When I last blogged on Tuesday we had just left our house and things did not look good. There's a video on my blog's FB page that shows just how bad it was, for some reason I can't get it to post here My Real Life By Yvonne
Honestly I had resigned myself to the fact we would have tremendous water damage. We didn't know how much water would come in-as the water keep getting higher and it was knee high out in the road. Plus there were fire ants everywhere so I figured what didn't get ruined by the water would get ruined by insects and animals.
Last Tuesday we emptied our safe- don't worry there was nothing but all our kids' adoption paperwork, readoption paperwork, Citizenship papers, our wills, passports, diplomas, irreplaceable documents. There's only so much you can take with you at a time like that and those things were the most important. I did pack some more clothes for everyone else too. For myself I had the homeless vagrant look going on.... for some reason I packed my absolute worse clothes. It was really funny (later) Part of the reason is I still had a little bit of a swollen tummy area from surgery so I wasn't wanting to wear fitted clothes but I took the look a bit far.
We've evacuated several times before in my life just to be safe but this was the first time I truly wondered if we'd have a home to come back to that was livable. When we pulled out into the deep water on our street I was resigned to the fact we might not be back to live here for a long time if ever. The ironic thing is that the past week was 15 years since Hurricane Charlie had hit Florida. We've evacuated then and we evacuated a few weeks later for Hurricane Frances and then for Hurricane Jean.... living in Florida is NOT for the faint of heart!!!
We stalked the weather channel app and radar watching the rain come...but when I went to feed the animals on Wednesday morning the water was down a little! A neighbor said it went down during the night some. But while I was there it went back up several feet! We had rakes and shovels out marking the water's advance. I couldn't figure it out so I called our local Emergency Management. They sent a guy out to check & take pictures.
Through this whole ordeal starting the very first night I kept saying to anyone who would listen that something was wrong. (and believe me at times we had 15-20 emergency workers out by our house I think we were command center the first night.) A few folks kept brushing me off and reminding me that we'd gotten so much rain lately and that the river was high. That's true- but it was different! There were spots in our neighborhood that were not affected and that are the usual ones to have standing water first. Plus the water was flowing differently. We've lived here for 4 years-I'm a country girl- I notice things like that. We've always had to keep our eyes on things-that is part of the price paid to live in the country near a river/swamp. Our neighbors were saying the same things as we were and some had lived here over 20 years-they knew the amount of rain we had gotten did not equal to the amount of flooding we were experiencing.
So I keep telling anyone who would listen that something was OFF & there was a problem East of us! I wasn't the only one I"m sure but I was probably the LOUDEST lol To the credit of our Emergency Management's office they listened and they were very diligent in checking all the canals and drainage pipes....well.....
GUESS WHAT THEY FOUND??????
Some stupid idiot had purposely stopped of a large drainage pipe because they didn't want to have water behind their house. Evidently they were concerned about some large gators that were behind their fence because of the flooding (not in their yard) If I understand correctly our run off creates a big pond on some government owned land that these people lived beside. Again from what I understand their house was not in danger of being flooded. Anyhow the EM folks found this Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and removed it. That's why the water went down some Evidently the person realized the blockage had been moved and went back and blocked it up again (while we were at home and the water rose rapidly. The EM folks went back out there and if I understand correctly some neighbors had already called the cops on the people blocking the storm drain and it was quite a scene! That time the people were charged with felonies and trespassing on government land. We stayed longer at the house and saw the water going down but we did not now the whole story until the next day. BTW no one would give me these people's names LOL
So Thursday and Friday we had to clean the house (dirt and mud from boots) plus we had taken everything we could off the floors and put it up on beds, counters, etc. It was a lot of work to clean up and put up everything. The roads were absolutely awful. We had real concerns about bringing the little kids back home and then we might have to leave again and the roads were so bad. We especially had to consider Selah and her situation. Thankfully we had some friends who helped us in various ways.
Our septic system is built above ground in a man made hill because we live in a low lying area. At first I was ticked tht the county made us do that mainly because it requires a lift station ran by electricity. That worried me in case we would be without electricity. It's rather complicated. But I'm not so upset now as I was glad it stayed above water and had no leakage problems. However our drain field was under about 2 feet of water for a few days so we've been babying our system. Before we came home I did all our clothes at laundry mat and told everyone to take a shower LOL Now we are on a strict shower schedule and no dishwasher or laundry till all the water is gone. We haven't had any problems and don't want any!
So we came home on Saturday but didn't bring Selah home till Sunday. That was quite a job and she was not happy with us. She really liked the hotel Selah can show her preferences much like a baby does so we were a bit concerned but she had no issues till it was time to leave!
Selah also turned 15 on Wednesday and of course Thursday was the 7th anniversary of the accident. My mind went back to those horrible days. It will always be a very sad day for us. But we are so happy we have Selah and how far she has come.
This week we are doing some work on being better prepared....
I've called some contractors as we are looking at raising our AC & Generator pad to 3 feet. They came close to being damaged. They are on a concrete slab maybe 2 inches off the ground but that is not high enough!!!
we probably will raise the gas tank too as it came very close to being completely underwater.
So if you know any contractors in central Florida send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also discovered that we do qualify for flood insurance and have that in the works. Part of our property is in a flood plain and part is not so our insurance will be high but I think in the long run it will be worth it! We've requested our paperwork that was filed at the time the house was built. Once I get that I'll go to our insurance company and add it
As I said in my last blog I thought I was prepared for anything including "bugging out" well I'm NOT! It took us far too long to leave and when we did leave we did not take everything we needed with us. The shock of water rising so quickly really paralyzed me. You could tell if you looked at my wardrobe choices LOL I'm not a conspiracy type person (not too much) but things happen!!!
I have to say thanks again to the Pasco County Emergency Management Office and the Pasco Fire Department. They all treated us so good. The FD helped us pack our house up. EM did everything they could to help us. They listened and found the real cause of our flooding!! They also put us in a hotel for a 5 nights! They had things in place if the worst happened and assured us. They kept us notified of everything. We are very appreciative.
I am so glad to be home. My goal is to always a have a thankful heart no matter what the outcomes are so with this great outcome I truly have a thankful heart!!!!
I did get the CUTEST pair of water boots!