It's 4 a.m. Hotel beds are generally shitty places to sleep.
On Wednesday I had 30 minutes to pack for 5 people in one bag and leave my house. It had been raining so hard for so long my yard was its own little lake, and the creek in front of our house hadn't even breached its banks yet.
But it was getting close.
My neighbor came down in his ATV and took the kids up to his house, while I stuffed clothes in plastic bags, then into a duffel to suffice for who-knows-how-long. I expected a day or two. It's now day 3.
It's a lot to remember, to pack all the stuff you need in such a short time. I got into the ATV and met up with the kids. We didn't know where we were going, but we had to leave. NOW.
Roads were washing out and closing all over the place. One route into our town had already been covered over by the rushing water, which left one way out. As I drove out of town, the water was rushing toward the road's edge.
We were some of the last people able to leave.
We managed to make it to a McDs, to get our bearings and get the kids some lunch. My husband managed to get a reservation out of harm's way for us, so we drove down and attempted to settle in.
The road we took to get there is now impassable too, along with many other roads around here.
We've been through a number of floods since living here, most of which the water comes into the basement, recedes and then we go on with our merry lives with just a mid-sized inconvenience. Any flood is a pain in the ass, but we never felt as though our lives were in danger. It meant hosing off our already prepared basement then washing the walls and floors with bleach so mold couldn't set in. We never had to leave our house, the kids could still have all their comforts, and we rarely lost power. And if we did, it was never for that long.
The problem is that we had become complacent.
The creek was very low, and could handle the rain that was forecast. But the forecast changed. Overnight. And we were now in that ominously darkly shaded area.
We arrived at the hotel like drowned rats and attempted to settle in. The kids were thrilled, they've always wanted to stay in a hotel and loved all the perfectly packaged little cups, soaps and shampoos. They took long baths and marveled at all the newness around them. Because it was different, you know. We called our friends and family to let them know we'd left and were okay.
My husband's work cell started ringing off the hook. The fire company was trying to get a head count, who was where and from what house. They needed to know who they needed to pull out in boats. The town had been cut off by water on both sides. There was a mandatory evacuation, to at least bring anyone left to higher ground.
The water had completely filled the basements and had started rising on the first floor. It had gone from 'no big deal' to 'record setting'. We kept a close eye on the National Water Information System website, which gauges data for waterways across the U.S. If you live near one, I strongly suggest you bookmark it.
The water levels are starting to recede, and this morning my husband decided to attempt going back to see how our house faired. I don't even know if he'll make it with all the road closures. The kids are now sick of the hotel and can't wait to go home. But even if we could, there's no point until we can ensure their safety. So I guess we remain sitting...and waiting.
Not knowing really sucks.