The last few days quickly turned from riding along in a train of naive, selfish regularity to rather suddenly floating in a shaky, slow boat of uncertainty and heartache for those around me. Nevertheless, the boat isn’t leaking. I can’t say the same for friends and family.
Central New York has had plenty of rain lately. It was actually not enough for me to really think much other than the fact that I wasn’t getting out of the house much. But, apparently the daily drizzles here and there were starting to wreak havoc on small tributaries, creeks, and rivers in the area. Strangely, when I woke up throughout the night Thursday, I didn’t notice once that it was raining outside, let alone that anything was amiss.
So, as I was putting the baby back in his crib after his 5:30 feeding, I heard my phone receive a text. A former student was wondering how to get in contact with Dave’s news station to report damage from flooding.
I felt badly that I had little information for her, knowing that a) the place would be bare-bones, b) Dave was off for the day (that didn’t last) and c) unfortunately, the news folks couldn’t do much to help; they’re not the support services, they’re the ones who report what’s going on.
Regardless, I realized that something serious was happening. The weather wasn’t at all serious; I almost think there was zero rain by this point. It was calm outside our windows, and birds were going about their noisy business. As I turned on the morning news and the seriousness of the flooding started to hit me, I found myself walking around the house quickly, turning around, texting, turning back upstairs, pacing, going back to the TV…aimless. From the tiny city in which my brother and his family lives to my sister’s Utica suburb, from my hometown to the tiny rural hamlets of a school I used to love working for, from my current town to where my current school is, from my grandmother and uncle’s town and further east, things were insane.
We. Were. So. Lucky. Minimal to no water in my siblings’ basements (we were bone dry, thanks to some new drain gutters and the insane idea that we’re some of the very few neighborhoods completely untouched by the upward-moving water), my mom was on top of her water situation (though without power), and everyone seemed to be accounted for. But then the pictures, video and first-hand accounts started pouring in (no pun intended).
A sweet couple from the theater would have their power and gas turned off and basement pumped twice (and counting?), in a terrible area. My uncle’s basement was filled, along with his 100+ year old church’s basement (the large area for wedding receptions, baptism shindigs (it’s where we had Hadley’s) and other church get-togethers, the library and gym for students, his office, the large kitchen area and appliances, and I believe the boiler, etc). That 5:30 texting student’s house would be deemed unlivable.
We would later find that two women went missing in separate incidents (one is presumed dead; the other is still being searched for, so fingers crossed!), so everyone seemed to be counting their blessings. It always impresses me how the majority of the people in the area are able to joke or at least shrug and “keep calm and carry on” (maybe “keep calm and pump on” or “keep calm and shovel (mud) on” would be more appropriate) in the depths of adversity. Of course, reports of folks being charged for picking through garbage on the streets and looting open homes is beyond sickening, but for the most part the positives outweigh the morons.
That being said, we’re expecting buckets of rain today/tonight/Wednesday/etc. I’ve been in our basement moving stuff around in case we do get some water, but ultimately have realized that we’ve got lots to do down there. We’ve got a lot of stuff and I pretty much will need someone to watch the Hadman while Dave and I shuffle stuff around (same goes for our garage). That’s my lesson in this situation. Sure, we’ve wanted to simplify and purge for awhile, but seeing so many years of people’s memories and lives on the street curb covered in god-knows-what brings it home (literally). I’ve gotta learn from this situation. Sure, it may be a 100-year-flood…but we had a comparable one in 2006…so, who’s to say when it’ll hit again?
We’re just hoping and praying that the next flooding takes years, not days (or hours) to return. Our tears and hearts go out to all of the victims! The Mohawk Valley has earned its wings this year.