Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This post was inspired by Mama' Kat's writing prompt: 
Write a post inspired by the word: Flooded
Hurricane Frances, Sept 2004

I was happy to have Labor Day (Sept 6th) plus 5 additional days off.

After 13 months of higher-than-normal rainfall resulting in an already-high water table, on Wed Sept 8th, the remnants of hurricane Frances broke the 1-day rainfall record in our area, filling our basement with 18 inches of water. It was a mess but not devastating. The washer, dryer and water heater still worked. We weren’t sure about our two furnaces as the gas company had turned off the gas. The last 3 days of my “vacation” were used for flood cleanup.

Hurricane Ivan, Sept 2004
Meanwhile, our cat Patches was admitted to the animal hospital with kidney problems and was not expected to survive.

The next Friday (Sept 17th) I was on my way to deliver groceries to my 90-yr-old mother, but I couldn’t drive past flooded roads because hurricane Ivan had arrived, breaking the 1-day rainfall record of the previous week. 

Before the day was over, we had 4 feet of water in the basement. 

I was awarded an unpaid leave-of-absence for the clean up. My husband repaired the dryer. He replaced the motor in the washer and one heating element in the water heater. Luckily he has every tool known to mankind, so we pressure-washed everything in the basement and sucked up the muck with a wet-dry vac. (That makes it sound easy, but we had moved tons of things to the upper floors, and lots of things were soaked or ruined.  It took days to clean up.)

The following Tuesday, I was able to deliver groceries to my mother who lived 45 min. away, but as soon as I entered the house, I smelled gas. The gas company found leaks in her gas lines, furnace, and stove. Our place was such a mess, we couldn’t invite her to stay with us. I bought her a new stove by phone. A relative who lived in her community, arranged for a plumber and furnace installer. Because my mother would be without a stove, furnace, and hot water for several days we ordered Meals on Wheels and borrowed a space heater for her. Luckily the weather stayed warm.

After a week at the vet’s (& a bill of $500) Patches came home. She was not well, but doing okay. 

Two days later Calico, the oldest of our four cats, seemed listless on Friday evening (Sept 24). We planned to call the vet and take her there on Saturday, but she died later that night. She was a stray we had adopted five years earlier. She had been old, had no teeth, but seemed healthy up to that day, and went peacefully in her sleep. We were glad we had saved her from several years of cold winters and dumpster-diving.

I had felt rather nauseous that Fri night. On Sat Sept 25th, the final day of my leave-of-absence I threw up all morning. My doctor directed me to the emergency room. 

For about 36 hours, I threw up fluid as fast as the hospital could pump it into me. I had a urinary-tract and an intestinal infection. I may have ingested microbes during the cleanup. The doctor mentioned that stress probably acerbated my symptoms. The hospital kept me for 2 days and directed me to stay home for another five. I lost my appetite for several weeks. 

Between vacation time, leave-of-absence days, a week off for illness, I worked only a few days in Sept. I could have become accustomed to a schedule like that if it didn’t come with 2 floods, massive cleanups, gas leaks, sick and dying cats, loss of pay, and whatever miserable illness caught me. 

My husband repaired the main furnace. The other furnace needed to be replaced. FEMA arrived and promptly sent a check that covered some, but not all, of our losses. Within a year, the washer, dryer, and water heater died and, sadly, so did Patches. 

Yet, many people in my area lost everything, so I felt fortunate. 

I tried to look at the positive. We got rid of useless stuff from our basement. I lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks and our cat-hair problem was reduced. 

On the other hand, I don’t want to go through another month like that again. EVER!

October 2012: This week there were dire predictions of torrential rains and high winds from hurricane Sandy in our area, but we dodged the bullet.  

DONATE TO VICTIMS OF SANDY: Please go to the American Institute of Philanthropy 
This page tells you how you can help victims of hurricane Sandy and provides links to 9 charities with top ratings (those that spend a large percent of their donations to help those in need, rather than on fundraising and salaries.) 


Ginny Marie said...

What a horrible month! I hope that you never experience a month like that again.

Darcy said...

Oh my goodness - hope you don't ever go through that again.

TMW Hickman said...

Good Lord, you got the trifecta of bad luck in 2004! I hope that events improved after that.

Sorry about your cats...

Jerralea said...

Oh wow, flooded twice in one month! But look how tough you are - you survived all that.

May you never have another month like that.

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom said...

That was a lot to go through in one month. Hope you never see a month like that again.

Azara said...

I'm impressed you can talk about this positively at all. What a dreadful month!

Jennifer said...

Wow. That must have been truly awful.

Carol said...

Hope the sun shines a little brighter in your neck of the woods! Enough of that flooding.