Monday, June 16, 2008

Flood 2008 Part 5 - Heather's Point of View....

It's been an interesting 6 days, to say the least. So many emotions have surged through our family. I'm kind of at a loss right now on how I'm supposed to feel. Tuesday night, when Michael and his co-workers first started to talk about getting ready for the flood, I honestly didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal. I think most people didn't think it'd be that big of a deal.

Then Wednesday, he was at work late into the evening, trying to get as much out of the building as they could with the few vehicles that they had. Then Thursday hit. Flooding like this town has never seen before. 75% of our family's income was under water. Does Michael still have a job? What will happen to us? What about my brother and his family who live in that neighborhood? So many questions.

Thursday was an odd day. We had interrupted power on Wednesday evening, and with the hopes that it was all better when waking up to the ceiling fan running, we were disappointed. I got a phone call around 7:30 or so from my boss, saying they were without power at our office, and it didn't make much sense for me to come down. The boys had their first field trip planned with Kid's Inc, so they really wanted to go to daycare. Since we pay weekly, and not hourly, it made sense to take them in to daycare. We'd be paying the same amount whether they stayed home or not - and they were looking forward to their field trip. I figured it'd be easier too, when my boss called me to tell me that power had been restored.

I got ready to take the boys to the school, and our power went out again. Hoping that it'd be short-lived, I dropped the boys off. They told me when I dropped them off that if the power isn't restored within an hour, they'd start calling parents. I got home, got a few things taken care of, and Michael and I decided to try and find something for breakfast together, and get started on figuring out what was going to become of Pro Video. Since the chance of having to pick up the boys from daycare still existed, we decided to drive separately - just in case he needs to be at the new office, and I need to get the boys.

On the way to finding a restaurant with power, I got a phone call from the daycare. The power had not come back, come pick them up. Okay - so breakfast plans have been changed. I called Michael, told him I was turning around, and we'll meet up eventually. He and Jake went on to pick up a few things at a co worker's house, and Chris and I went to my office to let my boss' know that even if the power does come on, I can't work since they closed down daycare for the day.

I walked into a very dark office, with my bosses sitting in the dental chairs in our showroom. Their 3 Chihuahuas that have come to know me quite well, didn't recognize me in the dark, and started to bark as ferocious as a 3 pound dog can bark. Once I got into the light more, and they saw it was me, they calmed down. My bosses were gracious, saying they understood about me not being able to come in, and had a great time chatting with Chris. (Chris really likes my bosses, and rightly so). We left there to meet up with Michael and Jake for breakfast at our favorite coffee shop, Mr. Beans.

We got there, and since the power was out for an extended amount of time, they didn't have any hot food. So off to McDonald's we went. After getting there, and getting ready to order, I noticed a sign saying that their credit card machines weren't working because of the flooding. I looked in my wallet in hopes of finding cash (which I never carry) and was thankful to find $8. It didn't buy us much, and we were all pretty grumpy.

Michael was already dealing with feeling down about the whole flood anyway, and not being able to order what he wanted for breakfast really didn't help that much. We all sat there, eating our "not enough" food, and when we finished, Michael went to see what he can do for work, and the boys and I went home.

We had power most of the day, but the boys were ornery. They were picking on each other, and bickering more than usual. I think they sensed that we were all under stress, and they were dealing with that as well. Michael ended up going to lunch with his good friend, Tim, and came home in much better spirits (thanks Tim!). I think it was good for him to be with a friend.

The rest of the afternoon was somewhat lazy. We were glued to the tv, watching continuous news coverage of the flooding that was making history. After a while, it started to get to us, so we decided to watch a couple of movies. We watched "Enchanted" with the boys, and it was a great diversion - very light hearted, and just what we needed. After the boys went to bed, we started to watch "Jumper", but about halfway through the movie, our power went out again. By then it was about 10:30, so Michael and I went to bed.

Friday started a bit better as a family. We woke up with power that stayed on (yay!) and the boys were able to stay at Kids Inc all day - and even go swimming at the pool. My office still didn't have power, so I was off work Friday. I ended up going with Michael to help him set up some computers at the new, temporary location for Pro Video. Moving stuff around, and seeing how much was actually saved was a real spirit boost, and it was wonderful to see the light start to come back in Michael's eyes. We spent all day there, and even part of the evening (after I went to get the boys from daycare and brought them to the office). It was a smoother, more productive day that Thursday. We came home, and watched a little of the news, and things started to feel a bit more normal. Michael got a phone call from one of his friends working with the city, asking him to build a website for the city to be a one-stop information center for all those involved in the flood. As you can see from his previous posts, he agreed, and it's been quite eventful since then.

Michael was gone all day Saturday, working at the EOC (Emergency Operation Center) with all the city officials and decision makers for the recovery of the city. We had little communication all day and into the evening, limited to a short phone call here, and a brief IM there. At 2AM Sunday morning, he IM'd me and told me to go to bed. I don't like going to bed without him, and I argued a bit, but he told me again that I needed to go to bed, since he was going to be longer, and he wanted me to have my energy for the boys on Sunday. I reluctantly went to bed, and left the kitchen light on for him so he'd be able to see when he got home.

