we got 5 inches of rainfall. Our house is on a creek. A culvert downstream - got completely jammed with trees and debris (it took 3 large truckloads of material to take it away during the late parts of our storm). It created a dam - which moved steadily upstream as water continued to poor down the stream. The city reacted very slowly at dealing with what was going on.

When the culvert was cleared, the floodwaters receded within an hour. We went from having 2 1/2 feet or a little more water throughout the lower level of our house and garage to seeing the water within its banks easily in that time.

In front of our house (the other side) a lake built up Monday morning that at its peak was about 200 feet long - the street entirely flooded and as it built up the water flowed down our driveway into our garage and then similarly across the street from us (they aren't on the creek at all) flooding their lower level and garage as well. So our floodwaters came from both directions as the storm sewers had no space due to the creek flood.

The pond upstream which was supposed to hold water and prevent flooding overflowed itself. A 96 inch emergency drain - directly to the Lake evidently wasn't opened or was clogged itself - so water couldn't drain, as it was supposed to, out to prevent the pond from overflowing.

Apparently water was held back from coming downstream as the storm built late Sunday night and then - the water "exploded" downstream - getting stopped by the culvert - creating a total mess.

The creek now is perhaps 8-10 feet wide and maybe 18 inches deep. The water level had to have come up at least 10-20 feet or more with what happened. The 10 foot width shifted behind our house to being around 100 feet wide and near us to at least 150 feet wide.

We are lucky in many ways, but it doesn't feel that way! We are middle class people who have access to resources. We don't have savings to cover our expenses, but we can access debt at least. We can speak and often others listen.

We appreciate the good feelings that others share with us! Our neighbors and beyond here have been wonderful! We have had mixed assistance and a lack thereof from the City and other authorities. FEMA has still not declared the harder hit areas a "disaster area" and we have no chance in that area until they are declared with whatever has to happen.

What we really need though is physical and emotional release - peace - normalcy - our lives back in one piece. When we have heat - that will be one step. When the work begins and then is completed to fix our house that will be another step. IF we get financial assistance eventually that will change things dramatically from having been HAMMERED and STUCK to simply having been hammered.

I'm hopeful! It's hard to support my partner when I'm hurting as I am. It's harder on her emotionally. She has other unrelated hurts on top of this - which makes it at least triply hard for her. I'm thankful. I'm hopeful. I'm crying inside and sad. Thanks!

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