The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘floods’

Why I Hate Lisa, or Has it Been 500 Years Already?

First, let me confess that I don’t really hate Lisa, but I do want to call her out on her bizarre behavior on New Year’s Day.  More on that later.

When we decided to build a house on Beaver Creek, we knew there was a possibility of flooding. Being smart women, we went first to the county and were told that the property we were looking at, although a full third of it IS Beaver Creek, was not in the 500 year flood plain. We were talking to the chief-guru-in-charge-of-such-matters, and he actually put his signature on some papers, so we thought we were okay. However, just wanting to make sure, I went back a few days later and talked to a sub-guru who said the same thing. Then, because I am, in reality, chopped liver in the not-believable section of life’s grocery store, our contractor went and asked. He got the same answer. So we built.

The county did request an extra 16 inches of foundation, on top of the already generous amount the contractor had planned for, so we ended up with almost five feet of foundation at the corner nearest the creek. We built, we moved in April, and enjoyed a long hot summer of leafy coolness at the side of the creek. Then it snowed.

Oregon gets snow. A few inches a year, lasting for a day or two, enough to foul the roads, close the schools, and give everyone a few days of midwinter rest. But this time it SNOWED. We had over 2.5′ of the stuff, topped with a couple inches of ice. Enough to drive me round the bend, especially since Jenny was home and relaxing but I’ve yet to find a publisher who will buy the excuse “My hall was too icy to get to work.” I worked all through the snow and ice, although it seems that the weather has prevented the publishers from actually paying me, but that’s another rant, er, story.

We were snowed in for a week, and the snow hung around for two weeks. Then, on my 57th birthday, it started to rain. Rain, of course, means the snow melts. The creek rose, came up into the yard, then receded. We heaved a sigh of relief and went out on New Year’s Eve to celebrate with a rousing game of SongBurst with the old gang. New Year’s Day we woke to a monsoon. Almost four inches of rain fell on Beavercreek, OR that day, breaking records and causing me to mutter about every single global-warming-denying Republican who ever lived.

And the creek rose. And rose. Instead of a quiet meandering float, it became a raging river, complete with rapids. The rapids were the access road to our place.  And WERE is the operative word. We no longer have an access road.

Now, I have a great deal of trust in the weatherman on channel 8. Don’t ask me why. My mother had faith in channel 8 and so do I. So I was listening to channel 8 and the guy was saying the rain would stop, the water would peak, and things would return to normal. He’d been spot on about everything to do with the “Arctic Blast” which gave us snow in the first place so I was sure he was right this time.

So. Jenny would go outside and measure the water depth and I would do the math. I figured that the water would not make it into the house so I was all “Hakuna Matata” and just wanting to chill. But Jenny was becoming more and more agitated and wanting to evacuate. Finally, at midnight, she decides she needs to talk to Lisa.

Lisa is maybe 27. Okay, maybe 42. Either way, she is young enough to be Jenny’s kid and behaves very much like me, which is to say mostly badly. But Jenny thinks Lisa is a wise woman. Besides, Lisa is one of the few people we know who is still up at midnight. The other is Mar, but we knew Mar was out of town.  So we call Lisa and Jenny tells her that the house is surrounded by water (which is true) and the creek has become a raging river (also true) and that the water is rising faster and faster (not the way I remember it, but then I’m chopped liver, remember?) And Lisa, hearing the freak in Jenny’s voice says something to the effect of “Well, if you’re surrounded by water, you should leave.” Great. I hate Lisa.

Jenny IMMEDIATELY packs a bag and puts on her coat. I’m dawdling because I REALLY don’t want to go and REALLY don’t believe the water is coming into the house. But I finally grab a few things and agree to go to a motel. We wade through about eight inches of water to the car, coax the dog to join us, and head out. Fortunately, someone had the foresight to build a back way out of our place. We have to drive through another raging stream, only to find the main back way is blocked by high water. We turn around, and take the other back way which is basically one long pothole full of water, with a washout at the end. Jenny just charges the Sienna across the washout and we are on Beavercreek Road. Which is blocked by, duh,  high water.  It takes us the next hour, most of it going in the wrong direction, to find a road that will get us out of Beavercreek and headed toward Oregon City. It is now 1 am and we are heading for a motel. We are also running out of gas and can’t find a gas station that is open. I want to go home.
I call Lisa again, just because when I’m annoyed I need to annoy others, and Lisa admits that she wouldn’t have left in the first place. I hate Lisa.

Suddenly I realize that we have a dog with us. And we have no idea where we will find a motel that will take dogs at 1 am on New Year’s Day in the rain. We need a plan. So the plan is this: We stop at Shari’s because it is open all night and will let us sit there forever as long as we eat something. After a couple hours of listening to the tunes on the video poker machines, someone says it’s snowing. THE RAIN HAS STOPPED! The snow is falling in big wet globs, putting a couple of inches of wet snow all over everything. But we still don’t have gas and the last thing we want is to drive around looking for clear roads back to Beavercreek and run out of gas. This is the country, man, and there are no people out except us, my cell phone battery is mostly dead, Jenny’s cell phone is mostly at home, and I’m getting really annoyed.

We head down toward the freeway and find this: no open gas stations. Then we call AAA and they tell us there is a 24 hr gas station right next to us. And there is. But we’ve already been there and they won’t take credit cards, we have no cash, and pay day isn’t until the next morning. I’m sure you’ve been there. Finally, after a short eternity, we find an open gas station and get gas. I propose three possible solutions: motel, go to the church and sleep on the couches in the basement, or go home. I really want to go home, and I really hate Lisa for getting me into this, but I feel that, as the rational one in this situation, I have to offer several options.

Now that we have gas, Jenny is suddenly feeling really butch. She decides that we will go home. So we do. And the water is gone, we are now just a peninsula, no longer an island entire of itself, although we would have been just fine as an island if Lisa hadn’t told Jenny to evacuate. I hate Lisa. Do you understand why?

And, while I fully expected that at some point we would face hell AND high water, I didn’t expect it during our first year, our honeymoon year, in our new house. So until Wednesday when I see her again, I’m going to hate Lisa for making me leave my warm house, wade through ice water up to my shins, and drive around all night in Oregon City. When she would have stayed home. After all, that’s what good friends are for, right?

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