Category Archives: flooding 2013

Goodbye, 2013.

It’s sort of difficult to look back and reflect on this year. It seems to have been impossibly long and impossibly full of both good and bad. I’ve heard from many people that 2013 lived up to its reputation of being bad luck and ended up being the worst year in memory. Not many people seemed to have enjoyed this year, and I can’t particularly say that I blame them. Obviously, this year brought us amazing goodness, but it was unbelievably hard, too. Cameron, his father, and both my parents spent time in the hospital. I seem to have lost touch with most of my friends. The flood. Oh, the flood. What happened in September this year put a huge crack in me that has forever altered the way I see the place I live–through no fault of its own–and I don’t think it will ever be fixed. I spent more time this year battling my depression and anxiety than probably ever before. Not to diminish the beauty that is my daughter, but her arrival brought with it almost 5 weeks of daily crying and some of the worst self-doubt I’ve ever had.

But there was beauty and wonderful moments this year, too. I celebrated my 25th birthday and Cameron turned 30. We spent three whole weeks in Hawaii, something I think about almost daily. We traveled to North Carolina to witness the union of two of our most wonderful family members. I started working on a new book with my agent, which was exciting despite how challenging it was. And, even though many of my friends seem to have fallen away from me, I grew closer than ever before to my best friend–my husband–and to my parents. Of course, most beautiful of all, my little girl. I cannot wait to see what this year brings us and I am so excited to watch her begin to learn and grow. I know 2014 will bring new challenges but it will bring new opportunities too, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m eager to see 2013 go into the record books and hopefully 2014 will not be repeating any of its bad habits.

Happy 2014, everybody.

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Finally Dry

The crawlspace is dry.

The crawlspace is dry.

I am so excited I just have to say it again.

The crawlspace is finally. freaking. dry.

Everybody now: rip-roaring cries of sweet sweet jubilation!

The laundry “corner” on September 12 when the crawlspace flooded.

Of course, what this really means, more importantly than the crawlspace being dry at last, is that I finally get my washing machine and my dryer back. Sure, sure, we probably could have rigged the setup to co-exist with the pump a while ago, but I just knew that if we took the time to set it all back up again, something would happen and we’d need to move it all back out of the way again (it’s a pretty tight space) to get to the pump in an emergency, such as overloading the drainage pipes with the pump water and the washing machine drainage. And, since I am of little help being the size I am (and unable to lift much) it didn’t seem very smart to try to get it all back into place and working again with just the two of us.

On Friday, though, I noticed that I hadn’t heard the pump in a while. Over the last 6 weeks or so it has gone from pumping constantly down to three or four gallons a minute down to a few cups every so often, so we knew it was finally starting to dry out, but on Friday afternoon I didn’t hear it at all. Of course I worried about a burnout and wanted to check to make sure nothing was backing up, but I couldn’t fit between the wall and the washing machine to get to it…womp. Cameron gave it a check when he got home and it all looked fine. By Saturday, the only thing we could hear was the auto-check hum every minute or so that it does to make sure there’s nothing to suck up. My parents were also visiting, and my mom crawled back there and stuck a flashlight in the hole and declared that the ground was, in fact, totally dry. So, since we had two extra able bodies, we (they) finagled the washer and dryer back into place, shoved the drainage hose down the same pipe where the pump has been dumping into (so that we can keep it running just in case) and voila. I finally have a working washer and dryer.

And the angels sang hallelujah

I was so excited that I could do laundry on a whim whenever I wanted or needed that I immediately threw my big fuzzy blanket into the wash, since it had been a while. (And that night I slept great wrapped up in my soft, fuzzy, nice-smelling blanket…coincidence?) Later that night my mom and I also de-tagged and sorted all the baby’s clothing and blankies and finally washed them (yay!), and got them all organized and ready to go.

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It’s amazing how much more normal things feel when you can just do your damn laundry whenever you need to and you don’t have to cart it out to the laundromat. I feel so much better. Ahhh.

Meanwhile….

