Monday, September 16, 2013

Do Not Ask Me How My Morning Is Going

I think the Sprint guy regretted asking me how my morning was going.  Because so far this morning I had more water flooding my crawlspace and the sump pump breaking and smoke filling my crawlspace and my car still in the shop so I can't get a new one right away and mud being too wet and sink-y for the water draining guys to set up their fans and de-humidifiers to dry out my crawlspace and oh yes my friggn' cell phone doesn't work because the stupid cell signal boosting gizmo you gave me is broken and you are the third Sprint person I've had to explain this to because my cell phone keeps dropping the call because see above.  Which makes talking to the workmen and insurance people not so very easy.  And I had someone from masters agree to come pick me up to go to a workout because I am ridiculously stir crazy and would like just one blessed hour where I don't have to think about flood stuff and the water draining guys were an hour late and arrived about 3 minutes before she did which was just about the time they gave me the news about the broken sump pump and smoke in the crawl space.  And of course dogs going completely off their heads because  - Lady In House!  Work Guy On Deck!  Work Guy In House!  Work Guy In Bright Orange Hazard Jumpsuit Disappearing Into Floor!  Must Alert Entire Neighborhood!!!  In case it isn't obvious I told my swim buddy to go on without me.  I felt bad having her come here to get me but I had no idea those guys would be so late.  Apparently there is horrific traffic on the roads that are open and that's why they were late.  Oh yes, and my idiot asshat neighbors set their sump pump hose to drain in my driveway so now I have an even bigger pond and can't really deal with the 7-8" of gravel/mud on my driveway.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not really.  I am so so lucky in many regards.  First off I had friends to stay with who could take us with our dogs and who lived in a safe place.  Because Wednesday night/Thursday morning - the first storm surge - was a little scary.  We got a reverse 911 call to evacuate at around 1:00 in the morning but the trouble was there was no way to evacuate and no where to evacuate to.  This is the high ground in my neighborhood and as you can see from the mudslide or 'scarps' it was not safe to be on that hillside.

There was 1' of water in my driveway, another 7-8" in my garage, my car was going nowhere.  And even if I could have gotten out the street outside my house was flooded with shin deep water in places, probably deeper in others.  And I had to wade through water above my knees in my front yard to even get to my street.

Water line along fence in my front yard

And I had a fast moving 7-8" deep river covering my back yard.  The flood lines don't look that impressive but it was unnerving to open the back door and see a river approaching.  It came close to the door but thankfully no water came in the house.

Was even deeper on the side of the house that faces the street.  Looks like at least 14".

In the morning I noticed that the neighbor's yard was still a lake (ours had drained) and since our yard drains into theirs and it was raining with more storm surges predicted and we had some friends offer us a place to stay I did the math and decided I didn't want to spend another night.  I was sure we wouldn't be so lucky again what with all the water everywhere and nowhere for it to go and no let up in the rain.  We waited for a lull in the rain and got out.  And we were lucky to get out, so many roads and intersections in my neighborhood were flooded and/or covered in debris.  My street was blocked off at both ends, hazard tape outside my house, but they let us through, told us which roads were o.k. and as soon as we got out of North Boulder were fine all the way to our friend's house.

If it sounds like I'm complaining I'm not.  I came home to the miracle of a dry house.  There had been 2' of water in the crawlspace but it was all drained when we got home.  We did get another inch or so in the evening when it started raining again and we finally realized this project was over our heads and broke down and called in the professionals to pump out the water, spray disinfectant to help prevent mold and dry out the crawlspace.  You know you've made a good decision when you see the workmen putting on bright orange protective body suits and you were planning on wearing your old crappy jeans and a pair of rubber garden gloves.  I don't even own rubber boots because what do I need with rubber boots in a semi-arid climate?  In the 23 years I've lived here I've never noticed the lack of them.  The local hardware store had a sign that said, 'Rubber Boot Line'.  There was no line and barely any rubber boots by the time we got to town, I can only imagine what that frenzy was like.

Anyway given all the incredible devastation, loss of life, loss of infrastructure, people who are still cut off in Lyons and the mountains, people who are now homeless, I can only feel lucky that I got off so lightly.  Neighbors' houses on both sides of me and across the street were trashed, sewage flowing up from toilets, water on their first floors.  I'm not sure how I dodged that bullet but I feel so very very grateful and so very very bad for all the people still stranded, homeless, etc.  I'm in the flight pattern for the National Guard helicopters, the steady noise and vibration of them flying right over my house all day long yesterday was a constant reminder of how lucky I am and how tragic this is for so many.  The helicopters have been more sporadic today, not because the need has abated but rather because the cloud cover is preventing them from flying.

This is Linden St. yesterday.

 It looked a lot worse during the height of the flood, in fact you couldn't see it at all, it was a fast moving river.  If you were watching the news you probably saw it because it's the road the teenagers died on.  I wasn't being morbid coming here, it just happens to be in my neighborhood and we took the dog for his walk up there.  My friend lives at the top of this road and I'm a little worried about her.  She hasn't returned my calls from yesterday but it's possible that she still has no power and her cell is dead.  The street is still closed, it's a steep, winding road that has major damage, but she ran down and up it a couple of days ago so maybe she made her way out or is up there and is o.k.

I don't have any dramatic photos.  I'm not a fan of taking pictures of disasters as they're unfolding and I'm in the middle of them.  There was a lot of footage of my neighborhood on the news, Four Mile Creek runs through here and I could probably still get some good photos but can't be bothered, so many more dramatic photos and video floating around.  This is the best I can do, Four Mile Creek running very high a couple of days after the big storm surges.  At some point it was flowing over the road and they were showing this intersection on the news.

I think the road might be washed out at this bridge and it's a main road to get out of my neighborhood but again I'm not seriously going to bitch about this in light of the devastation around me.

All roads to the mountains are destroyed and closed to all traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, etc.  Going to be a long long time before we'll be able to get in the mountains again or before those folks will be able to get down.  I've seen some of the pictures and the extent of the damage is hard to fathom.  I've always resisted the temptation to live in the mountains due to the fire danger but I never in a million years imagined we'd have a flood bad enough to destroy every single road.  And poor Lyons, I love that town, we did consider living there though not near the river, that always made me nervous, and I never imagined it could get completely cut off.  I did framing inspections for a lot of the houses in a subdivision next to the river that is cut off from the main town.  There's only one bridge (now destroyed) over the river to that subdivision and every time I drove over it I thought about what would happen to these folks if the river flooded.  But I never imagined the whole town could get cut off.  It's surreal.

Ah well, the sun is finally, sort of out.  Tomorrow should be even warmer and drier.  One thing I have to say, I'm touched by all the people who have offered us help with clean up, places to stay, loans of pumps and fans, etc.  I've had people from the agility world, my masters swim group, even my boot camp instructor offered to come help pull up carpet if I needed it.  While I was shoveling gravel on Saturday I had one lady pull up in her car and offer me a free lunch and a family came around handing out home made cookies. And I loved this sign on my neighbor's lawn.

And I will never ever take for granted the ability to flush my toilet.


  1. I think I rode through your neighborhood last weekend, before all this shit hit the fan. I'm glad you are all OK and safe and dry. It's unbelievable how crazy this all was.

  2. Watching videos and seeing photos on the web of all this was stunning. I can only hope that the government finds ways to expedite the repairs, as it has done after earthquakes and floods here in CA. (Of course, sitting thru the fed gov't shut down now doesn't give me tons of hope. Still--maybe--)