The Picky Bitch Lives! But Corn Dog has seen better days
Wow, folks, I don’t even know where to start. The summer is proceeding without me. Biking adventures have been on hold for a few weeks, and the ones I did have, I haven’t even been able to post about yet! Here’s what happened:
On June 8, my father passed away after several months of battling the effects of late-stage liver disease. In the midst of planning for his funeral, the City here began talking about possible flooding along the Des Moines River. We live about two blocks from the river and levee system, and our home was severely flooded in 1993. At that time we rebuilt, and trusted the City when they said it would never happen again. As the talk escalated this year into a voluntary evacuation of our area, I stopped sorting through photos of Dad long enough to pack several plastic tubs full of keepsakes, mementos, important papers, etc. into our camper and car. After a couple of days of nervous levee-watching, we sent our daughter and pets to stay with her older sister not too far away.
On Saturday, June 14, one of the permanent levees about six blocks from us washed out. We received a knock on our door at 4 a.m. from the Sheriff’s department, insisting that we leave immediately. We drove out in our packed vehicles, and watched from a couple blocks away while the National Guard tried to build a temporary sandbag wall to save our neighborhood. When this wall gave way and water began rushing over Second Avenue, we knew what the ending would be. We walked away as our daughter called via cell phone and told us, “I’m watching it on TV and I just saw the water reach our house.”
Eventually, we’d discover that our home – a sort of makeshift split-level consisting of two homes butted together and joined by a short interior staircase – had about five feet of water in the master bedroom. It came to just below the countertops in the kitchen. Everything we couldn’t save that was under water was ruined.
Since that day, we’ve been trying to figure out whether to rebuild again or move. The City government has been involved from Day One with myriad rules, inspections and always the promise of a possible buy-out – but we are stalled. The present rules of the buyout would leave us homeless and owing a large chunk to our mortgage company. To rebuild, the City says we must first fix the foundation – estimated to cost at least $32,000.
We do not have the resources to pursue either option, and so we wait. Our family is still apart – Steve and I are living in a camper in the driveway, our daughter is still living with relatives. It has already been one month, but it seems like much longer. The stress of not being able to make progress down either path is overwhelmingly frustrating.
One of the important questions, of course, is “What happened to the Picky Bitch?” Well, she is fine – she was moved to higher ground along with my husband’s bike and our 1959 Ford – and she remains tucked away in a high, dry garage not too far from here. I miss her, and I really think a ride would do me good. Hopefully soon!
For now, my head hurts. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Maybe I can blog a little more about this soon – there is so much to talk about.