Jelly Bean and I drove on this road this morning. Right over this spot.
Don’t worry, the news reported that everyone made it out alive and with only minor injuries. Phew.
And now it’s gone.
Sure it was raining – and raining harder than it had in 500 years* – but I thought it would be a great morning to spend digging through the thrift store’s new-old Halloween offerings looking for more dress-up clothes for Jelly Bean’s play box. (Because what is more fun than buying poofy frilly dresses for my girl?! Especially when it was a blue-tag clearance sale and they were all like $2!) Through a trick of fate or GPS, we went home via a different route – for which I cannot say enough little prayers of gratitude. I didn’t see this picture until tonight and so I didn’t even know how closely we’d dodged this bullet but I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Later today, I had all four of my kids in the ol’ single-hubcapped minivan (it’s a Toyota Sienna like every other mom’s but I can’t always tell mine from the huge dent in the door and the occasional divulgence of dirty undies both literally and figuratively) as we headed out to piano lessons, a mere 5 miles away. I headed out the normal way only to be turned back by a police officer – the main road was washed out. So I took the back way. Only to be confronted with an epic river. Had I not known there was a road there before I would never have believed it.
“Gun it, mom!” my second son yelled.
“I think we should turn around,” my cautious first son said.
“THIS IS SO COOL!!!” my third son yodeled, as I decided that risking the water was safer than trying the hill behind me.
“I want candy!” Jelly Bean screamed, clearly mistaking the energy for a party.
We made it through, albeit quite late. I was white knuckled and my heart was pounding from trying (not to) imagine how I’d get all four of my babies out of their carseats/belts and out of the car if we had toppled over into the raging river. And then we slogged home, taking nearly an hour to go 5 miles because every single road into my neighborhood was washed out at some point, requiring a labyrinthine grasp of spatial reasoning. Which, as I’m sure you remember, I have none of. I get lost in a paper bag. I finally gave up when I found a McDonald’s with a playland and called my husband to come find us.
Good news: None of my kids lost a shoe in the playland! This has got to be a first for our family.
Bad news: I stress-ate a whole container of cold French fries and I don’t even like fries. Or cold. Also, we found this out when we got home
This is the canyon just up the road from us. My husband rides his bike here. This is where we often go hiking.
Worse news: And then I found out an hour ago that because of “excess dam spillage” (Damn spillage! Sorry. Someone had to say it.) they’re evacuating everyone from just four blocks away from us on down. There’s a big hill between us and the dam though so I think we’re safe?
(Plus, September 11 marks the anniversary of my sweet daughter’s death. She would have been twelve this year. Anniversaries are hard.)
So now I’m doing what everyone should do in a potential emergency – avoiding doing my real work (can’t focus!!) and obsessively checking social media for updates on the flooding. Thank you Internet for not going out…much!
Please understand, I’m NOT complaining. We are warm and dry tonight. Our sump pump (how did that not make it into Sir. Mix-a-lot’s masterpiece??) is running 24/7 but our basement is dry. My kids are safe. My car did not drown despite my idiot driving. We still have clean water and electricity. And – wonder of wonders – school is not cancelled tomorrow. I am blessed beyond comprehension.
Sometimes you know when you’ve missed catastrophe by a hair’s breadth. Most of the time you don’t though. You keep going on your merry, mundane way, completely oblivious to the lives changing around you. I’m sure it happens more than we know. But I’m glad this happened because sometimes I need to be reminded how fragile we all are so I can appreciate the miracle of our continued survival.
Especially weird since just a week ago it was record-breaking heat we were dealing with. Hiking Red Rocks in 100-degree weather!
Have any of you ever juuuuust missed being in something disastrous? Any disaster prep advice? (My sister, who lives in one of the hardest hit areas, is currently scrubbing out her bathtubs and filling them with water, as a backup. Which sounds very smart and reasonable and totally not something I’d ever think to do on my own… Stay safe tonight, little sis!)
*Not even exaggerating. That’s what the news said. Some places got 7 inches of rain in ONE HOUR.