I suppose I should take this time to make a general disclaimer also known as TMI Alert. I’m gonna talk about some gross stuff you might not wanna hear about regarding labor and delivery as we get closer to having this baby. If you’re not interested in reading it, turn away now.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thursday night, I thought Caroline was really taking our doctor seriously when he said it could be “any day now.” I went up to the bathroom after dinner and discovered this huge blob of brown mucus and I was like woah, okay. What the hell is that doing there? I called Cameron up to come look at it and we were both like “Did Dr K say that was okay? Or should we call the triage nurse? I think he said brown was okay. I don’t remember.” I know I had read that sometimes the mucus plug comes out weeks before labor begins, but at 36 weeks? Really? So, just to be safe we called and the delivery nurse called me back a few minutes later and when I described to her what had happened she said, cool as a cucumber, “Yep, that sounds like a mucus plug.” So I was a little bit like, okay…is that normal? And she said it was, sometimes it comes out early and you re-grow part of one or not, but it doesn’t mean you’re about to go into labor. She said the only thing that would be cause for concern is if my water broke, or there was bleeding, or if contractions began in earnest. And, since I have an appointment Thursday, she said to just keep it and talk to the Dr then unless anything else happens before then.

So, yeah. Fun. Since then I’ve really had this feeling that this baby is going to come early and most likely nowhere near my EDD. I’m confident that everything will be fine (especially since this week we hit that “magical” 37-weeks point) and frankly I’m excited for something to happen now. What happened Thursday night left me with this mildly surreal feeling, sort of like, oh yeah. So it IS going to happen sometime soon. I was just beginning to think I was going to be of a whale-like proportion forever. And naturally now I’m stupidly impatient for something REAL to happen. I keep finding myself looking to the animals for cues, since they generally know when these sorts of things are going to happen. This morning Whiskey came into the bedroom and laid down right next to my head and was being strangely cuddly and pleasant (normally he ignores my presence altogether), so I began to wonder if he sensed something was about to happen. As it turned out, he was just trying to butter me up so that I wouldn’t be mad when I discovered the pizza box he knocked on the floor overnight. Hmm.

He cares about nothing except food, catnip, and the fireplace.

I suppose we’ll go back to more of the waiting game in the meantime!

The Best Library

It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest things I cherish is the value of good books. My library is very special to me and I am definitely one of those people who will pick up MORE books even if I haven’t finished the one (or six) I’ve already spent time reading. When Borders went out of business (sniff) I haunted that place like a bad case of fleas and I probably ended up taking home a couple hundred dollars worth of books to add to my library. I love books! (Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle too, but there’s just something awesome about real, solid books. A lot of times I’ll buy a book on my Kindle and then buy it again in hard copy because I feel like it needs to grace my shelves.) I can’t wait to pass on my love of reading and exploring to my daughter.

Last night some wonderful friends of mine threw me and Caroline a second baby shower because nobody was able to make it to the first after the flood. What a fun time! We laughed and played games and I think the whole thing was especially therapeutic because there just haven’t been that many chances to let loose and be silly and laugh amongst friends since the flood. We specified that there should be no gifts, but naturally there were, though I was pleased that the majority of them were….books! Caroline is well on her way to a wonderful library and I am so excited!

Just too appropriate after the flood! I think his name should be Rainy. (Or do you think it’s a her? For some reason I tend to inherently see teddy bears as male…)
Are these not the cutest damn things you’ve ever seen in your life?
Sophie!
Books, books, and more books!
More owls!
Definitely THE coolest! It belonged to a friend’s grandfather and was printed in 1905. If there’s one thing I love more than books, it’s old books. I have a mild obsession.

And though I forgot to take pictures, everyone decorated blank bibs, onesies and socks for Caroline which I thought was just the cutest. I also got a basket of bath goodies, because everyone knows Mommy needs to be pampered too. And a 2-year subscription to Parents (Parenting?) magazine! We had such a fun time and had some great food (one of the girls made a pumpkin spice cake with maple cinnamon frosting, OM NOM NOM) and played games…including one where you had to place a large potato between your knees and waddle over to a glass jar on the floor and deposit the potato inside. It was hysterical. Mostly I was glad to have some time to spend with friends, a few of whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Caroline will be well loved indeed!

The Magic Words

Ah, yes. The magic words every pregnant woman wants to hear, when she’s late in the third trimester and can’t turn over in bed without looking so much like a breeching whale that David Attenborough is knocking at the door hoping to film a documentary on a new species. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what words I’m talking about.

