Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We lost so many things in the flood.

Big things, like a house, all our furniture, appliances, pots and pans and dishes. So many things, we never really thought about how much stuff we had accumulated over the years.

Things that made life simpler. A washer and dryer, for instance, right there in the house. One of the unfortunate side-effects of living in a compact FEMA travel trailer is the lack of a laundry. The once household chore of washing clothes is now a major duty that requires twice the time and effort.

We lost things that we used to take for granted. Like a real shower with a real glass door. I recall taking long showers under a gentle fountain of hot water. Not any more. The hot water tank we rely upon now holds about two quarts. I can’t stand straight up in the shower, and even if I could, the water would only rain on my shoulders. I have to bend down to wash my hair, and I have share tight quarters with a billowing plastic shower curtain, too.

And then there are other things we lost in the flood. A neighborhood, for instance. I’ve blogged about how glad I am to see the severely damaged houses in my area taken down and hauled away. But this is an almost empty joy. It goes without saying that I’d prefer my neighbors back in their neat, middle class ranch houses than to be surrounded by vacant lots.

You can erase the writing from the page, but the imprint of what was written remains. I still see it.

I have pictures in my office of my Precious Daughter, my Darling Wife, and my cats. One of them shows my cat Cupcake lounging on my bed. Once upon a time, Cupcakes’s favorite spot was to sit against the pillows on my side of our king-sized bed. I look at this photo sometimes, and I see a lot of things we lost in the flood--the bed, the quilt, my nightstand, my books, and--due to her relocation to Texas--my cat.

But that’s not all.

I used to sit on the end of that bed and play my guitars. I used to play games like “no Papas on the bed,” which involved wrestling with my Precious Daughter for control of the mattress. I used to do a lot of reading on that bed, back when I had leisure time to do things like read.

None of those things were included in our insurance settlement. And none of those things can be restored by government programs or charitable donation. I certainly hope to one day replace them in a fashion once we settle into our new house. But the reality is that those things are gone forever, lost in time, and lost in the flood.

We lost so many things in the flood.

Some of those things weren’t “things” at all. I miss those the most.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my. The things I take for granted.

Vicky said...

I'm with ya, Tim. I really miss our wonderful neighborhood, neighbors, and our cool retro house. And I miss my pillow I had for 40 (ewwwww!) years!

Anonymous said...

Me, too, Tim. Me, too.

Anonymous said...

Coming across your blog today really helped me keep things in perspective. Thanks for writing about your experiences.

sweatpantsmom said...

I came across your blog today and was struck by how this post eloquently captured so much in so few words.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Karen said...

We were lucky that we live "upstairs" in our old raised house. But downstairs was where we stored our past. So while I can enjoy a hot shower, my bed and a real kitchen. The stairs that lead downstairs always remind me of what we have lost. I usually pretend that my daughters baby photos and all the accmulated "stuff" is still down there, but it is not.