Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Stinks

All of our area is a little negative about Spring right now, and I happen to be joining them because it's interfering with so many of my OWN plans. I've never claimed to be a saint, what can I say?

Even those of you NOT from North Dakota in general and the Red River Valley specifically may have heard about the Flood of '97. It was the one that caused the mass evacuation of Grand Forks, and the whole area was declared a disaster zone. Yes, in North Dakota.

Aaron was out sandbagging during that flood, because UND had cancelled classes, and even ended up canceling graduation, which is one reason why neither of us walked through our undergrad ceremonies (we got married the day after mine, on the other side of the state. Wasn't a priority.)

I, however, was in my last semester at Cottey College and looking forward to transferring back home in the fall. While everyone else was all, "What? A flood in North Dakota? That's crazy!" I was crying, "My college is WASHING AWAY!"

That was twelve years ago. Dikes have been built, the flood plain expanded, and homeowner's flood insurance purchased. But we've had an awful lot of snow this winter, and it seems to be melting rapidly under our recent 40 degree weather. Plus, it started raining yesterday, is again, and more precipitation is expected this week - in the frozen or liquid state, we're not sure yet. Noel has done a good job summarizing things at his blog, so I won't try to get too technical.

For us, our main concern is seepage and sewer backup. Aren't those just lovely words? The sump pump should take care of the seepage. We weren't too concerned about the sewage aspect, since there isn't any carpet in the basement, just tile. Until a friend told me today about a Poltergeist-type scene that she experienced, where a 4-foot fountain of sewage came spewing up from their drain. Lovely. Consider our cover installed.

In the middle of the entire area going into emergency mode (the National Guard has been called in, there are police-escorted flatbed trailers hauling sandbags...seriously, it's like living in the middle of a disaster movie!) we are having some non-fun remodeling done on the house. Starting today.

This freakish winter has caused some water damage to our north interior wall upstairs, and the ceiling of that bedroom. It was Ben's room, so he's in with Leah for now - that's a whole 'nother post, folks!

Our buddy at Kallod Construction is fitting us in between other jobs and is replacing the Sheetrock and then finishing the walls for us this week. Aaron keeps saying he could do it himself, but I'm so relieved he's letting others do this project. The man needs a BREAK!

Another side issue for me is that I am directing a youth theater production at church. Our performances are next weekend, and most of my cast has been out this weekend sandbagging, and probably will spend a lot of time at it this week, too. The river is supposed to crest early Friday morning, so that's the deadline - fortunately? I'm having a difficult time with this - make my kids rehearse, or tell them to save their own homes and help others? Obviously there is a clear order of priorities, and it's not my own. But by Sunday what is done will be done.

Also, people have been canceling playgroups and all sorts of other get-togethers so that more hands will be available for sandbagging and keeping an eye on their own houses. That's great and all, but what about us preggos and other folks banned from helping?! What are WE supposed to do? This afternoon I'm watching a friend's little girl so that SHE can go help. I feel a little less guilty. Even though I'd probably get kicked out if I DID try to help - and Aaron said that if I went into labor right now, that would be more of a stressor (somehow!) on our current situation than any flooding would be on it's own.

So at home I sit. This flood is sooo inconvenient.


Blue Castle said...

I've been checking your blog all day, hoping to hear how you guys were doing. I was looking at some of the pictures and it brought back so many bad, bad memories. I hope you guys don't get any damage, and that the dikes hold. I pray it's not as bad as they're predicting.

Noel said...

I looked at your place on the flood map Saturday and it appears to be above 42 feet which, as you noted, should spare your main floor.

On the seepage front, a good practice is to have an automatic battery backed sump in case the power goes out. Famous last words "We were OK until the power went out....". This was especially true during the Big Rain of 2000.

On the sewage front, check if you have a gate or check valve and that they are working. If you don't have those pieces of household anatomy, make sure the floor drains (got any hiding under a fridge as we discovered during the Big Rain of 1994?), toilets, sinks, etc are all appropriately plugged. Finally, valuables should be hauled to the main floor.

I should be updating my blog a bit later tonight....

PS Child care counts in the flood effort!

mattanderin said...

I hate being SO far away for all this! I wish we could be closer and help! But I'd be in the same boat, no sandbagging for me! (which I just found out you're pregnant! Congrats!) I'm sure you're efforts at childcare are a major help for someone else though! You guys are in our prayers!

Erin Castagna

Aaron said...

We're hoping for the best for you and the folks! I'd hate for my family to have soggy houses. Just sit tight and bake something good to eat for the sandbaggers.

The Lovely Wife said...

I will stop complaining about still having snow and mud and muck.
Sounds like no fun to me.
You all will be in my prayers.

Lyz said...

Thanks for all the positive thoughts!

Erin - I talked to your mom this morning - congrats yourself! Boys are delightful.:)

Lovely Wife - Thanks for visiting - I was just thinking about you the other day!