“Could be any day now.”

Sweet hallelujah! There IS a light at the end of this tunnel, even if I can’t actually FIT in said tunnel. Have I mentioned according to my dr’s records I’ve put on 41 pounds since March? Mmmyep. If that doesn’t make a girl feel good I don’t know what does. Pretty soon I will be squeezing into these puppies:

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Anyway, Dr. said the magic words yesterday at our 36 week check. Now, don’t get me wrong, he said it more as an overall “yep, it might happen” rather than an “expect to go into labor right now.” Just a way of saying, yep, it’s almost that time so don’t freak out in case it does. Obviously, we want Caroline to continue incubating as long as possible, so please don’t think I’m chomping at the bit to have her out tomorrow or that I’m going to start thinking of myself as overdue. I know it’s important for her to bake a little longer. I’m only mostly joking. Nevertheless, it is good to hear from the doctor that he’s confident that if she did come, more than likely everything would be just fine.

That being said…do I STILL really have 4 weeks left till my EDD? Fuck me! (However, Dr did say that babies do tend to be born earlier and somewhat smaller than average up here, I’m assuming due to altitude or barometric pressure or thin air or a preponderance of unicorn farts or something scientific like that. Who knows. But maybe it’s true and it won’t be 4 more full weeks. Fingers crossed.)

After giving me the mother of all horrible internal checks (seriously it was awful), Dr declared she is still head down, growing according to schedule, and her heartbeat is slowing down to a good rate. I’m even a tiny bit dilated! Not like that means much at this point but hey, makes me feel good that my body is responding in roughly the way it is supposed to. I also had my Strep-B culture done and thankfully do not need another internal exam until closer to the due date thankyoubabyjesusbecausethatsucks. So that being said, full steam ahead on the Let’s Get This Show on the Road Train.

Relaxing with my stage-5 clinger of a cat on Mount Caroline.

Caroline’s newest trick, by the way? Planting both feet firmly on my ribs ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I am seriously (as in, not even joking) beginning to bruise on my ribs. When I sit up I can feel one or both of her feet pop around the edges of my ribs and Jesus Fuck does that hurt! This morning I almost could not sit up to get out of bed. Please, please, please drop soon. Please.

Oh, and on the subject of dropping. I have had a virtual crew of complete strangers (you know, people you’ve never met before) look at me and say “Wow, you’ve dropped!” I just give them this look like yeah, tell that to my bruising ribs and my inability to breathe when I lie down. If I hear one more stranger tell me I’ve dropped, I’m gonna drop my palm on their face.

hahanojohn

Oh, we booked a “babymoon”! Or, more like… “last date with the two of us not involving a babysitter.” We were sort of planning on doing that last night, because several months ago I bought tickets to see The Book of Mormon in Denver. But, since getting off Isle Estes these days is sort of a pain we would have had to make an overnight out of it, bring the dog with us, stay at my parents’ house, come back early or take time off work, yadda yadda. It had just become a pain, so we sent the tickets to my parents as a birthday present for my mom instead. I was bummed, but happy that they apparently loved it.

Dad enjoying a little musical sacrilege

So, instead, we are going down next Saturday to see a show in Denver and stay at a nice hotel overnight, since we won’t have to rush to get back home. It’ll be our last chance to chill out together, just the two of us, and be out of Estes for a little while…probably for the last time until the baby comes and/or the roads open up, whichever happens first. (My guess is baby.)

Part of my “postpartum goodie bag” package arrived from Walmart last night. (I was hoping it would be my new pair of boots, but no dice. Just part of the Christmas morning-like joy of doing all our shopping online these days.) Oooh yes, definitely getting close now. Because nothing screams “you are either getting ready to have a baby or perform surgery on a small animal” like a box full of giant thunderpads, stool softeners, witch hazel wipes and doggie tinkle pads. My Depends and granny panties are still on backorder. Shucks.

When I got that tattoo I didn’t actually think I would one day get to BE a whale.

8 Months

Single digit weeks left. You’re kidding me, right?

Actually, I’m stuck somewhere between sometimes feeling “holy shit only 8 weeks left aaaaah!” and sometimes feeling “oh my god, 8 more weeks? Hurry up already!”

