Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours--Literally

Have you ever wondered what you would grab if you had five minutes to get out of your house and run for the hills? Well, I don't have to wonder anymore.

We live several hundred yards (insert metric conversion here) away from a river. It's not a very big river, mind you--most of the time, it's a lot more sandbar and a lot less river--but it is a river, nevertheless. We knew about this river before we bought the house. We even knew it had overflowed its banks during a historic hundred-year flood almost six years ago, so named because this sort of flood generally only happens once every hundred years.

Someone should have told the river it still had ninety-four years left on its hundred-year contract.

We woke up yesterday to the delightful strains of heavy machinery. A couple of city crews were digging trenches, throwing up levees, pumping storm drains. We assumed they were just being proactive. Several hours later, someone called my husband and asked him to help sandbag a few blocks over. He came back an hour later, smelling like a sandbag and soaked to the skin (despite his heavy winter coat), and said, "You might want to start packing."

So I started packing, methodically, deliberately. We were planning to leave for the parents' house the next day, anyway, so I was just getting a leg up on vacation prep. That was what I told myself. An hour later, I had all the laundry put away and the essentials in a duffel. And a good thing, too, because when I went into the kitchen to grab something, I saw the river. In our street.

My hands began to tremble. I told myself, out loud, "Think. Clearly." I grabbed Honey Bear's laptop and scriptures (he teaches religion classes to high school students, and those are just about the only things he needs to do his job), the kids' diapers and some wipes, and a few basic toiletries and threw them in the bag. Then I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed my flash drive. I thought about saving the latest version of Bob on it, took one look out the window, and realized I had no time. A minute later, Honey Bear, who had just finished building the last of the sandbag barriers in front of our house, stuck his head in the front door and yelled, "We gotta go!" We grabbed the bags, grabbed the kids (with no socks or shoes, regrettably), and ran.

We were shin-deep in river water while we loaded our kids into the car (which was parked in the driveway, thankfully, and not the garage). Honey Bear was mildly concerned our car wouldn't be able to make it up the street, but we made it. Barely. As we drove away, I burst into tears.

A kindly neighbor--who lives on top of a nearby mesa, I might add--took us in, and that is where I'm sitting as I type this, in our kindly neighbor's family room. We've been back to our house a few times to check on it, and the waters appear to be receding. So far, the inside of our house has stayed dry. The rain is back this morning, though, and several dams above us might not hold. So today will be a nail-biter, but at least we're all dry and safe--which is more than I can say for yesterday.

You know, I got a full rejection yesterday morning, and I was feeling kind of bummed about it. Now I'm just happy that my family and my house aren't underwater (for the moment). Nothing like a friendly neighborhood flood to put things back in perspective.

35 comments:

Elena Solodow said...

Wow, what a story! Glad that everyone is all right.

demery bader-saye said...

Wow - prayers for your house & your neighborhood! Glad you're all safe.

Jenilyn Tolley said...

Wow! I'm so glad you're safe!! Good luck!

Jess said...

I'm so glad you and your family are safe--what a scary experience. Keep us updated on your home! Best of luck and love in the next week or so :)

Shallee said...

So sorry, Krista! Hugs and prayers going out to you. I hope the river stays down.

Sierra Gardner said...

I hope everything works out - we'll be praying for you.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Holy cow! During Winter even! I hope you guys are okay. We'll pray for you.

Pam Harris said...

Whoa. I'm glad everyone's okay. Isn't it weird how it takes situations like that to put life in perspective. Maybe this will give you great material for a future story. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Omigosh, you'll be in my thoughts. We've been deluged by water here as well, but no threat of flooding. I pray your home stays dry!!

LS said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
During the great Midwest flood of 93, my sister was in a similar situation. But she lived in one of the lucky towns, their levee didn't break. Instead, it broke on the other side of the river and flooded farm land.
My point is, I hope you will be one of the lucky ones.

Ben Spendlove said...

Just yesterday I was feeling bad about not getting enough snow. Now its snowing, and all I can think about is what this same weather pattern is doing down there. Talk about perspective. We'll pray for you.

Bittersweet Fountain said...

I can't believe this is happening to you! You're in my thoughts and prayers!

Krista V. said...

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers. We've been back to the house several times this morning. So far, the water level has been lower every time we've checked.

City crews built a three-foot wall at the end of our street this morning and have been pumping water from our street back toward the river all day. I'm sure that's had a lot to do with the lowering water levels. Honestly, most people don't really care for their municipal governments, but the city of Mesquite (look, Mom, we're incorporated!) is fantastic. I've been impressed with how they've handled this crisis as well as other issues that have come up in our community.

