Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy for THIS mess

You have no idea what I've gone through to get to the computer to write this. In the picture below, take note of where the computer is (it's against the green wall, near the window). In between where I stood to take this picture and the computer... are most of the contents of my basement.

Threats of flooding last week sent my husband (and me to some extent, although I was too busy at work to have much time to think about my own house) into a panic. On Monday afternoon, residents of Fox Island, which is a neighborhood right along the river, to the west of us, were evacuated. Two big ice jams on the Missouri River were causing flooding problems along the Missouri for the first time in over 50 years. Many people are still blaming the Corps of Engineers for not shutting off the releases from Garrison Dam sooner (they eventually stopped releasing water altogether, the first time ever) but, although I try to avoid getting into those arguments...I must say, this flooding problem had nothing to do with Garrison Dam. Smaller rivers like the Knife River and the Heart River were already flooding, and those rivers flow into the Missouri, after the dam. At any rate, the ice jams weren't allowing that water to flow downstream. At one point, everyone south of Main Avenue in Bismarck was told to be prepared to evacuate. That includes our home.

Besides the threat of the river to the west, drainage ditches one block south of us and a few blocks east were also flooding. Two trailer parks were evacuated, and many of our neighbors built sandbag dikes around their homes. Brad and a buddy moved most of our stuff up from the basement. I'm a little embarassed at how much stuff we have. Really..we just moved here two years ago. How could we accumulate so much stuff already?

We stayed at Grandpa Kerzman's hotel for three nights, just in case (thankfully, the legislature recessed because of flooding so we had a place to stay and Grandpa took our dogs home for the weekend). Students from three elementary schools were moved to different schools, for fears of flooding. Our school was not evacuated, and our kids were not moved. High school students were excused from class to go sandbag. Everyone was on edge all week. I'm not sure any kid in Bismarck learned anything last week.

But I can tell you, I learned a lot last week.

I learned that it's always good to be preapred. I am thankful to Brad and Ryan for moving our basement contents to the main floor. They will stay there for a few more days, just in case.

I learned how blessed I am to have such wonderful family and friends...Madonna watched our kids extra hours while I worked late and Brad prepared the house, my next door neighbor drove my kids all over town for me while I was stuck at work.

I learned I'm too old to work 12 and 13 hour days. It's taken me all weekend to recover!

And I also learned how awesome this community is. It's amazing how everyone came together to help each other...there were free meals for those impacted by the flood, people whose homes were in danger still reached out to help others, and the list goes on. I am so proud to live here, and so glad we dodged the bullet.

I know this blog could have a much different ending. We were lucky. My heart goes out to those who didn't fare as well and to those in the Red River Valley, where the river has crested, but the threat is not over. My prayers are with them... and so is my husband. Brad was called to help with flood patrol early this morning. He is working with the NDDOT to keep the city of Fargo safe. We're not sure when he will be home, but we are so proud of him for helping.

Meantime... I'm considering leaving my house like this for awhile. I've been wanting to re-do our Trading Spaces family room downstairs. Now that it's empty, it seems like the perfect time. Anyone want to come and paint?

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