January 2013 is over today – Turn the Page

The first 31 days have come and gone – yeah I know, I’ve technically got 9 and 1/2 hours left in my time zone, but I’m going to GIVE that away right now.  January has been such a wild roller coaster, and I wanna get off the ride!

Rain, flooding, snow, then summer weather, then more ice and snow…. boon-docking while the mothership gets repaired, more snow…. but at least I found a steady, great paying job with awesome benefits – I start Monday, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Now that we both work in this area, we need to find a more permanent living situation.  I am so tired of camping out at the dealership… waiting for our home to be dried out completely, fixed, and liveable. Dunkin Donuts though, has been very sweet (you can have the pun, I don’t need the calories), and letting us use their internet WiFi everyday.  And the dealership has been equally kind.  They know we were flooded out and have no where to go at this point.  They said we could stay as long as we needed to stay.  The Mom in me wants to bake them a batch of homemade cookies.

Tomorrow, February begins. Let’s hope it brings us a permanent address. At least, something without an adjacent river 😉 I’ll leave this with a little Bob Seger. It’s how I feel about January, 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khH9ih2XJg

Advertisements

Little updates and reflections

I’m sorry for the silence the past week.  We’ve been getting the trailer repaired, which means we’ve been parked at the non-wifi-carrying RV campground adjacent to the repair shop 🙂  I’m sitting here at the Dunkin Donuts nearby, that has free wifi, and good coffee, bless their hearts. 

Staying here has given us time to regroup and think about moving elsewhere. Where to park our trailer home after its fixed.  No where next to a body of water – that’s my only condition.  We could both live the rest of our lives and never see a river again, and be perfectly happy about it. 

Friday we had a little treat. It rained ICE all day, so the world was “closed”, and we were forced to stay inside. That was the sweetest retreat. We used that time to drink hot chocolate, watch movies, and snuggle all day. We needed that! It was like a mini-honeymoon. 

It’s funny how God provides the weirdest little moments to heal the soul.

 

Healing through the camera lens

Since January 14th, I’ve been going through cycles of feeling stuck, and feeling happy to be alive.  Part of me is still in that river.  I don’t know what part that is quite yet…. Adam feels the same way.  I can see it in his eyes. He’s got that same drawn out look.  We’re waiting for whatever happens next, and at the same time, we’re not wasting a single moment – because we know how fast life and everything in it can be taken from you.

Through the last week, we’ve been witness to some amazing and spontaneous acts of grace.  A few people have gone out of their way to make sure we had what we needed not only to replace what was lost, but to make us feel safe and secure, and loved.  Our friends in another county, some sixty miles from us, welcomed us into their home and fed us, gave us clothes and shoes. The Red Cross dispatched someone to us from a hundred miles away, just to make sure we had enough food, gas, propane, clothing, and shelter.  Someone 250 miles away offered to help Adam replace any music or recording equipment we lost in the flood.  It’s been surreal.

Another thing I’ve realized as we have watched all of this unfold, is that for some reason, people who have close to nothing are more willing to give you (literally) the clothes off their backs than rich people are. Rich people tend to look at you with apprehension, not knowing what to say or how to act.  Just an FYI thing – for anyone out there who maybe in a position to help others who are in dire straights, the people who need help after a natural disaster, or something along those lines, won’t have the strength to even ask for it. When we were flooded out of our home and had only minutes to decide what to grab before we dove in the water, the future was the last thing on our minds.  Your numb after an event like that, and time stops for days. This was what amazed me the most. When we were unable to think or move, or know what to do next, that was when our truest friends, and the emergency services of the Red Cross, jumped in with us – and dragged us out, giving us hope and direction.

While we were retreating from the soaked earth, we stayed with our friends sixty miles away.  Their home, also known as Sunshine Stables, is a place filled wall to wall, and acre to acre, with love.  Even their animals love you, which is a simple reflection of the hearts of their “people”.  The beauty and the vibes of the place inspired me to start taking pictures.  Adam was up for it, so we started inside the house and made our way out to the barn.

roughcowboy_zps7471050d barnhotness_zps8ee1a871 hotamber_zps0f21f7fe imagejpeg_2-4_zps7cbf9d64 omghotchapspic_zps2463d4a0

rooftop_zpsfce1f5d7

If there’s one lesson we can walk away from this with, it’s that you can be gone before you have time to blink.