I am so, so, so very grateful that leggings are still considered fashionable. Thanks fashion gods!
I am so, so, so very grateful that leggings are still considered fashionable. Thanks fashion gods!

I have actually fallen pretty far behind in getting ready, thanks to all the other things that have been going on around here. I still have a small section of wall to paint in the nursery, plus another tree to put up, and we have to obtain the border. At this point I am REALLY grateful we decided to only paint one wall. I also have to finish the letters and get them hung over the crib. Thinking that since Cameron works late tonight, it would really behoove me to use that time to my advantage and get that crap done. Finishing the decorating will also give us a chance to step back and find out what else we need to complete the room as far as organizing goes. We’re already pretty limited on space to put “things” so I was thinking I’d get baskets to put on the wall for books and toys, but what do I do with other things like…the stroller? The bath tub? I seriously need some interior designer to come help me ORGANIZE the space. The other issue is finding a time to actually go and get those things we need, since a 3-hour drive to Denver is not exactly convenient when we need one thing. So since we will be down this weekend for my baby shower, it would probably be pretty smart to stock up on as many things as will fit in our car since I do not want to make another trip down anytime soon. Like, till Christmas.

We were supposed to start our childbirth classes last night, a 3-hour class every week for 5 weeks that would have taken us through childbirth, breastfeeding, and that whole “what do we do with a newborn when we actually have one” part of parenting. Unfortunately, the teacher lives in Berthoud, which is “normally” under an hour away, now 3+ hours away. The teacher really wanted us to get at least the basics of the course, though, so she is planning to come up in October and has arranged for us to do a marathon weekend course. We probably won’t be able to get anything other than the childbirth part of it all, which is something of a bummer, but I suppose better than nothing. It’s not till the middle of October though.

It’s kind of amazing how the flood has caused us to throw just about every plan we had out the window and come up with something else. This is still kind of hard for me to deal with because as I’ve mentioned before, I like to have plans. I like to feel like I have control, and the aftermath of the flooding means losing a lot of control. On Wednesday I read an article on NPR about our hospital and the challenges they are facing with winter coming and 1 of our 2 roads shutting down for the winter at any time. (“They” are saying that Highway 36 will be open by December 1, but I don’t think that’ll really happen and in any case it doesn’t matter much for us as far as the baby goes, assuming she comes when she is supposed to.) We don’t have a NICU at our hospital, which I already knew, but in the past if there were any serious problems, a different hospital with the right equipment was only an hour away by ambulance. Now, the closest hospital is 3-4 hours away by ambulance and the flight for life helicopter is only reliable in good weather, which is up in the air (no pun intended) a lot in the winter. Needless to say, this freaked me out a little. (Okay, a lot. It freaked me out a lot. I spent pretty much all of that night in the fetal position bawling my eyes out because it felt like everything possible was going wrong.) We had our 32-week appointment yesterday, which gave us an opportunity to get straight answers from our OB as far as what kinds of emergencies this hospital can handle and what happens if the “what ifs” happen, that sort of thing. It’s not an ideal situation by any means, but there are options and emergencies will be taken care of. Our doctor explained that the responsibility was pretty much on him to determine ahead of time if we needed to be moved out to a different hospital for pre-term labor or any other complications. He said normally what would be a “wait and see” attitude will now be a “better safe than sorry” attitude. Again, not ideal, but it’s there.

I really hate that the last weeks of this pregnancy are surrounded by so much worry on my part. I know I shouldn’t worry because I can’t control any of it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not or won’t. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night with random twinges and pains I immediately panic that I’m going to go into pre-term labor and we’ll have to be transported to a different hospital and deal with different doctors who don’t know my preferences and everything will be taken out of my hands. I know that’s a really silly way to look at things, but it all goes back to that desire I have internally to be in control and know at least sort of what to expect. The end of pregnancy is always a game of wait and see in which you have no idea what to expect, and that has been hard enough to deal with. Now I have a whole other list of things to deal with, and that sucks. At this point I just want to have it be over, have her be here and know that we’re all going to be safe and sound. It’s a lot of things I can’t control right now–and I absolutely hate that. My OB did remind me yesterday, “It’s my job to worry.” I’m working on that–it’s not exactly going as well as I’d hoped.