I slept fitfully - waking up several times to find a half-empty bed. Since our power was off and on so much, my alarm clock wasn't set, so I had no idea of how much time had passed since going to bed. I kept telling myself that he'd be home soon, and go back to sleep. I woke up finally, at 7:30 or so on Sunday, and once again saw that my bed did not include my husband. I went out to the kitchen to start some coffee and noticed that the light I had left on for him was still on.

I got some coffee started, and came down stairs to my laptop and logged on, hoping to IM Michael and see how he was doing. He said that he realized that he wasn't going to be able to break away and come home long after it was too late to let me know. He had posted a blog, early that morning, and between that and my IM's with him, I was up to speed.

Around 10:30, he asked me to come and rub his shoulders. Missing him terribly, I quickly agreed. The boys and I loaded up into the truck, and drove across town to where the EOC was located. This was the first time I (and the boys) had seen the flood waters with my own eyes. At this point, the water had gone down significantly, but the sight was more than I could have prepared myself for. It was simply amazing. We were not allowed into the EOC, as it was a secured area, and were met with a reason why it was secured. There was a citizen there, quite upset at the fact that he couldn't get into his house, and had to be escorted out of the lobby by 5 police officers.

Michael walked out into the parking lot with us, and we got out a lawn chair, and I gave him a shoulder rub. When my hands got tired, Chris took over for me, and when he got tired, Jake took over. We had a nice, short visit, and then he was off, back into the EOC working away again. As Michael was getting ready to go back into the building, Chris got really quiet. Michael asked him what was wrong, and he said, "I'm just not used to not having you around all the time". He understood what his dad was doing, and is quite proud of him (and Jake is too), but he was feeling the sacrifice as well. It blessed me, in an odd sort of way, that he felt the loss. It meant to me that Michael is such an amazing dad, and is so involved in his boys, that they really feel it when he's not there - they notice a difference.

The rest of Sunday was pretty laid back, we enjoyed lunch with Tim (thanks again Tim!), and an afternoon at home. I, thankfully, got a phone call from my brother, who's house is destroyed from the flood. He sounded in good spirits, considering, and still has his sense of humor. He and his wife are already making plans to move on, and have started to look for another house, expecting theirs (which they just bought in October) to be condemned. They have flood insurance, so they're better off that most in that area. It was good to hear his voice, and it was wonderful to hear how he's handling the situation - he's a good man. Please pray for them, as they have a lot of work ahead of them. He was sharing with me some of what his kids are going through with this, it's hard on kids too.

Michael got home late Sunday night, and it felt wonderful to have my husband back in bed with me. Michael has been at the EOC all day today, and as of now, has not been able to break away to come home (it's now 11:50 pm). He's working on a vital part of the website, a part that will inform citizens when they will be allowed back into their houses. So many people right now are very frustrated with not being able to see their houses, but so many of them are just not safe (a couple people have fallen through floors, basements have caved in, not to mention all the hazardous things in the flood waters, and what was left behind in the muck).

I find myself tonight, very torn - my heart is going in so many directions. I'm so incredibly proud of Michael, and all the work, time, and dedication he's put into helping the people of this community. I'm hopeful, that all his hard work will be noticed by all (a bit of a pride thing for me). I'm praying that God will work the job situation out for us - I'm back at work, but Pro Video isn't 100%, and honestly probably won't be for some time. I'm praying for my brother and his family, sad for what they've lost, but excited to see how God will show Himself victorious in their situation.

The biggest thing I'm dealing with at this moment, though, is loneliness. It's selfish, I know, but I miss my husband. I feel like I've been separated from my best friend, and there are so many things I want to talk about with him, but I don't have the chance. I don't think we'll see much of each other tomorrow, as he'll be busy at the EOC and Pro Video, and I have an early dentist appointment, and work all day. Michael and I have spent time away from each other before, but it seemed easier then. Time apart was planned, and expected. This has knocked my emotions out of check. I find myself sobbing, and feeling guilty about it. I know I have it easy, compared to so many in our area. I understand that God has a reason for everything, and He's called Michael into an amazing area of ministry to this area. Even though I understand this season, it's not easy right now. I think part of the difficulty is the stress of the whole situation. Seeing the city at it's knees can take a lot out of a person.

I am truly proud of Michael through this whole thing. He has really risen to the occasion, and shown what he's really made of. He's a man of great talent and God given abilities that are essential at this very moment. It's great to see him walking in this, and to see the satisfaction he's getting from his labors. He deserves it. Who knows what God will do next? I'm praying for great things!


Elan said...

It's amazing to see how God works through natural disasters to bring people together, and to bring to the surface our deepest emotions, which you have expressed so well. We learn new things about ourselves when faced with these kinds of situations. God reveals himself in new ways, too.

Grandpa said...


Thanks for sharing the roller-coaster of emotions you've been going through. You have learned some things about yourself, your kids, and your husband that will be helpful references for the future.

Grandpa D