Generally speaking a flood damages everything it touches and meanders into the most precious possessions you might have. It can happen as the rains come as they do and flash-flood us, it can slow creep back towards you in the night or it can seep silently into your basement when the stormwater/sewer system fails to do its job and sends brackish waters back at you.
The basement in the LEAD Agency was constructed to deal with water should it come. It is most unusually trenched along the walls so water would flow toward floor drains should water be a thing to enter. Rarely in the years we have been there has this happened. Never in such a way that the trenches failed to be adequate to hold all the water. But sometime over the weekend the water was high enough the empty 5 gallon water jugs stored on the floor became buoyant and floated across the room.
Flood water discovered the containers we held items for our next silent auction and the brand new paper coffee cups we purchased since we do not condone using Styrofoam. The water got into the boxes of Cherokee language books for children we had for children's cultural events we know come around each summer. Water saturated our cardboard boxes, we reuse for projects during the year.
Martin Lively and his brother Alex struggled to make the sump-pump work and it did, but the water kept coming. It kept coming and we knew it was serious. How much and how long would it come? Storm water can rise quickly and drain as quickly. But this time, the system failed and backed water to us. Much like when the river can no longer drain to the lake but turns back on itself to flood our neighbors and our businesses.
The rest of Miami was simply sleeping through our flood. As many times floods are slept through by the general public. This one was ours alone, thank goodness, but no thanks for the experience. Scott Kreeger our landlord called a plumber right away, who assessed the problem quickly and notified the City who sent a team right away to clear out the blockage and stop our singular basement flood caused by the system failure.
Each flood creates stories that need to be told. Each of the stories of how we take on the personal loss of a flood, the way we help a neighbor tear out the sheetrock or offer to store their refrigerator for the duration until it can be plugged back into the house it used to store food.
We would like to record your story. Why? Someone should know how hard and how expensive it is to lose everything you ever had. And how losing your child's favorite stuffed animal to flood water means it can't be made right that time.
How do we learn to love? We learn by the love we feel in those early years of our lives. Those attachments that we feel are real and deep. This teaches us how to love and feel true emotions to the people we know later as adults. Having real lasting attachments even with what may look like toys to a casual observer make us better loving adults in our relationships and with our children.
Who helped you during a flood? What helped? We need to combine this collective knowledge so we can share it with the people who will be the next wave of flooded friends. If the level at Grand Lake is allowed to be raised 2 more feet, we have a host of people who will flood who have not experienced this before.
We need your suggestions. What do they take out first? What do they have ready just in case the water comes up in the night like it might have done for your family? Where did you store your car? Where and how do you find people with pickup trucks and how did you ask for help? and did you wait too long? Where do you get boxes? Which ones hold up better?
It is time to prepare for the next flood. Our soil is saturated and the spring rains begin this week since spring is here now. The dehumidifier is running in the basement and the numbers indicate the moisture is being removed and we may have staved off the mold that can so quickly follow the water.
LEAD Agency is closed officially, but we are still working on-line and ready to listen if you should call or email us with environmental concerns. With time you may have due to the changes we all have made to our formerly scheduled lives, do consider calling to talk about your flood experiences, your suggestions for your as yet un-flooded friends. Your story matters and may be a way for us to express to the powers who open those flood gates how important timing can be.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim