Des Moines just broke its own record for the wettest year ever, previously set in the flood-filled year of 1993. Unfortunately, that has meant flash flooding around the state. Sunday night we had a very prolonged, very angry storm that dropped FIVE + inches of rain. Monday morning we learned that our old house in Cambridge went back under water. I always thought that moving away from that house would be a clean break for me, that I would never care about it again. But hearing that another family is going through the same thing we went through, even after the city "fixed" all the drains, starting my head spinning and my gut churning. We saw the story on the news yesterday, how the family living there had to be evacuated by boat and how they had 3 cars go under water. Everyone was safe, but it was like watching a horrible broken record. All the city's improvements didn't make an ounce of difference when the prolonged and heavy rains came.
We could never have seen this coming. We didn't trust that house anymore only because we had seen it under water once, but we never thought it would flood again so completely, or so soon, especially since the city dug up several drains and cleared them out and replaced them with bigger drains, etc. It has been just over 2 years since it flooded last. We also cannot believe this happened in August. Typically, the only months flooding is a concern are the Spring and early Summer months.
Cambridge was a cement block around our ankles. Living there felt like being dragged down to the bottom every single day. Of course we are relieved to be out of that house, that town altogether. However, the sickness we feel for the family living there now largely over-shadows that relief.
I think about the entire year it took us to rebuild that house. I remember standing there on the street, looking at my house sitting in the middle of a lake and rubbing my pregnant belly for comfort. I remember gutting it out, watching the innards of our home pile up in the front yard like a bunch of soggy trash. I remember walking through a house that looked like it was just being built, having studs and a concrete floor and nothing else. I remember the pangs I felt as I kept thinking of individual things that were lost forever. I remember living with TJ's parents (bless their hearts!) for 2 months while we sanitized the house and replaced all the essential utilities. I remember being relieved to have drywall put in just before bringing Topher home from the hospital because I never wanted him to know a home that was only a skeleton. I remember every nail, every paint stroke, every detail of putting that house back together. It was stressful and painstaking and frustrating and heart-breaking.
It only took about 15 minutes of flash flooding yesterday to completely erase every single thing that we did, kick-starting another family's nightmare. Our old neighbors across the street said that they were up at 4am, watching for water. By 5am there was still nothing. And then around 5:15am, the water just starting rushing in. We're not sure if a drain somewhere got clogged, if something broke, or if the water just starting running off of nearby fields, but by 5:30am the block was under water. We always wondered how our house could have already been 3 feet under by the time we woke up, but now we see how quickly the water must have rushed in. It only takes a matter of minutes. We sincerely hope that the city will use its grant money to buy that property out so that family can make a new start and will be able to walk away the way we wanted so badly to do.
Unfortunately, Water Street has earned its name once again.