The Picky Bitch Lives! But Corn Dog has seen better days

by on July 18, 2008
in Blowing a Gasket

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.

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9 Responses to “The Picky Bitch Lives! But Corn Dog has seen better days”
  1. Wow Janet…you’ve really been through it. I think about you everyday and wonder how you are doing! If you ever need anything let me know! You are in my thoughts Girl! Keep your chin up…I promise there are better times ahead.

    Stephanie aka Iowaharleygirls last blog post..An Interview with Jasmine Cain of the Jasmine Cain Band

  2. Wendy says:

    Oh Janet,

    What a mess. I’m so glad all of you are safe. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. Do you mind if I post about this on WWR so everyone there can send support? That is unless you’re planning to do it. That would be best. I’m sure everyone has been wondering how you’re doing. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Janet}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  3. Stephanie, thank you so much for thinking of us – we are okay, just very discouraged and not sure whether we are staying or going. We finally went ahead and restored our internet service (LOL – priorities y’know!) but we are still in the camper. The city keeps saying, “don’t rebuild til you hear from us with more help…” or “don’t move til you hear from us on the buyout…” but to be honest, I think we are going to have to proceed without them. School will be starting soon and my daughter needs a little more stability than just a camper!

    Wendy – you are welcome to post on WWR but I haven’t been on there for several months. Folks may not remember who I am! LOL

    Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers! More soon….

  4. Lee says:

    Hey Girl! I know life is busy and frustrating right now. Keep me posted on how you are all doing, OK? Miss you and hope to see your smile soon!

  5. I’ve been wondering where you have been. I guess “no new is good news” was dead wrong in this case. Sorry to hear about everything. Hang in there, it’s got to get better soon.

    Mrs Road Captains last blog post..Our West Virginia Pictures and Video

  6. Lee, thanks for stopping by – we are fine, just frustrated and tired of living in this @#$ camper! LOL I swear I don’t know how I am ever going to handle “empty nest syndrome,” I can’t stand having my daughter away from the household!

    Mrs., no, in this case “no news” WAS the bad news! :) Thanks for thinking of us, it was great of you to keep reading even though I have been absent for awhile!

    ~ Janet

  7. Sorry to hear about everything that’s going on! I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you in hoping that things get better soon!

  8. Becky says:

    I had missed you and knew something was up. So sorry to hear about you recent misfortunes and your dad passing away. I’m sure things will look up from here on out. Life goes in cycles and you’ve had your share of bad, now its time for some good again. I’ll be thinking about you and watching for more updates. Thanks for keeping us informed.


  9. Liz and Becky, thanks to both of you for the well-wishes… it can ONLY get better from here, and I am ready! :) More soon… ~ Janet

    Janet (Biker Chick)s last blog post..East Village Bike Night is July 25

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