I live in northern Colorado, the epicenter of the recent flooding. It has not been fun. Do you remember the scene from Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan is on the boat screaming at the storm? That pretty much epitomizes how I have felt this week. OK, I’m being a little over dramatic, but just a little.
Here is a synopsis of the past 10 days:
Saturday, 9/7: The gutters on my home were in bad shape, so I removed them. Since we live in the high desert of Colorado, I wasn’t in a big hurry to put new ones on. “It probably won’t rain for another month!” Queue the evil laughing and suspenseful music please.
Sunday: I finished digging 11 huge post holes in my yard. These were for a couple decks I’m putting in. After I was done, the yard looked like it had been bombed. There were huge piles of dirt everywhere. Digging post holes is miserable work. I am a computer programmer and have the body to match. I am the “before picture” in one of those GET HUGE!!! ads in the back of men’s magazines. My body ached. (Mrs. 1500 note: I dug half of one of the holes, thank you very much.)
Monday: This is the day it started raining. In one hour, we received more rain than June, July and August combined. With the dirt piles everywhere and no gutter, our yard turned into a muddy mess. To add insult, the rain washed a bunch of dirt back into the post holes. We have a small yard and there was just nowhere to move the dirt. (Mrs. 1500 note: Since Mr. 1500 has a job, it turned into MY job to set up totes to catch the rain that gutters would normally have removed. Then it became my job to remove the water from said totes. Of course, the submersible pump didn’t fit on the garden hose, so I had to bail water out with a bucket and toss around the yard.)
Tuesday: More rain, more mud. I dug out my post holes again in preparation for the building inspector on Thursday. (Mrs. 1500 note: three trips to Home Depot to get the right parts, and now the submersible pump works. Thank God! Now, instead of bailing water with a bucket, I run around in the backyard moving the pump.)
Wednesday: Even more rain. I watched out the window as my post holes filled up again and yelled profanities loudly. It then rained harder. I called off the building inspection. We also bought some gutters and threw them up quickly. (Mrs. 1500 note: It is a blessing in disguise that those old gutters were removed. They would have dumped enormous quantities of water directly behind the house, possibly flooding it, certainly doing something bad to it.)
Thursday: The mud really hit the fan on this day. It rained like mad. At about 3pm, we were told to evacuate the neighborhood. We talked it over with the neighbors and all of us decided to stay. Many of the adjoining roads were not given the order and they were lower than us. Besides, the river would have had to rise another 20′ for us to have been in any danger. (Mrs. 1500 note: I had left the house and crossed the river for what would be the last time over the bridge less than 1000 feet from our house. We went to swimming lessons, and by the time they were over, the river had risen above its banks and all roads across it were flooded and closed. We were less than a mile from home, but had to drive 20 miles south and 15 miles west just to cross the river at a point that had not yet flooded.)
However, we did notice that we could clearly hear the river from our house. Usually, the river is a little creek, 1000′ away. Now it had turned into roaring rapids and was within 500′ of us.
Friday: It actually stopped raining for a bit today. The sun came out and one of our neighbors threw a spontaneous party. Wooo!
Saturday: It hardly rained at all. Was the worst over? I dug out the *&^%ing post holes again.
Sunday: Nope. It rained like mad all day. More dirt washed into my *&^%ing, *&@#, &*%$ post holes. You’re probably wondering why I continued to fight this ridiculous battle. It’s because the rain is my enemy and I couldn’t let it win.
Anyway, we were given another evacuation order which we again ignored. I sat home and watched the Bears beat the Vikings (sorry Buck). I went to take a shower later that evening and found that there was no hot water. The hot water heater is in the crawlspace. Oh rain, don’t let it be true. But it was true. I went down to the crawlspace to check things out and discovered 3 things;
- Bad: The sump pump was not working.
- Worse: There was water everywhere.
- &%$@#!*: Our almost new hot water heater was sitting in a puddle of water. WHEN WILL IT END!!!! Turns out, not quite yet.
Monday: Against all odds, the building inspector showed up and approved our post holes. I was surprised because I thought he would have had better things to do with all of the flood chaos our town had endured. I also rigged the hot water heater to work (don’t ask) until I waited for a new part to arrive.
Tuesday: We moved quickly to get cement poured in the post holes. It was miserable work, but we got 8 of them done. Have you ever carried 66, 80-pound bags of concrete? Again, the computer programmer body just isn’t built for it.
Wednesday: The rain came back again today and kicked me in the nuts again. We had 30 minutes of a really powerful storm. Remember those 3 remaining post holes? I’ll be doing more digging. I also learned that our hot water heater (again, less than 2 years old) is probably headed for the scrap heap. RAIN, I HATE YOU.
Right now, I feel beaten. My back is sore, my arms and shoulders hurt like hell. There is mud everywhere. Nothing is dry.
I started thinking things over though. You have to put events like this in perspective. No matter how bad life is kicking you down, you can always find things to be thankful for.
I have all new friends. The river, which usually cannot be seen from our street, was in plain site when the flooding was going on. The end of our street became a prime viewing area for neighbors to keep an eye on the rising waters. We met all kinds of new people who we have already seen again since the night of the party.
I still have my home. Many folks are camping out now at shelters because their home is in 50,000 pieces down the river somewhere. Even if my home was washed away, I would have had the money to buy another one.
I still have my life. As of now, 8 are dead and many more are unaccounted for. The death toll is going to go up.
Finally, all of this rain told me that I moved to the right place. When the flooding was at its worst, the scene was surreal. People were walking everywhere because roads were shut down or flooded. There were helicopters everywhere. The streets were full of National Guard Humvees. It was nuts.
However, the community came together. On one of our walks, we noticed how a group of neighbors banded together to help put sandbags in front of a home in harm’s way. I checked the town’s Twitter feed and saw that they were asking people not to volunteer. I thought this was odd, but then discovered that so many people had signed up, they just couldn’t use anyone else. People really were going out of their way to help the less fortunate and it was awesome to see.
Rain, I still hate you.
Last Mrs. 1500 note: There was a report on the news yesterday about how people are staying behind in their homes rather than being rescued by helicopters, the ONLY way out of their town, because they want to stay with their pets. This is unbelievable to me. On the one hand, I completely understand wanting to take care of your animals. When you sign on to be a pet owner, you are responsible for that pet, and you must take care of it. If you don’t want to take care of it, then don’t have a pet. On the other hand, you are literally risking your life to take care of said pet, and I don’t think that is really in the contract. I don’t know the specifics, but why aren’t the rescuers offering to bring the animals, too?
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