14 September 2010


Tropical Storm Hermine: the story of the flooding of my house last week.

Tuesday morning it was already raining when we woke up... and it continued to rain all day, all night, and into the next day. The creek behind our house was full again, and the chickens were miserable. We put a tarp over their coop and went to bed. At 11:30, my husband and I put on our rainjackets and grabbed the flashlight and went in the back to see how the creek looked. So, it was still full. Racing by, but not overflowing the banks or anything. We headed to bed.

At 1 a.m. we jumped up because someone knocked on our door! There was no one there, so my husband "checked the perimeter," peeking out the windows and checking the locks. We went back to bed. I got up briefly at 1:30 a.m. because I thought the sprinklers had gone on. At 1:45 our computer speaker started making a popping noise and James got out of bed and his feet landed in about 3 inches of water. Soon it had doubled. We moved the four kids (ages 9, 7, 4, 2) and two of the dogs (the old dog sat on his chair the entire ordeal, barely noticing as we raced back and forth) to our bed. I put the kids scrapbooks up to higher shelves, and then moved paper-wrapped bags of wheat and rice to the top of the piano and kitchen table until the water started receding after 3 a.m. Then, my dad arrived from across town and we went with him to his house, where we are still staying.

Our house is one story and inside, the water got to about 6-7 inches. In the backyard, it was a raging, 5-6 foot deep river and in the front it was about a foot deep but really fast. When we looked across the street at our neighbor's dry yard and house, we wondered if we'd have to carry the kids over there if the water continued to rise. In the backyard, our 12 X 20 shed moved 60 feet, plowing over the chicken coop and smashing it against some trees. Then it landed on top of the disc-gold goal and stopped. Thankfully, the doors didn't open and it wasn't washed clean.

We went back "home" Wednesday morning to survey the damage. The force of water is so impressive! We didn't recognize the backyard. As we approached the shed, we saw the disc golf goal peeking out from underneath like the Wicked Witch of the East, but not before we found an intact egg. Six of our 8 chickens survived, looking more miserable and waterlogged than we had last seen them (envision those wet cat pictures on the internet).

We have been overwhelmed by the situation and the action of our church family and homeschool group. I made one call Wednesday morning at about 8:30 and had a steady outpouring of help and love all day. I think about 35 people personally helped us from the body of Christ. Our Real Life group (a new group that met for the first time last Wednesday) came by and served us as we met for the first time. Our homeschool group has been amazing. All our bedding, curtains and the clothes have been taken and washed. Then, so many people took all our books, framed art, scrapbooks, pictures and files to a friend's empty apartment (up 17 steps two times!) to be kept dry from the humidity. We have a lot of books and only lost a few shelves' worth. A man we didn't know, yet, Scott, vacuumed silty water from our house for about 6 hours. Another friend ran the show like a capable general all day because I was sort of useless and slow. Friday, Steve and 17- year old Tyler took all the heavy, wet carpet and padding out of the house. Saturday, men from the church came over and emptied my husband's shed and city workers and volunteers cleared debris and stripped the siding off the shed.

I can't explain really well the feeling you get when you see building debris, ruined furniture, and trash in your friend's and neighbor's front yards. To see front-end loaders dumping it in construction dumpsters parked beside familiar cars. To see police, firemen, church volunteers, disaster specialists, and neighbors asking how they can help and what they can do. Little kids pulling wagons loaded with cold water and sandwiches.

Michelle, Angie, Leslie, Shalanda, Kevin, BJ, Niesha, Nina, Carla, Karen, Jeff, Tina, Jessica, Christine, Christina, Sommer, Barie, Laura, Mike, Kevin, Chris, Blake- new friends I can't remember their names and all the kids who pitched in- its so many to thank. Just their presence, their words, their box of trash bags- they are so appreciated. It's not that it was a big or small task, but that they took the effort to do it for us. As the house has been manhandled in the name of drying it and preventing mold, we have been figuring out what our plan is for the next few weeks... more later.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear