Thursday, January 2, 2014

WHY THE SILENCE?


In case you wondered why I suddenly went silent on December 22—no further Advent posts, no Merry Christmas or happy New Year wishes—the above image is the reason. The inevitable happened…we got a bit of water in the cottage, as anyone who chooses to live so close to a river must expect.

Not a lot, mind you. Only an inch in the worst place and none in this front room which you see pictured. But still, enough that all the carpet, pads, and hardwood floors had to come out. The sorta good news is that we'll get to redo things to our liking—stuff we've intended changing since we moved in here seven years ago. The sorta bad news is that it will take months to get it done.

What got us was not the amount of water coming down the river in the photo, but the fact the larger river this stream flows into, about eight miles below where we're located, was at a 55 year high—spread out onto its floodplain, moving slower. Thus "our" river discharged more slowly into that one, allowing for a higher-than-normal rise here. When measured at the gauge a mile upstream, we frequently have higher readings. We didn't think we'd have any problems from this particular rise.

Wrong. Though it took a while to figure this out. One thing about this sort of flooding, it happens slowly. Very slowly. Like a quarter inch per hour. You pick a spot to watch outside—a rock or tree—and check it every so often as the water sneaks up.   

Sunday afternoon the Internet went out. I thought it was due to water, but it turns out a tree feel up the road and took out a feed line. Sunday evening I called Dale, a longtime friend who owns a big box truck with a power lift. Dale came over straightaway. We loaded my piano and a few pieces of furniture, mostly handmade keepsakes, plus a trunkful of family photos. The irreplaceable stuff. Monday, Myladylove and I along with our truly wonderful neighbors, Mike and Melanie, put a couple thousands books on board. Nothing you can ever acquire in life will beat such friends and neighbors—folks who come running to help no matter the hour or the need.  

Monday evening, Myladylove and I packed up a few clothes, Moon-the-Dog's bed, and bailed…having accepted Dale's offer to stay with him for as long as needed. Dale lives a half-hour away, across town, in a 3800 square-foot home he shares with a pair of huge, shaggy Bouvier des Flandres mutts. The Bouviers initially intimidated Moon. But they soon proved lovably friendly, and quickly accepted her as a welcome refugee. And Moon is delighted by their doggy door which allows "at will" access to the sprawling, fenced-in back yard.

We've been running back and forth ever since—pulling up carpets and flooring materials, setting fans to dry things out, etc. Myladylove has had to go to work, of course, other than a half-day before Christmas and New Year and the two actual holiday days. I finally got my Mac up and running here at Dale's place. Christmas was a bust—though memorable by its absence. New Year's too, though I did sauté a nice dish of shrimp which we all enjoyed. 

The house is still a mess—but more from our piling stuff around than the water. Other than the floors, there's not too much damage. We'll have to replace lower cabinets in the kitchen (we planned on doing this anyway) and install a new water heater (also something we'd planned) but that's about it so far as I can tell. We have flood insurance, though I don't know yet how much they'll cover. But all in all, other than the mess and work ahead, quite possibly this will prove a blessing in disguise since we'll get to do many things we'd already planned. 

With luck, we'll be back in the cottage this weekend. Living on concrete floors and at a level of functioning only slightly above camping, but home. Dale will have to go back to cooking his own suppers, and Moon will have to give up the freedom of a doggy door. I'll post and answer comments as I can. 

Bottom line: we're fine. Life is good. And when all is said and done, these past few days have likely proven more blessing than disaster. It has sure been an adventure.

(P.S. I will post and answer any unanswered comments…just not right now.) 

26 comments:

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - I am so happy to "see" you. ANd the picture is amazing. I so love that red door despite it being so close o the waters edge. I so love your approach to this unsettling upheaval in your life. You remind me that complaining is useless and a waste of valuable time and energy better spent on the resolve. And how wonderful that you have great friends and neighbors that came to your aid during this time. Such a blessing.
I know you mentioned flood insurance. WHenwe had water damage the insurance paid for a team to come out and dry our entire first floor and clean and disinfect it too. They also would have paid for lodging. Might be worth it to read the fine print on your policy.
I love tht you were able tosave your pictures and books and family treasures. Phew and that you and Becky and Moon are all safe and sound. I will continue to send payers and all good thoughts.
Love Gail
peace....

Bonnie said...

Oh my - you have had an 'adventure' to say the least!! Glad you are able to place it all in the most positive light. Thank goodness for perspective.

All the best as you bring your life and decor back to normal - and, as you say, even better than normal!

No doubt 2014 can only get better!!!

Carolyn H said...

Grizz: Wow! i'm glad you're okay. It doesn't take much water to make a very thorough mess, which you have discovered. I sure hope you can get back in without incident or delay. Take care. And yes, you have some good neighbors!

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness. Glad you're safe and sound. Sorry for the destruction and all the work you have ahead of you to restore. Thank goodness the entire house wasn't flooded. Good luck and happy thoughts to you!

George said...

So sorry about your troubles, Grizz, but I must say your positive attitude is inspirational. One of the great things about living on the water (I've been there) is that one is constantly reminded of the impermanence of things. That reminder, in turn, compels us to be grateful for everything and live life in the moment.

Happy New Year. May your troubles turn into blessings, as you expect.

Kathy said...

most homes can be raised a foot or two.

Penny said...

Looks interesting, I had wondered where you had gone but this time of the year is so hectic. I am never quite sure what is worse, fire or flood, but at least yours was slow, just a b.... having to camp and take so long to re do. Apart from that I hope 2014 is good to you.

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, gosh! I feel for you, Grizz. It's admirable you're being so positive.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Hey, though we were pretty sure water damage would prove minimal…still, you save what's truly important first. Good friends/neighbors are invaluable—not because of whatever they might do for you, but because life's riches really come down to people you care about you. And you, in turn, must care about them. That's really what it's all about. Caring.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Yup, we're fine. This is just one of those little bumps in the road. Nothing serious. We'll get past it and move onto the next crisis/adventure. Reality is attitude and perception, right?

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn H…

You're right…a little water goes a long way! We had a lot of carpet. The pad sucks up every drop and wicks it everywhere. Wood floors warp. So right now, we're on bare concrete, looking at replacing every room in the house. Gonna be awhile…

Grizz………… said...

Kelly…

Nahhh, we're fine. Exhausted, and not exactly overjoyed about the work ahead, but okay. And nothing important was lost. We knew moving here there was a risk—and if this is the worst we see, a cheap price to pay for all the location's many attributes.

Grizz………… said...

George…

Life isn't stuff, nor is it history or future—it's the here and now, the moment, wherein our wealth and any genuine success is measured by how we use that brief, tenuous, ephemeral span. I truly believe we choose how to view things, and that too often, we focus only on the negative. We fashion our own reality, and it's easy to settle on the wrong side of the equation, missing an opportunity or blessing. Life isn't always going to go our way…but that can be a good thing if we don't waste time wring our hands and feeling sorry for ourselves. That's where I'm at—not trying to be noble, just positive and smart, to see the good that can so easily come from this and to aim my energy into making that happen.

Grizz………… said...

Kathy…

You're right, but not this particular home. Our cottage is built of stone—not merely a stone façade, but stone walls, two layers, 17-18 thick in many walls. No chance of lifting and raising the foundation.

Grizz………… said...

Penny…

Hey, every man needs a hobby! Guess I've found a new one for awhile. Going to be an adventure for sure.

Grizz………… said...

Solitary…

Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts. But, really, it could easily have been SO MUCH worse given the books and prints and easily-damaged stuff. Or just that little detail of not having a handy friend with the perfect truck and a willing-to-help attitude I could call in the middle of the night. I don't feel very admirable…but whining and cursing and wringing my hands is not going to help. Dang it! That would be so much easier. Anyway, all that's left is to suck it up, put it right, and move on—the cowboy way. Yee-ha!

Rowan said...

Sorry to hear of your problems with the river Grizz, do hope the insurance pays out in full. How lucky that you have good friends and neighbours who will rally round when needed. People like that are indeed worth their weight in gold.Good that you can see the silver lining to the clouds too:)

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

We knew going in this might happen. The insurance should pay for most repairs, though I'm going to do the work because I know what I want and how I want it done. It will take longer, but be better in the end. Good neighbors and good friends are treasures, indeed. We can never have too many of either.

KGMom said...

Oh, Scribe--so sorry. We live near the Susquehanna River and have friends who have been flooded out several times. The joy of living along a river always draws them back.
Here's wishing for you this new year, a resuscitated house, a dry place--and no more floods for 100 years.

giggles said...

I've been wondering..... Glad to know you are all safe and with minimal damage to hearth and home. Love that you're so positive about it all.... Happy new year!

Brenda said...

Hi Grizz,
What a relief that you have such wonderful friends close by that could help you out and assist in removing the most important things. I can only imagine what a mess you'll have on your hands for awhile, but you seem to have a strong take(and appreciate)-life-one-day-at-a-time attitude. The closest I've ever lived to a river was in Ohio as a child. A "crick" (which was the size of a river) ran behind the house behind us and it would sometimes flood, almost reaching our property. I'm sure it created similar havoc for our neighbors that you're experiencing now. Onward and upward into a Happy 2014!

Debbie said...

So sorry to hear about your flooding.I'm happy to hear a good tone from you and to hear that it can be repaired. We all hate inconvenience, but your attitude is better than many. Our problem one year was a major infestation of termites. Out of this we got a beautiful new bathroom and larger laundry room. We paid and did all the work, but we are still enjoying the fruits. I so hope all goes well and you are able to get your house settled again in good time. Oh, the value of good friends! Put it back the way you want it! :D

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

A genuine River Rat is one willing to pay the price of admission. Sounds like your Susquehanna friends also understand the terms of the deal.

Was good to hear from you. Thank you.

Grizz………… said...

Giggles…

This isn't going to be fun or easy, but I refuse to cop a defeatist attitude. Life happens. You gotta deal with it.

Grizz………… said...

Brenda…

Yup, these "cricks" can up and come a'visitin' sometimes. But in all fairness, this happened because of a most unusual set of circumstances. Still, it is A RIVER, RIGHT OUT THERE AT THE EDGE OF THE YARD!

Grizz………… said...

Debbie…

a little water in the hallway, a few bugs chewing down your walls…it could easily be so much worse, and is, for lots of folks, every single day. This is just work and inconvenience. A blessing of protection and minimization.