A.J. Cattapan said...

Glad to hear the water level is going down. What a scary situation!

Continuing to pray that the water stays away!

Deb Salisbury said...

Oh, my goodness! I hope the water keeps going down. Wishing the best for you!

Carol Riggs said...

Whoa, what a story! Gives you ideas and feelings for a possible novel, does it? Scary. Also scary is what Bob is doing. Periodically I email myself my current version of my novel, so I have it in my email folders. Paranoid? Mebbe. But better safe than sorry, and that Save is easier than doing a complete backup.

Holly said...

Krista, I am so glad your family is safe and your house seems to be okay. You are all in my prayers.

I do what Carol does -- I email a copy of everything to my gmail account. Gmail is easier for me to access long distance than email with an internet provider -- once you open that email, it's no longer accessible via internet, while gmail is (hope this makes sense). Email Bob to yourself as a safeguard.

erica and christy said...

Our area had flooding earlier this fall and it can be very scary. Glad you were able to think clearly and made it out intact. Good luck with the clean up!
erica

ChristaCarol said...

Sorry to hear this! Han gin there, and I hope things can get back to normal. What timing!

Krista V. said...

Carol and Holly, thanks for worrying about Bob. I did e-mail him to a beta reader a few days ago, which I managed to remember in the heat of the moment. I always like to have my WIPs saved in three places, if at all possible: on my hard drive, on a flash drive, and in my inbox.

UPDATE: We're back in our house this evening, but I don't think we're going to stay. The National Weather Service has issued another Flood Warning, which will be in effect until 11:30 tomorrow night. It's supposed to rain all through the night, so the NWS is expecting the river to crest at about the same level it did yesterday sometime tomorrow morning. Not out of the woods yet...

Myrna Foster said...

I already wanted it to stop raining, but now I really do. I hope your house stays dry and that you're back in it soon.

Kate Hart said...

Keeping fingers crossed for you guys- how scary!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Oh Krista! I've been away from my computer for a couple days and just read this. I'm so sorry! What craziness!! I'll be praying for you all. It is amazing how things like this put life into perspective. But ugh! Stay safe and dry.

Amy

Holly said...

Krista, I'm checking back to see how you are doing. Please keep us updated and stay safe.

Krista V. said...

UPDATE: The river swell the National Weather Service said was imminent last night never materialized. I suspect that had a lot to do with all the faith and prayers offered in behalf of our community. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We have been richly blessed.

My family and home are safe and dry. The water line stopped several yards short of our front door. It lapped against the sandbag barricade in front of our garage and might have come under it a little, but really, we couldn't have hoped for a better outcome. As I drove away Tuesday afternoon, I was certain we would come home to find mud and water in our house. I can't tell you what a relief it is that that isn't the case.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful time with your families.

Krista V. said...

Forgot to mention that the sun is shining as I type this. We get a lot of sunshine here in Mesquite, but after six straight days of rain, it means a whole lot more than usual.

Esther Vanderlaan said...

So sorry for you. I'm glad you're safe now.

Red Boot Pearl said...

I'm glad everything's okay! It's amazing how stuff like this really puts things in perspective. Good luck with everything and Merry Christmas!

Abby Minard said...

WOW! I just read this, and then read your update. So glad everyone is okay! What a crazy story! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Suzie F. said...

I'm so glad to read that you're safe and dry.

A very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

lora96 said...

SO glad your family is safe! The rejection bit still sucks but compared to a flood? Wow. Stay warm and safe.

Liesl said...

I know it's not funny, but I laughed, it's just so crazy! I'm sorry! I'm so glad everyone is safe.

Backblaze.com. Online backup that automatically updates every 24 hours. Worry free!

Krista V. said...

Thanks again, everyone, for all your well wishes.

Liesl, thanks for the tip about backblaze.com. I'll have to check it out. And we laughed a few days later, too (although Honey Bear was able to laugh about it a lot sooner than I was).

Erin Edwards said...

I'm just catching up and read about your flood! I hope all continued to stay dry. We live in an area that has lots of flooding, but we are on top of a hill.

As for your rejection, you are right that something like this puts things in perspective, even though it is hard to remember sometimes. I was also a casualty of an agent and editor cleaning out their in-boxes before the holidays. I only say something because it helps to know that I am not alone so I wanted to pass that along!

Krista V. said...

Erin, crazy, huh? And it's good to know I'm not the only one getting rejected:)