Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flood (yes, this is late in coming, I know. We've been busy!)

So did you hear about all the flooding in Tennessee and Kentucky? We sure did. Our entire property flooded! As in every single field was at least 8 feet under water. It was crazy! Nearly all of our belongings were destroyed, and our travel trailer (aka the bungalow) which we had been living in was filled about 2/3rds with water. Fortunately the bungalow is insured, but nothing else. Good news: we're all ok, the animals are ok (the neighbor cut the fence and let them onto his much more elevated property), the vehicles are ok (sort of- my car needs a little lovin- it's headed to the shop right now actually), and some of our stuff is salvageable. Our lap-top was at Daniel's brother's house, the camera was in my purse. My cello was at my mom's house. In fact, Daniel's grandmother has already washed all of our sopping-wet and muddy stinky clothes. All the instruments we have (excessive amounts, actually!) are ok, except for the violin bows. We had time to grab some things before we left, but I certainly didn't expect the water to get so high. There are a lot of things I would have grabbed had I known what was coming! I guess I should tell the whole story from the beginning.... (and I use too many parenthesis, I think).

So we woke up Sunday morning (May 2nd) to get ready for church. After I showered, I looked outside and saw that water was half way up the field from the creek. Uh-oh. I told Daniel he should probably move his car b/c the water is already lapping against the tires... he gets up, moves the car, moves my car, tries to move my dads truck (he's recently lent us his old truck) and gets it stuck in the mud. Neghbor drives by, stops, and helps us un-stick the truck. Our friend Nathan arrived to check on us and see if we needed any help. Another neighbor stops and says we'd better leave soon before we're flooded in. We should have left right then.... instead we mucked about for a few minutes trying to take care of the animals and generally prepare things for lots of water. We threw a lot of boxes that were outside in the hoop house (aka barn) into the bungalow because we never imagined the water would get that high! I couldn't quite think straight so I didn't accomplish much of anything except for wasting time... which led to me driving my car through water, it dying, me hopping out in water almost up to my knees and pushing the car the rest of the way through the water, arriving safely on the other side, and then a neighbor informing me that there was much worse flooding just a quarter mile down the road and I couldn't get through even if I wanted to. He kindly pulled my car up his driveway with his truck and we watched the water continue to rise. I was now flooded in with Zeke and Sadie (the dog) at said neighbor's house (Danny and Denise- great neighbors! They feel like family now!). Daniel is still over on our property, now completely flooded in. He waded over about 20 minutes after me, leaving his car and our truck parked on the highest spot of the road (thankfully the water didn't make it that high!). We all settled into Danny and Denise's house (the cozy-est cabin-ish house you've ever seen! I could have moved in!), they feed us breakfast, gave us dry clothes, and we watch the weather channel all day and stood on the porch watching the water rise. I knitted and crocheted up a storm! (no pun intended). I was so anxious all day that I couldn't eat and felt horribly sick. The water rose to just a few feet from the side of Danny and Denise's house! The electricity flickered on and off 3 or 4 times- we kept expecting it to stay off, but it always turned back on, thankfully. Finally the rain slowed down. We all stayed up really late to watch the weather channel and see what would happen next. It was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life! Finally, we all went to bed- Daniel, Zeke, and I in the guest room, and Nathan (he got flooded in with us!) on the couch. When we woke up in the morning we were still flooded in (as in we couldn't drive over to stay with family yet), but the water had gone down enough that we could go see our property. Daniel went first to see the damage--- water had filled the bungalow about 2/3rds of the way full. All of our belongings in the hoop house were either washed away down the creek or destroyed by water and mud. It was very sad to see, but I was over my anxiety. I had already resolved in my head that everything was gone, and so when I did find anything that could be salvaged, I was very happy about that. There was one thing I really wanted to find-- a quilt that my Great Aunt Lucy had made. I remember the day she died (I must have been 9 or so) we went to see her, and I was very sad- I loved her. I remember picking up the quilt out of a basket and asking the hospice nurse if I could have it. She was so sweet- she started crying and said, "of course, honey!". This quilt has been one of my most treasured possessions ever, and I was going to be so sad if it had washed away or been ruined. I looked for it the first few days of clean up but couldn't find it. FINALLY I found a box labeled "aunt Lucy's quilt", which was soaking wet, squashed to a pancake, and covered with mud. Well I opened it and found the quilt-- I had packed it in one of those giant zip-lock bags! Amazingly it was completely dry!! See, God is so good to us! He knows we can only handle so much. I would have been so sad if that quilt had been ruined, but He was gracious to me and let me find it in good condition.

Since that day we've been cleaning up the mess. Our bungalow was hauled away to the junk yard. We've filled sooo many contractor garbage bags with stuff to throw away and have slowly been taking it truckload by truckload to a dumpster. Daniel's grandparents are very graciously letting us live in their RV, which is parked at Daniel's parent's house. We will be here another week, at which point we will leave to go to Virginia for the Polyface Farm internship. We've been so busy getting prepared for that and dealing with all the flood drama, so I've felt rather overwhelmed. But we'll get there... we make progress every day. I think the hardest part for me right now is that we are technically homeless- we don't have a place that is our own. It's given me a lot of perspective on the fact that I actually have no home here-- heaven is my home.

Now for pictures...

Daniel and Nathan, trying to decide what to do. You can see the tree line in the background where the creek is supposed to be. The creek is normally down in about a 12 foot trench type thing, so you can understand how much water it took to get to what you see in the picture. This was maybe 45 minutes after we had woken up to get ready for church.
This was taken right before I left to try and go stay with family. It was too late, I was already flooded in, I just didn't know it yet. You can see Nathan's truck in the background-- the battery was dead, so they couldn't move it. I think Nathan was pretty sad about that. Eventually it was entirely under water.

View from the end of the neighbor's drive way an hour or so later. The road I had driven on to get there is now completely immersed. Eventually the fence posts you can see in the foreground of the picture are completely under water, too. If you look closely, right in the center of the picture by the pine tree you can see our vehicles parked on a little hill (kind of behind the tree). Our property is all to the left of that-- it was like a giant lake (except for our big hill, it was fine of course- too bad we hadn't already built a house up there!).
Daniel, a few days later, going through the last of the boxes. We've thrown 90% of our belongings away. My darling husband took a picture of every single book so we can eventually replace them. I can't even tell you how many hundreds and hundreds of books we must have had. You can see our happy pigs in the background :)
So that's what's been going on with us. Sorry I haven't written more lately-- I have lots to write about! But it seems that when my blog would be the most interesting is also when I have the least amount of time to spend on it. I'm sure it's the same for you other bloggers. Anyway, I'll try to write again sometime soon. :)

3 comments:

Paige said...

Kristin! That is SO sad! I hate that this happened! It is exciting to see that your Aunt Lucy's quilt was entirely fine though. Again, if you need anything, please let us know. I have my little list going of extras and things that we don't need. And it's all about to get packed up in the car and headed to Kentucky in the next week. I hope we get to catch you all before you leave--we have your mattress!

Love you all!
Paige

Melissa said...

Wow. You guys are resilient for sure! Some things broke as we were pakcing up our belongings and I had a hissy fit. This gives me some perspective. Hope the internship is inspiring!

Melissa said...

Wow! How upbeat you are! I'm very proud of you! And also, I'm inspired by your joy in tribulation... thank you for that!