By the by, our sump pump is STILL pumping groundwater out of our basement. And it’s raining today. Some days…it’s hard not to feel completely defeated.

Anyway, to end this post on a slightly more positive/amusing note, I’ll share with you a conversation I had with someone the renaissance festival last weekend. He was a vendor selling hair pieces or something like that, and as I walked by his booth, I heard him say…

“My lady, you should not be out in the sun!”

I thought, okay, he’s being nice to the pregnant lady, fine, I’m game. I said, “I’m trying to stick to the shade and stay hydrated.”

He said: “Only one more month left?

Little personal, but whatever. “Two, actually.”

He put on that face…you know the one, the one that says “Oh, shit. I just called her fat.” To his credit, he apologized. I said it was fine. And then, JUST when he was about to dig himself out, he said…

“Two, really? Wow, you’re going to be huge!”

Way to go, man. Way. To. Go. If I’d been on the ball a little more I would have asked him how the bottom of his foot tasted, but I was so taken aback the only thing I could do was blink and walk away.

What do you mean this blankie isn’t for me?

Escape

This last weekend, Caroline and I (and my parents) went to Santa Fe. It was a very much-needed escape from Estes Park. Cameron had to stay behind to get his store opened back up, but since he was busy and there was a road out of town, I figured I would take advantage of it and got out of dodge.

The reasoning was mostly emotional. The last week had been such a wild roller coaster that I really needed a break. I have, just like everyone else up here, been going through a sort of grieving process after the floods. Nobody here was left unaffected in some way, whether big or small. I saw so many people going through the different stages of grieving last week and it was getting hard for me to handle because I still wasn’t coping myself. Town is opening back up and people are getting back to “normal” but there’s still a LOT of people who are displaced, without running water, electricity, phones, their houses…it’s a lot going on. Cameron’s Starbucks reopened on Saturday, which I think will be a help to a lot of people because it allows them a place to be if they need some normalcy. Anyway, after last week I was emotionally wrecked and exhausted and when the opportunity to get out presented itself, I took it. 

My parents and I go to Santa Fe every September to attend the yearly renaissance festival there, so that was the primary motivation for the trip. I was hoping to be able to go to the faire both days as is the norm, but I found out pretty early on Saturday that it just wasn’t going to happen. My endurance in the last few weeks has really tanked, probably another side effect of all the emotional upheaval I’ve gone through lately. By 11 that morning my feet were just killing me and I was not doing great in the heat (even though it was only in the low 70s). I actually went back to the hotel around 2 and had to lie down and go back to pick up my parents later. It was just harder than I thought it would be, so clearly I under-estimated this whole eight-months-pregnant thing!

Sunday I opted not to go back to the faire because I was really concerned about overdoing it especially being so far from home. (It’s about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Santa Fe to my parents’ house, and now because of the roads, another 2 1/2 hours to Estes.) I took my parents back to the faire and then spent the rest of the morning on the old town plaza. If you’re not in the know, Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in the country, and some of the buildings there date back 400 years. So it’s pretty neat if you’re a history nerd like myself. I spent some time in the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum where I was really intrigued by a display called “tesoro de devocion/treasures of devotion” and it was full of sculptures and paintings of Jesus and other important Catholic figures done by Hispanic/Spanish artists all the way back into the 1500s. I’m not religious at all but the mythology of religion at large interests me, so it was cool to see a different spin on the traditional Christian figures. After that I walked over to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi and the Loretto Chapel. Again, not religious, but church architecture amazes me and the Loretto is sort of the holy grail of amazing design. Inside this (relatively) small chapel is this spiral staircase that they call the “Miraculous” staircase. Basic rundown of this story, in the late 1870s there was no way for the sisters to climb from the chapel up into the loft, so they put out a call for a carpenter to come and build them a staircase. No one came, so finally in desperation they did a novena (or however that goes, my knowledge of Christian rituals is fairly limited) and on the last day of the novena, a carpenter arrived with nothing but his tool belt and a donkey. He proceeded to build this amazingly beautiful spiral staircase without a single piece of “hardware”, no nails, nothing. It makes 3 360 degree turns seemingly without any support whatsoever. He refused any offer of payment and when he was finished, he left without a word. Naturally I’m sure you can see where the idea of the “miraculous” comes in, and the whole thing really is spectacular however it came to be built. The railings have since been added because the sisters were afraid to walk up it without them, and today it is only used for photo ops for weddings and things like that, and the chapel itself is similarly only used for weddings and special services, which allows it to stay in pretty pristine condition for being well over 200 years old. It was pretty remarkable.

