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.)