After a crazy week of doctor's appointments, Jamie starting kindergarten, Clare's echo, and my ultrasound, we ended our week (or so we thought) with a car accident on Friday. I had all three kids in the car with me, and everyone is okay, but our car was pretty damaged. I was on the highway when a tire came flying out of nowhere and hit the front of my car. You would be surprised how much damage a tire can do when you are going 65 mph on the highway! It caved in the front of my vehicle, which died immediately. I was able to cruise over to the side of the road safely. Our guardian angels were definitely looking out for us that day. So far, the insurance company thinks it is repairable, but we are waiting on whether the body shop agrees or not. We do not need a totaled car right now!
At around 2:30am on Sunday morning, we were awakened by fire trucks in our street. When Shawn went outside to check out what was going on, he was shocked to discover that our street had been literally turned into a river overnight, thanks to Tropical Storm Hanna which pelted our city with reports of up to 6" of rain! We took some great photos and videos, but our main computer is not functional (I am on Shawn's work laptop right now), so we will have to share when we are up and running again). We live on a dead end cul-de-sac and, at the end of the cul-de-sac, is a little pond. There is still a lot of debate of what exactly happened, but right now, we understand that there was some negligence in maintaining a dam at the far end of the pond (to prevent the overflow to run off on the highway). When the torrential rains hit, the water had nowhere to go, but to turn our street into a river. We were blessed in that we are on the high side of the street. The backyards of the houses on the opposite side of the street were literally the new pond. Many of our neighbors have lost their houses completely.
Shawn checked our basement before we went back to bed around 4am on Sunday morning, and thankfully we were dry. When we woke up a couple hours later, we discovered a flood in our basement. Over the next couple of days, everything has snowballed. Our water was shut off, we could not leave our neighborhood (unless you were walking wearing high waders), and everything was chaos. We truly were in a disaster zone. The city has been great so far - providing port-a-potties on our street (which has been so much fun for the pregnant lady who uses them four times an hour!) and even a portable shower unit parked right in front of our house. The fire department, environmental services, and Department of Transportation has been working overtime pumping water out of basements and off the street. Currently we are at a point where the majority of the street is finally dry (except for right near where the pond should be), we have limited water (can flush our toilets, but only a couple times a day - still no showers, washing machines, dishwashers), and have entered the clean-up stage of the process.
Like I said, we are lucky compared to some of our neighbors, but even we have lost a good portion of our basement. Our basement was three-quarters finished, so we lost all our carpeting, drywall, even ceiling tiles. The Health Department has come through every house, since our street is hooked into a pumping station in relation to the pond. Therefore, some of the water on the street and in the houses was sewage water. Anything (other than plastic, metal, that kind of stuff) that came in contact with the water has to be disposed of. We had many items (such as the majority of the kids' toys) in the basement that were up high so have been saved (and, thank God, all my scrapbooking stuff was saved as well as most of Shawn's office equipment). We've lost some big household items, like our baby swing, mattresses stored in the basement, anything cloth like that. The bulk of our damages lies in having to gut our basement and start over.
We are "treading water" right now! Jamie and Clare are still going to school, and we are trying to lead as normal a life as possible for their sakes. We are not near any of our family (who have all been worried about us and we talk daily), but have some really great sets of friends who have watched the kids for a few hours, invited us over for dinner, and let us bathe the kids at their house. I spent last evening at the laundromat catching up on some laundry to get us through the next couple of days. Our small neighborhood community of about ten houses have really come together through this. One of our neighbors owns a construction company, and a crew of his guys are spending an hour at every house today doing whatever needs to be done, free of charge. We have chosen to have them spend their time at our house ripping out the rest of our drywall. Shawn and I hauled our carpet and pad out over the last two days, which was a grueling job, so it will be a big help to have aid in removing the drywall.
We may be somewhat stinky, a little on edge, and living on paper plates, but at least we are together in our home!