I spent the rest of the day taking advantage of the WalMart there, since Cameron needed some new shoes and unless we order things it could be weeks until we get down the hill again. I ended up picking up a few pairs of leggings (thank you thank you thank you fashion gods for deciding leggings are still popular) since it has been quite chilly at home and I needed something warmer than skirts. I also went to Home Depot and bought another sump pump, since it would be stupid not to have a backup (ours has still been running constantly for nearly 2 weeks) and I’m pretty sure no one in Colorado has any right now (again, unless we order it we’d have to wait to go get it anyway) it seemed like a good time to take advantage of the opportunity. Monday morning we packed up the hotel room, had breakfast, and went back up to the plaza to visit 2 of my parents’ favorite stores, a Christmas shop and a super-hippie store, neither of which I’d ever been to. I picked up a couple doodads at the Christmas store and a bumper sticker at the hippie store that reads “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” (Every year my parents bring me back a good one; the last few years it’s been the quote “Well-behaved women rarely make history” or whatever the actual quote is, I think I might be paraphrasing that.) Anyhoo, after that we headed up north. The ride back was a lot more uncomfortable than it was going down, I think in large part to Caroline shifting down lower than normal. I also think the leggings I was wearing were a little too tight because by the time we got home my feet looked like massive sausages…

I waited till this morning to come back to Estes since the drive is so long these days. It meant leaving really early so I could get to work at a semi-decent time, but it’s good to be home, or at least in the same location as my husband. I’m not necessarily crazy about being here still, but it’s with him and that’s good enough for me. I pretty much came straight to work, so I still have to unpack and go to the laundromat (because of the sump pump our washer is still out of commission, since we don’t want to overload the pipes) and go grocery shopping after work today. So much for vacation right? Maybe if I’m lucky today I will get some writing done before I totally poop out. I have to go back down on Saturday for my baby shower, though it seems with the floods the majority of the people (who are in Estes) won’t be able to come, so it looks like it will be a pretty small affair, more family than anything. I think I’ll be staying down there since nearly 6 hours of driving in one day to attend a 3-hour party sounds lousy, but Cameron will probably come down Sunday to watch football with us and then we can caravan back home together that afternoon. Having to take such a circuitous route out of Estes is going to get really old really fast, so I hope some other route might open up soon…the earliest we’ve heard for Highway 36 is December 1, and I doubt we’ll be going anywhere at that point no matter how long it takes to get there.

But at least for the time being, I have this outside my window….

What to say

Wow. What a crazy past few days. There are still many to come, I fear.

I’m still working on how to wrap my head around it all. As is probably obvious, we do have our Internet restored at home. It came back on this morning, and our cell service was restored today too. It is definitely a huge plus to be able to connect with people–for a few days we were literally cut of as well as figuratively cut off from the whole world and it was not a fun experience. Still isn’t. 

I suppose I should say that it’s not just Estes that has been affected by these floods. Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins, Aurora, Commerce City, Greeley and all the farmland in between….it’s a vast, vast amount of area that is currently affected by this disaster. We were sort of the “high point” of the flooding–our rivers overflowing contributed to the mass flooding from Loveland and everywhere east from there, but flooding out of the Poudre River and Boulder Canyon also did a lot of damage. Last I read, something like 19,000 homes have been lost and more than 1000 people are still unaccounted for. I think 6 people are confirmed to have died and the number is expected to go up. The scope of the loss in so many different kinds of categories is still impossible to sit down and look at a list of it all because it is evolving still. It’ll probably be weeks before we can look back at this event and understand it all.

