Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Handling a Flood: a Picture Story

This is the story of the '09 Fleming Place flood as experienced by the Bawulskis.

Shawn: "The Kinnessburn is overflowing the banks; it's never quite been this high- close, but not this high. I should go take some pictures. This is really interesting."
Shawn: "Wow, this is really high- its coming up to touch our building. We've heard this happened a few years ago- it got up to the building, then receded, and nothing bad came of it. I'm sure today will be the same sort of thing."
Sara: "Uh... Shawn... its coming up to the door... ...but it probably can't get worse than this."
Shawn: "Hey Sara, come take a picture of me as I walk out in the crazy flood! It'll be fun!"
Shawn: "This is starting to turn from interesting to concerning. I should put plastic bags over the crawlspace vents in case the water gets higher- I'd hate to see our place take on any water."
Shawn: "I'll head up towards the door and put some plastic bags at the bottom to keep water from getting in... ...wow this is getting deep."
Sara (panicked): "SHAWN! The water is coming in under the door!"
Shawn: "The plastic bags really didn't work quite like I'd hoped... but I've managed to block water from coming into the living room, where Sara is... ...the water is mostly flowing into the bathroom... hopefully I'll be able to keep Sara dry in the other room."
Sara: "Well great, now we're going to have to dry out our carpets. That will be annoying. I wonder if we can even sleep here tonight with a slightly damp carpet?"
Sara: "This has gone from a wet rug to inches of standing water. I should probably get the electronics up off the ground."
Shawn: "Water is seriously starting to come up into the bedroom, I should get our stuff up off the ground."
Shawn: "This water is unbelievably cold."
Shawn: "Well, maybe Sara is dryer in the living room... ...I probably should have sent her away before things got this bad... ...but it won't get any worse than this, right?"
Sara: "Piper and I will ride it out here in the living room, we'll be dry in here. This will be a pain to clean up, and we'll need to stay somewhere else tonight."
Sara (several minutes later): "I'll take some pictures to occupy myself, because this is starting to freak me out. We need to get everything high up on top of furniture, gather as much as we can, and get out of here."
Shawn: "Laptops, clothes for a few days, white noise maker so Sara can sleep... ...what else... ...MAN this water is cold..."
Sara: "Poor dog! Just wait Piper, we're coming for you soon, we still need to get more things... ...is that couch floating?"
Sara: "This is ridiculous... ....oh, I need my Hebrew books! Is that the dog's bone floating under the table? This water is knee-deep... ...and so cold..."

Shawn: "Need to grab toiletries... why am I not wearing shoes? Where are my shoes? I think they floated away... ...was that a carp that brushed my leg? No, that's crazy, its just a plastic bag..."

Shawn: "Seriously, that bed is floating."

Shawn: "Well, I've got everything up as high as I can. If this water gets any higher it will all be lost. But we should probably leave soon..."

Piper: "Don't leave me don't leave me don't leave me don't leave me don't leave me don't leave me don't leave me..."

From here, I tripped the circuit breakers and Sara and I headed out through waist deep waters, laden with as much as we could carry, and a dog in a laundry basket held to my chest. We headed to our friend's house, Ian and Corrie, who graciously provided a shower, food, and a dry place to sleep.
A few hours later that evening my friend and I headed back to see the damage and salvage some more things....

The bottom drawer of the freezer was full of water... the chicken nuggets are supposedly in an airtight bag, but do you trust the seal enough to eat them? I certainly do not.
The next day, the Kinnessburn was still moving swiftly but had return to a normal level...
There was quite a bit of mud.

All of the neighbor's rubbish bins somehow floated into our garden...

And the inside of the house was totally trashed.

Our doormat floated down around the corner of the building.
And remarkably, almost all of our possessions stayed dry.

I spent most of the day moving all of our stuff out and into storage. The neighbor above us has offered to let us stay in this flat for at least a few days (it's his holiday home and he's not here). The landlord's insurance guy showed up in the afternoon and dropped this bomb: walls will need to be completely gutted, including the wall studs. Repairs will take at least 4 weeks and possibly up to 3 months or more. We were assured that work will be completed before the baby arrives, but I'm not convinced... ...have you ever heard of a construction project being done on time? Me neither. At least the insurance company foots the bill for our temporary housing, whatever that will be (hope to figure that out tomorrow).

We are safe and healthy, and we lost next to none of our possessions: praise God! Further, the support, care and help from the community of faith has been remarkable. We have at least 6 offers of places to stay, and meals will be provided for us for at least a week! I cannot imagine going through something like this without the loving support of the church- the Lord certainly shows His care and provision through His people.

By all accounts this was a freak event: flooding this severe hasn't happened... well, no one can remember anything like this ever happening. But the lesson is well learned: when the water gets to your door, its probably time to evacuate the pregnant woman.