Laundry and clean-up

Pat and I are looking forward to football today. Some normalcy and good ole fashioned head banging. I don’t even know where to start today except with breakfast and coffee and laundry. I still feel extremely tired and can’t imagine what those people who lost everything are feeling. But it is just stuff and people rebuilt and the most damaged parts will dry out, the roads will be cleaned, the futons frames displaced and carried through people’s front doors will be gathered.

We heard yesterday that the river house we thought had washed away was still standing. The deck anchored it. It was just completely submerged under water and no one could see it. I’ve been trying to imagine how much water it would take to cover the trailers and I can’t make sense of it. It was always the river, the bank, a small hill, 50 yards of lush lawn, a deck with 20 or so steps leading up to another hill where the trailer sat. But the water didn’t stop there. It rose another 12 feet or so to cover the trailer, kept flooding up another hill and stopped near some railroad tracks. I can’t picture such a mass when I (a 5’6″ female) was once walking across the entire river from bank to bank.

It was the levee, but more importantly the flood gates barged across the bridge that saved us. Officials said the water was 9 feet high even on the gates. There were a few horrifying hours where the seals broke under so much pressure, water gushed through the cracks, the gates vibrated and the sounds of metal on concrete could only mean oneĀ  thing – that they were failing and about to buckle. Crews worked feverishly to sandbag. Purchasing tractors and back hoes to lay down rock and sediment. They said if the gates hadn’t held there would have been a 12 foot wave of water.

“We would have all lost our jobs,” Pat and our friends echoed.

We have two friends with neighboring houses on River Street. I don’t have to tell you how close it sits. But their houses were protected by the levee and only had a couple inches of ground water in their basement. They told us when they walked to the top of the levee, the river still dangerously high, but receding, they noticed the mud line only mere inches from cresting. You could have leaned over and touched it, one said. “Boop” with your finger.

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2 Responses to Laundry and clean-up

  1. What is there to say but, Whew. To be so close…we once went through a “forest” though it was brush, not too many trees, fire that claimed more than 100 houses and finally forced us to evacuate…even when safe and fine, nothing is ever quite the same. Rest, play, rest more. So grateful for your report. xo

    • rachvb says:

      It’s strange coming back to work. We are all reliving our stories and so many people I work with were here all weekend and bleary-eyed, but they are still here. In the past 3 weeks we’ve had an earthquake, a hurricane and a flood! What a month. We’ll all get back to our routines (most of us). There was a man I work with who lost his house. I’m grateful to be on the other side. Hoping for a smooth rest of September…
      xoxo

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