Sunday, October 09, 2005

Not so lucky afterall

Today was tough.

Constantine and I spent the morning clearing the debris and trash from the front of our house while a friend of ours took a chain saw to the back garden and cleared away a pair of fallen trees.

By 11 a.m., we were starving. A Salvation Army truck arrived just in time. You would have thought it was a truck carrying ice cream. The truck stopped in the middle of our block and within a couple of minutes there was a crowd of about 10 people around it from a few surrounding blocks. We each were given a hot lunch of beef stew, bread, rice crispies treat, Crunch chocolate bar and a bottle of water.

The tough stuff came after lunch when Constantine and I opened the bottom garage/storage area under the house and started cleaning.

Our house originally was built on the ground, but around the turn of the century it was raised about 12 feet, leaving a complete copy of the upstairs space underneath. We've always used the space for storage, but have planned to build the back half out as a spare guest apartment.

Until today, we thought only a little water had entered the bottom floor. But as we sifted though boxes, we quickly figured out that the water level must have reached more than a foot and a half.

We lost a lot of stuff, including boxes of personal records, books, albums, mementos from childhood and college, furniture, appliances still in their boxes that we had bought for the apartment, most of our camping equipment and a really nice home gym that we never got the chance to set up.

Nearly everything that got wet had mold on it. And the standing water that we found was slimy and putrid.

The hardest moment for me came when I found two particular boxes. One contained a few reminders of my days in high school marching band, including the hat I wore as a drum major - now damp and growing mold.

The other box contained all of my clips from my first two jobs. Since both of those jobs predated computerized newspaper libraries, the clips were my only record of my work during the first part of my career. Everything in the box was soaked and growing mold. I thought about trying to pull clips out and dry them, but I couldn't bear doing that. So I just quickly tossed the box into the growing mountain of trash in front of the house.

I feel silly feeling so badly about old stuff stored in boxes when I'm so lucky to have come out of this with my life largely intact. Still, it's frustrating to be feeling new losses six weekBlogger: ScoopZone - Create Posts after the storm hit. It sort of makes me think that I'll be going through this process over and over again for months to come.

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