So live it now, and love it.

Before and After

The water has dried up now. I was cleaning up the house last night, so we could move back in, and as I was sorting through clothes, I happened to look up at our family photo on the entertainment center.  It was taken in August of 2011.  426646_3437833467732_1406520389_nWe had just been reunited after 20 years apart, and we were as giddy as we were when we were together as teenagers. Looking back now, it seems that we were so naive and innocent when it was taken. Oh, what a difference a little time can make!

This was taken on Saturday, 5 days after we survived the rising of the Little Pigeon River. imagejpeg_2-4_zps78983a94The look says it all!

BRING IT.

Recovering

It’s been 5 days since our trailer tried to become a houseboat.  It’s a good thing no one asked me what day it was last week, cause neither Adam or me could’ve said “Oh, its Thursday,” or tell you the actual date. Both of us realized that life didn’t stop for us, on Friday around supper time.  Maybe thats because by that time, the water had receded, and we had taken stock of some of the damage, seen the losses of our neighbors, been helped by the Red Cross, and had contacted the insurance agency. We told them about what happened (of course they didn’t send out an assessor, so that phone call was pointless). Maybe its because we retreated to the home of our good friends about 60 miles away. They invited us to stay the whole weekend. There’s no better place to find yourself. I don’t know how we will ever repay them. They even gave us clothes, boots, everything we could’ve needed and then some, to replace what we lost.

Tomorrow Adam goes back to work.  I’m sure he will see everything as different. Nothing’s changed inside his place of work, but Adam’s viewpoint has changed. He works with a small group of very good people. I remember when Adam was stranded in the water that night, I called his boss at around 6:30 am to tell her he wouldn’t be at work, and why, and she was there within a few minutes. She couldn’t do anything to help him of course, but that didn’t matter.  It meant a lot just to know she wanted to do all she could. Some times all you can do is be there for someone else, and believe me, when the chips are down, thats enough.

We’re just kind of in limbo right now.  We’re taking one day at a time. I’ll be contacting the trailer dealership and updating them with everything that happened, and asking them, “What do we do next?”  Will the insurance write it off as a loss and cut a check to pay off the bank, or pay for the repairs?  There’s no way the insurance company will give us enough money to pay off the loan we have for the trailer AND pay for us to replace it.  If its totaled out, we are homeless.

Whatever happens, it isn’t worth worrying ourselves sick over.  We survived a natural disaster. It puts things into perspective…. some things feel a lot less intimidating than they did before.

Roll, Black Water…..

cropped-cropped-dsci0366

Little Pigeon River, on a beautiful winter day not too long ago…

A new day changes everything.

Last night, we went to sleep to the patter-patter of raindrops on the roof.  The sky was blanketed with clouds, as heavy and ominous as any storm in a Stephen King novel.  The rain kept coming, but we didn’t think anything of it.  I mean, when you get down to it, it really wasn’t like any other major rain storm. Only difference for us was, two months ago, we moved to a place 20 feet from the shore of a river.

We got ready for bed.  We shared our normal routine. Watching a show on TV, sharing the goings on of our lives.  We both vented our stresses. Adam played a song.  I played a round of Facebook games.  I got in my PJ’s.  Neither of us wanted to lie down yet, and it was getting really late. It was 11 p.m. when we finally gave in to sleep.  11:05 the phone rang.  The campground caretaker was calling to say the river was rising. We needed to evacuate.

We had about an hour, she said, before the water was at our door.  Adam told me to stay inside, and he went out in the cold, in the water, which was up to his calves, and began the process of moving both of cars to higher ground.  Then he got the trailer ready to be hitched to the truck.  It had only been about half an hour, and he was hip-deep in the icy cold river.  The water was here.  It was rising much faster than expected.  The hitch was completely submersed by the time he could back the truck into it.    Adam kept trying until after he couldn’t feel his hands.  His legs and feet had been numb for a while.

