Last Saturday, my husband and I each packed a suitcase and headed over to my parents’ house to spend the night because of the impending hurricane. Before we left, we picked up all of the expensive electronic equipment (computer, DVDs, video games, etc.) from the floor and/or low shelves. We had been told by our neighbor that our apartment and his were completely flooded out by the last hurricane that came through the area back in 1999. We expected to get some water, maybe around the back door, so we moved everything away from that area, grabbed the cat, and headed out.
We really thought we got away unscathed because the storm really didn’t seem that bad where we were. There was a lot of wind and rain, but we didn’t lose power and no trees came down that we could see. Watching the coverage on TV and looking at pictures online painted a very different picture, but we still decided to head home around 4pm and see how our apartment fared. The normally 20 minute drive took us close to an hour because we kept getting re-routed around fallen trees and flooded roads. When we got into our complex, we couldn’t drive in very far because the road was flooded. I had my husband park, and I walked over to our section. I got as close as I could and saw that the grass behind our building was there (as opposed to a giant lake), and our neighbor’s car was there. The parking lot and street in front of our section were completely flooded out, but the water wasn’t anywhere near our front door. Relieved, I walked back to the car and told my husband the good news. We started driving away, but he had this feeling that we should really try to actually get into the apartment to make sure everything was ok. We parked and made our way around the water and over to our building. There was water and garbage in the back, but it didn’t look to bad. We opened the front door, and immediately we noticed that the carpet in the foyer was wet. When we walked into our apartment, the water squished up over our shoes as we walked around. There were water marks on everything, about 6-8 inches high.
Our couches, which were a wedding gift from my in-laws, were completely ruined. Our bookcases were soaked and splitting at the bottom. There was mud and water all over the kitchen. Further inspection showed us that water had actually gotten into the cabinets and all over our pots and pans. I pulled out Tupperware containers full of river/sewer water and dirt. The normally white bathroom floor tile was stained brown and there was still about half an inch of water in there. All of the stuff in our bedroom closet on the floor was ruined, including part of my wedding dress. We had two old TVs in there, and when I lifted them up, water actually poured out of them. The same thing happened with our lamps. The clothes in the hamper were soaked through and there was a puddle of dirty water sitting in the bottom. Our box spring and mattress were destroyed because they were sitting directly on the carpet.
We were initially told by management that they would suck the water out of the carpets and then shampoo them. That’s it. Since we decided that was unacceptable, we started moving our things out and into my parents’ house. Someone from the office finally came to see our place on Tuesday afternoon after the carpet guy said there was no way he could just clean our carpet – the damage was too extensive and the base boards and walls would start to mold and rot (although the management had previously assured me that “wood doesn’t mold”). It was at that point that she saw everything that she admitted the whole place had to be renovated. She offered us another unit, but the only ones available were others that took on water. Why would we want to move from one flooded apartment to another?! We said we’d rather just move out, and she agreed to let us break our lease without penalty and we don’t even have to repaint the walls or clean. We’re all moved out, utilities are shut off, and after a lot of hard work and help, we’re moved into my old room. Our stuff is spread out through my room, the basement, the garage, and the spare room, but it’s all here. My dad has offered to let us stay with him as long as we need to until we can find a house.
W started house hunting again yesterday. We saw three houses and really liked one of them. We also went to three open houses today and although the houses were all nice, we didn’t love any of them. We’re working with a different realtor from last time, so we’ll see what else she comes up with and hopefully have a new home somewhat soon. We don’t want to impose on my dad (although he assures us we’re not) and we’re also not used to living with anyone else. We got very used to having our own place and our own routines. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but it’s working.
I’m trying to remind myself that it could be a lot worse. Although our insurance won’t cover anything because we didn’t have flood insurance, at least we have a place to stay and none of us were hurt. We could be stuck in a hotel and have to pay to put our stuff in storage. We could have lost everything. The only things we lost that can’t be replaced are cards from our wedding, and a bunch of cards and letters that I’ve given to him throughout the years. I dried them all out and I think I’ll take pictures of everything and then dump it all before it gets moldy and gross.
This just feels like one more thing on top of everything else. At church today, our pastor made the comment that the Lord is really testing our patience lately, and he’s right. I just don’t understand why. I have been so blessed, up until last year when it feels like everything just went to hell. Now it feels like nothing is going right and things just keep getting worse. I’m not sure how much more i can handle before I just have a complete breakdown.
My 30th birthday is next week, the same day as the tenth anniversary of September 11th. It’s my first birthday without my mom, probably my last birthday with my best friend, and also a year since I really knew my mom was going to die. Before my mom was diagnosed and all this other stuff happened, I was pretty excited about turning 30. I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and celebrate with family and friends. Now? I’m just not interested at all. My husband is being super sweet and trying to plan something fun and memorable for me, for which I am so grateful (he really is the best), but I just wish none of this bad stuff had happened so I could be truly happy about it.