Monday, August 19, 2019

Flood of 2019

It's once again a late Monday afternoon & I have supper cooking-it's raining off & on....kinda reminiscent of last week....

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.....

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!

(you wouldn't believe how much we spent!)

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

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!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Well this past weekend I went grocery shopping and with Shad's help I fixed 15 family freezer meals and several  meals just for Sarah.  With just having surgery I needed to get back in control of of our eating habits as we were spending too much money eating out and obviously it's always healthier to eat at home where every ingredient can be controlled.  Steve had come home and did the lawn with Shad's help.  The house had been deep cleaned before my surgery and we'd kept it up....  All my paperwork was current....   Monday morning we went back to horse therapy so we were back in the saddle so to speak!  We had all kinds of appointments this week and i was hoping my doctor would tell me I could resume all of my normal exercise routine.   Oh I had HIGH hopes!  After I got home from therapy with some concerns about Sarah's ankles I set up more appointments for the next few weeks-things I'd had to change or put off because of my surgery....  then some college friends came by with a van load of things for Haiti.  We visited and it was so pleasant.  I walked them out-looked at the rising water (very normal for our area and this time of year) then I sat down for about an hour or so after putting one of my freezer meals in the oven. In reading through some messages I found I had been offered a position to work on a ministry that is near & dear to my heart!   It would be a volunteer position but something that I've prayed for for years.  I accepted the responsibility (with fear & trembling) and was willing to be in on the ground floor of this new aspect of ministry in Ukraine (more details later)   Sitting there  I was starting to hurt a little- horse therapy is about a 2 hour round trip drive plus the time we are there so I felt like I might have over done things just a little....    Oh foolish girl you had NO idea what was to come!

About 6ish Shad fed the dog and showed me some pictures he had taken outside.  The pictures did not seem possible the water was so high.  I walked out to the highest water I've ever seen by our house!  I couldn't believe it and was at a loss of what to do!!!  I walked around taking pictures totally freaking out inside but trying to tell myself it would go down.  Jon came home during all of this and I could tell he was shocked and overwhelmed too and it's not much that can disturb him!   Not knowing what to do since it was after 5 pm I called 911!  They sent the firemen and the emergency management folks.... things got worst and we knew we had to evacuate.  At first we thought we'd just send Selah and her nurses to a hotel but we soon realized we'd need to take all the kids.

I admit I literally had a hissy fit and hyperventilated!!!   That happens about every 20 years or so (at least that's what my husband says)  I think I scared Shad!  I just said we have to pray RIGHT NOW!  But I could not calm down.  Obviously I can't do much physical because I'm still supposed to not be lifting thins.  Jon will be having steroid shots in his back again next month and he's not supposed to be lifting things either!  What a mess!  Steve called during this and I was sobbing on the phone to him.  Bless his heart he'd worked all day and had to work out of town the next day but he said he was on the way over to us.

In the meanwhile some of our church folks showed up and began putting everything up high on beds, counters, high book cases.... A gentleman in our church went and bought sandbags to put in our drive through garage hoping it would cover the side doors.   Two of our nurses and a lady from our church packed Selah up.  She left first with her nurse.

I've always thought I was organized and could evacuate quickly if needed.  Well I know now that's a LIE!  Maybe it would be true if I could have done most of the work but I was in such pain by that time (I'm really hoping I didn't do something to myself)   Anyhow it was hard to make decisions what to take and what to move....  I'm so thankfully for the folks from my church for helping us.  Also of our firemen helped too.

The first hotel Steve took Selah to had a non working elevator and no rooms on the 1st floor so they had to go to another hotel! We finally got everyone settled by 1am.  It was hard to leave our home.

Today we went back (without the kids) We got more things and some friends brought us more sandbags to put around our A/C and Generator.   Shad paddled out on his old kiddie kayak and turned off the gas on our gas tank which is close to being submerged in water.  The water was so much higher- this time it was very hard to leave our house not knowing what we will come back to!  We had to leave our cats and dog.  We put a picnic table, the plastic fort and all our chairs in the drive through garage which is covered.  We fed them twice and hope we can get through to them tomorrow.  Emergency management is aware of our animals and are checking on things every two hours.  They are not in danger of drowning-just getting wet to get to dryer areas.  The worst that is expected would be a few inches of water (we hope!)

We do not have flood insurance.  It's complicated in Florida and we were told different things.  Most of our friends do not have flood insurance.  HOWEVER if we make it through this we will be getting flood insurance if at all possible.  We have great homeowners insurance except for that clause.

So we live near the Hillsborough River and near swamps and are used to alot of rain this time of year.  It's not unusual for us to have standing water on our property and in our neighborhood.  However we can not explain this flood nor can anyone else.  Yes the river is high but over all it doesn't make sense.  One neighbor has lived on our street for more than 20 years and has never ever seen anything like this!  the water usually runs from west to east across our road but is running from east to west and very swiftly.  That was the first thing she and i both noticed.  She is also flooded out.  Today as we were leaving we noticed that although the river is high we've seen it higher with no real issues on our property.  In fact some of our neighborhood that usually has standing water doesn't have it!  It seems so random.