The future is still sort of uncertain, too. I’ll put the pictures below because there’s just no way I can describe it in words, but the roads that come up this way are gone. Literally gone. Washed away by water. It is so difficult to imagine and looking at the pictures don’t really help because it is SO surreal. At the town meeting I went to yesterday we were told to expect 6 months to wait for the road from Longmont/Boulder to be repaired, and up to an entire YEAR for the road from Loveland to Estes to be repaired. Right now the only ways in/out of Estes are by going over Trail Ridge Road, or down part of Highway 7 through Allenspark, out to Nederland, and then to Central City which dumps you onto I-70. Both of these roads are (for the time being) limited to emergencies, deliveries, and residents of Estes Park. You can get out either way, but you have to prove that you live here to get back. No idea how long that will go on. It will also take you HOURS to get to Denver through either of these ways, but it is an option if you absolutely have to. 

Obviously, this has all been really overwhelming. When I woke up on Thursday after listening to the rain pour all night, I checked my Facebook and saw nothing but people saying that evacuation notices had gone out and that the canyons had been evacuated overnight. We had been warned that some flooding might occur since we were seeing an unprecedented amount of rain, but I don’t think anyone ever thought it would be this bad. All signs said that the river was on the rise and it was going to be bad. I contacted my office and they said to just stay put until we knew more about what the river was going to do. Cameron went over to the Starbucks to see the status of the river there. When he went in at 8:00 or so, it was about to come over the sidewalk. By the time he left about 2 hours later, it was coming up to the back door. He stayed to help sandbag with some other businesses on the strip and then came home to contact all his employees and make sure they were okay. We continued watching the news throughout the day and were just more and more distraught as it continued to get worse and worse. At 1:30, I went down to the laundry room to get dressed to go to an OB appointment and realized that there was groundwater coming up the stairs. The whole laundry room/crawlspace had flooded about 4 inches. We worked on getting it pumped out and we’re staying dry thank goodness, though still even now the pump has been running 24 hours a day since then just because the ground is so saturated that the bedrock has nowhere to send the water. We received an entire year’s worth of moisture in about 2 days.

So now, the cleanup begins. The river has mostly receded now, but there are still some places that are totally water-logged. Businesses downtown have to clean up and be inspected to ensure they are clean and up to code and safe too, because who knows if the water could have damaged foundations or anything like that. The future is very uncertain as to what will happen to the town at large because we are so cut off and could be for a while to come. We likely won’t be having the kinds of tourism that usually sustains us through the winter simply because many people will find it too inconvenient to get here. So the future really will be a moving target for a lot of people who live up here and especially those who have businesses. Everything really has to be taken one day at a time.

As for us, I’m really grateful that we made out okay and better than many have. We did not have to be evacuated by helicopter or zip line or elevated truck by the National Guard like so many people did. Our house is totally fine–many people in town can’t go home for months, let alone people who lived in the canyons. We only had a small amount of flooding, nothing was damaged, we never lost power or clean water and we have plenty of food. We do have my parents’ dog with us who was supposed to go home to them on Wednesday, but it looks like he could be with us for at least 2 more weeks. That’s fine, with the exception that he has medication he has to take, and he only had so much of it because we weren’t expecting him to be with us for so long. We are currently working with the Safeway pharmacy in town to see if they will be able to fill a prescription for him so that he can at least have his medication until we manage to get him home. It’s also something of a waiting game right now to see when we can both go back to work. I mean, not like I love work so much I’d rather be there than home, but it would definitely help with regaining a sense of normalcy. It’s been an overwhelming mental challenge more than anything for me. I was already so low emotionally/hormonally going into this whole event and it definitely did not help. Feeling cut off from the world was hard. Now that we can at least have internet and phone access, it feels easier, but it’s still frightening to think about the fact that we are pretty isolated. Shoot, my baby shower is in two weeks and it could take me hours just to get to it. It’s been a lot to handle and probably way harder than it normally would have been just by virtue of also being 7 1/2 months pregnant.

So, anyway. That’s where we are as of right now. I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on out. Most of these I took myself, but if not, I’ll point that out.

The significance of this picture is that all of this is normally a field in front of the Estes Dam.
Photo courtesy of the Estes Park News
Photo courtesy of the Estes Park News
I’m not sure who took this photo, but it’s an aerial view of Highway 34, one of our major lifelines to Estes.
Photo courtesy of the Estes Park News