Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Flooded: On The First Day

Around 5:00am on Saturday, May 25, 2019 I awakened to the sound of torrential rain. I recall thinking, or whispering to Geoff, that I didn't think I had ever heard rain coming down that hard. I quickly fell back to sleep, waking again at about 7:20am when Geoff’s phone rang with a work call.While he was still on the phone, Geoff turned to me and stated, "That's not coming from outside", at which point I became more aware of the heavy spatter of water. With my phone in hand, I ventured down the basement steps, not far from our bedroom. It took a few seconds to process what I was seeing. A layer of water covered the floor at the foot of the stairs, and more was pouring in the window. As I began to record the scene, my mom stepped out of the shower in the bathroom by the staircase, and began to exclaim. She had stepped into water already nearing her ankles, and was hearing by expressions of, "Oh no, oh no."

As Geoff attempted to work through the significant work-related issue he had been called about, as an on-call manager, he quickly realized he needed to get other managers involved on that issue so that he could attend to the water entering our house faster than we could react. Within 30 minutes I was on the phone with our insurance company - while we likely didn't yet appreciate the full implications of what was happening, we had a sense it was significant.

The next 2.5-3 hours passed in a blur. My mom was in shock, and went out for breakfast with friends as planned. Geoff had the presence of mind to turn off the power before water reached the outlets. My dad, Geoff, and I sprung into action. I don't entirely know what they focused on, but we worked in parallel, retrieving items and bringing them upstairs as quickly as possible. Initially Mom and Dad had set a few items up on couches and desks, but as the water rose I realized that was not sufficient, and focused my attention on moving keepsakes and irreplaceable items. We were able to carry up some smaller furniture items as well. Unfortunately, as we later learned, it would have been wise to attempt gathering some larger and costlier items like televisions, which we considered lower priorities thinking that they would be covered under contents insurance, and as they were not sentimentally significant, they were left behind.


Furniture began to float far sooner than I would have expected - the strength of water always amazes me. Some drawers became impossible to open as they filled and furniture capsized. Couches and desks crowded together and had to be pushed (ever so easily) out of the way to create paths. At the end I was gathering armfuls of saturated items from our eldest child's room, hoping that we might be able to save some of his stuffed animals, blankets, books, and clothing. These were dumped part-way up the stairs, while I had the children take the items to the upstairs bedrooms. I watched his piano keyboard succumb to water, as the bed where he had placed it (ironically lower than the dresser on which it normally sat!) oozed with water. As the muddy, rushing water approached our waists we agreed that concerns about safety necessitated our exit. I recall being aware that it was strange to walk away from so many belongings that we knew would be ruined - just to watch it happen and know that we were helpless to do any more.


After the pace of the morning, the rest of the day plays in slow motion in my memory. In re-reading the following paragraph I see that the day was not still, but I think the sense of our inability to directly address the water made it feel that way. We sat upstairs, waiting for the water in the house to reach ground level, and brainstorming next steps - we eventually realized we would not be staying in the house that night, with no power and with questions about contamination in the air due to the water that had traveled across recently-manured farm fields. Toward early evening our dog was taken to a kennel, and my parents' dog went to my brother's. Through social media someone from church suggested we contact the owners of a local boutique motel, and we secured a spacious two-bedroom apartment (initially thinking for one or two nights)! All of this was somehow sorted out on short notice. The cats stayed at the house. We eventually confirmed that two were still presumably in the basement.

The noise and movement of the water pouring in was intense. As a result, the serene stillness of the scene once the basement was full stands out in my mind. Insurance had contacted a restoration company to come out and assess the situation, and begin water remediation. The first company never arrived, and a second was sent out. By about 6:00pm there were pumps in place, run by generators.

We still had not developed a full awareness of the scope of the situation and its ramifications. As each new realization dawned, we addressed it. We also had only a taste that day of the outpouring to come in other forms, as our community and social networks sprung into action and rose up around us.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Curly Journey Update 11 Months In

I've logged in to post about another topic, but figure I will provide a brief Curly Girl Method update after nearly one year!

I've stuck with it - no blow drying (other than diffusing) or straightening, and have been using only CG friendly products.

Winter was frustrating at times, but much better after I discovered the need to leave in a fair bit of conditioner and go easier on other products. Now that the summer humidity is returning, I'm getting better volume again, with more uniform curl and more days on which I can "refresh" a little rather than re-wetting my entire head and starting over with styling.

My biggest problem is the pixie grow-out - I can't resist trimming frequently to maintain some shape and volume at the top, and keep bulk out of the bottom half. I want to keep the back longer and work toward more of a longer shag type style, but maybe I'll need to go with a bob first, while it grows longer around the ears, then let the back catch up. Sometimes when the shorter look is working I am tempted to go back to a longer-on-top pixie. I've always changed styles often, but wearing it curly makes me think twice about dramatic short cuts at the moment, as the grow-out feels even slower wearing curls - they grow out first, rather than down (sometimes creating volume in the wrong areas), then will hit a length where they start to drop or fall downward (creating some altogether odd combinations of shapes and differences in how the curls sit).

Pixie grow-out or not, keeping volume in the crown can be a challenge both if layers are too short (sections pull up and away from areas where I want coverage) or too long (sections fall flat from the root). Root clipping on damp hair seems to work best for this, after diffusing a little. Diffusing is helpful, although doing just enough to start getting some lift, while not over-doing it and ending up with dry, undefined, frizzy sections is an art. Sometimes dampening and finger curling sections that got a bit frizzy while diffusing can help.

So there it is. An ongoing experiment, although overall still generally more content with my hair than I have been in a long time.