He came inside and told me I had to grab the dog and make a break for it, get to higher ground. We would keep tabs on each other by cell phones, til they died. He would stay there and recuperate. I would see him at dawn.  We quickly stuffed every important ID and bank card, personal document and thumb drive we could think of into my purse, and I slipped it over my head, and then grabbed our little dog and stepped into the icy river.   It was still hip high.  I waded as fast as I could through the floating pieces of peoples campground belongings.  A huge rug.  Picnic tables.  I used the utility hook up posts as guides to the way out of the park – the length of a football field. It got more shallow the farther I got.  After only 10 minutes I was shivering, soaked to my bones and feeling the burning cold in my feet. How did Adam stand in this for an hour? I wondered.  I knew why he had stayed behind. He was exhausted from hypothermia and wading. I heard him urging me on til his voice faded into the rain. He’s gonna be OK – I knew it. And then I couldn’t really comprehend much. I was freezing. My brain was shutting down.  My subconscious mind took over. Go. Go. Go, as hard as you can. Get to the office of the park. 

I felt the river become less of a strain to wade through. The ground was getting higher. And higher. Then I started to think, and thaw, and immediately shiver, teeth chattering. I reviewed all the old survival skills I learned. Don’t take off my shoes and socks until I get rid of the bone chill.  Get to the car, get the sleeping bag, blankets. Cover my face so I am breathing warm air.  Cover my feet. Let them sweat.  Our Chihuahua was shivering.  I talked to him, told him it was going to be OK.  I got to the office, passed by it to get to the car. My legs felt like tree trunks, but I felt my feet.

I focused on Adam. I swear I felt him. He was cold, shivering,covered in a blanket, waiting for help, but he was OK down there. I had been praying from the moment he had first gone outside. Praying for him to stay safe, for our home to be spared, and then when my body hit the water, for me to not stop til I got to the end.  Til I opened the car door. Til I made sure the dog was safe inside. Til I got the blankets out of the trunk. Til I could stop and think.

I didn’t sleep….  All I thought about was Adam in the trailer. The river, rising. The patter-patter of rain on the car roof became the enemy.  God,make it stop…make the rain stop….I prayed. The rain didn’t stop for 5 more hours.

When it did, the water receded just two feet. Daylight had made its way to us, but there was no sunshine.  I parked the car as close to Adam as I could, and got out and shouted to him. He had contacted me one last time before the cell died and said he was climbing out, come Hell or high water.

Adam climbed out with his guitar thrown over his shoulders, made his way. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes as he came up towards me. Determined to beat the odds, to get to me, to keep going. Go. Go. Go, as hard as you can. Get to Carolyn.  And his feet touched the ground. And I knew that whatever else happened, everything was going to be OK.

January 14th I woke up worried about working enough hours to help pay the bills. I wanted to get on Facebook and play Words With Friends, Slingo, SongPop.  I was thinking about what to write to increase Adam’s music fan feedback or the outreach of my blog. I wanted the video I made on YouTube to go viral.

January 15th, I woke up thankful to just be alive. Nothing is important to me today,except Adam being OK. He has some frostbite on his toes from where he had been in the water for so long, but other than that is is OK. The clothes can be replaced. The music equipment that can’t be salvaged can be replaced.    The last thing I care about today is going on Facebook and reading what someone had for dinner, or keep up with my high score on a game.

flood1

This was taken after the water receded when Adam was making his way out. The waters have since risen back up to the door.

 

Adam and me are living in a motel at the moment. We are snuggled up together, warm, dry, and the dog is curled up between us.  The rain is still falling and the river is still up.  We hope that we go back to our home once this is over, but if we can’t, we will go to an emergency shelter until we can find out what to do next. Whatever happens, tomorrow will come, and then another tomorrow, and life will go on.

flood2

We’ve had some wonderful advice from a friend who has survived a natural disaster before. He actually gave us a guideline to follow. We have to register with FEMA. Our family and some very good friends have offered us emergency assistance.  We’re swallowing our pride and taking it.  It hurts to accept that its real. But it happened.

Take it from both of us – life is the people you love and who love you – it’s nothing else.

A tribute to the Lord of the Rings, and J. R. R. Tolkien

Ramble On was originally written by Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. It’s a tribute to The Hobbit. If you grew up in the 70’s like me, you might have been lucky enough to read the book, and you were thrilled as an adult when the Lord of the Rings movie came out in 2001. Over the years it was followed by The Two Towers and Return of the King, and finally, followed by the prequel to the story – The Hobbit, in 2012.

Adam Carr’s rendition of Ramble On is a moving piece, so when I made the video, i let the lyrics and music lead its design.

Warner Bros. owns all the video copyrights. This is just a tribute, given with a full heart for The Hobbit tales, the Tolkien family, from both Adam and myself.