When the house was being built tons and tons of dirt was brought in.  We are truly praying that our house was built up high enough to withstand this!!!


Sarah's new helmet


yes Jon was surprised

I was standing on top of our septic system which is a hill

This is today

my baby girl loves the chair

Selah is comfy

Sam is good

Shad goes with the flow

Sarah and me are roomies

If you want to see some CRAZY video go to my blog's FB page   My Real Life by Yvonne
it's hard to post videos on my blog.

Things are desperate and we need a true miracle as do our dear neighbors!  Please pray that this will resolve soon.  The county has engineers working on it.  They put up a drone today as they took serious our insistence that things were different.  Hey we know our swamp and river!  They were looking for obstacles in the flow.  We always have a stream between our property and our neighbor- and it's not unusual for it to get out of its banks but not like this.  I don't know what they called this- maybe a flash flood for the water to rise so swiftly.  My girlfriends who were over can not believe the videos and pictures as they were there just a couple of hours before this happened!

It's not rained in some hours but we have a 80% chance of rain tomorrow.  Please pray that the rain will not come!  If it does I don't think our house will go without massive damage.

Ironically 15 years ago we had evacuated because of Hurricane Charley!  And tomorrow is Selah's 15th birthday.   Thursday will be 7 years since the accident happened.....I'm just a bit overwhelmed with everything right now.  Please pray!

(BTW a friend was cleaning our a small freezer that she just inherited and literally brought it to our hotel.  I brought all those freezer meals here so I won't lose them.  Most are uncooked and I don't have a stove here but some of Sarah's are cooked and pureed so she was happy!   At least I didn't lose them!) 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Summer 2019 continues

Pathology came back NO cancer-lots of other issues- so thankful that I did the hysterectomy before I HAD  to do it!  I had cysts every where-one in a Fallopian tube that was huge & could have burst.   Anyhow it's all done and I've done pretty good.  the only problem I've had is when I felt so good and over did things....  Let me just warn you NOT to do that!!! 

Last week we ended up going to our church's bi-annual convention.  We really had not planned to but Jon needed to go because he is now a home missionary with the Assembly of God in the chaplain department.  Although he has worked full time for 22 years as a chaplain he had never been connected with our denomination until this year when the requirements changed for Florida Chaplains.  It was easier not to be connected as both of us hate meetings and extra paperwork.  Anyhow this worked out good for us to go.  Steve actually worked the conference in the media department and Shad wanted to be a part of the youth services so he could see all his friends.  I was a bit unsure about the whole thing-even more so by the time we got there the first night.  The next morning I just walked from our hotel via the skywalk to the center and knew it was not going to work for me!  Thankfully I was able to rent a motorized wheelchair.  I felt like a fraud but I would have never ever made it without it.!  If I had felt normal-I'd easily had 20,000 a day!  We used the lids' new wheelchairs for the first time and they loved them. 

Our hotel across from the Orange County Convention Center

I got my scooter! 

This year's Mission exhibit was amazing.  I saw so many friends who work in different parts of the world.  I didn't include any of them in pictures because of sensitivity but it was absolutely wonderful to see them!

Shad as a Mummy

In China


In the Exhibit Hall

Our friend!

We also got to go to our Alma mater's reception where we saw so many friends!  Steve actually worked the camera/lights so we only had him for a minute

Sam & Sarah were given this audio bible.  I bought the stuff toy to put it in.  I'm so excited about it

Sarah listened intently to it

So Shad is quite happy with his friend (who is adorable)

Yesterday Shad was doing some yard work and found this mad friend!  Not to worry we've seen him around in the bck of our property but the rising water had him in our bushes.  Not poisonous but can sit strike and bite!

Although we were sure it was a black snake we aren't snake handlers so we used our nifty little snake remover and moved him back to the woods

I'm so proud to announce that our oldest son Steve just accepted a great media postilion with the Polk county!  He starts next week!!! Full benefits & retirement!!!   During this month he has two scheduled free lance gigs he is going to  finish up for a company he has worked for several years.  One is in Washington DC.  He was grateful his new job made allowances for that.  I of course am not as thrilled because I had him traveling but it's a good experience for him.  He will be continuing his MA he only has one semester of on-line classes remaining and then his internship.  Hopefully his new job will end up being able to be his internship.  He will be able to continue as a Graduate Assistant  and work night & weekend events at the university.  He is going to be BUSY!  But he's like us- he likes to be busy

Shad will be starting back homeschool next week.  We keep putting his college classes off-since he is just turning 16 next month we are going to wait until spring.  Plus I have to redo all his paperwork again.  He is starting work on 11th grade level -a year ahead so he is still going forward  He is continuing to work after a very busy summer.  He went to Miami Outreach-Youth Camp- El Salvador mission trip- General Council.   I told him my 15 year old summer was nothing like his!!!!  LOL

Sam & Sarah will be starting back to horse therapy next week -then they'll be off for a few weeks because the stable will be closed.  Selah is doing good we now have 4 nurses which have given our long term nurses a bit of a break.  Everything is going perfect with her medically and we can tell little by little she is more aware of us and responds more. 

Well we are all caught up on us!  Hope all is well in each of your lives and families!!!!