Hey Noah, where you at?
You know those once-in-a-life experiences that are purely terrifying in the moment, but then become really cool stories once the shock wears off? Hello, I'm Jenny Bravo and I survived a flood.
Before I start this story, I'd like to point out that while I'm partially making light of this situation, I'm fully aware that there were people who suffered from this, and I'm thinking and praying for you. If you read this, I hope this brings you the smallest bit of relief.
And now, that time that I survived the flood with Mr. Preparedness, aka my dad.
It started out like another normal day...
Apart from the fact that I was working from home. And I was fully aware that a flood was coming my way. In my defense, this is a historic event that maybe will happen once in every 200 years.
Because my house isn't in a flood zone, I wasn't really checking outside, despite the scary news clips from cities north of me that were currently underwater.
Mom said: "Hey, want to come to lunch?"
Me, making a huge mistake, said: "No, I'll stay here since I only have an hour lunch break."
P.S. This is what happens when you are a rule follower. Beware, all of you goodie two shoes.
Until it wasn't.
Are you sensing the drama here? I'm really going for a Day After Tomorrow vibe.
Anyway, at some point, I decided to look outside. Turns out the river, which normally keeps to himself across the street, had decided to go crazy and swallow my whole driveway and backyard.
I slipped into some heavy-duty rain boots and found myself ankle-deep in water, right outside my front door. For a split second, I thought, "Okay... what happens now?"
That's when I saw my two, ridiculously large golden retrievers splashing around in their kennel.
Cut to me trying to lasso these two pups onto their leashes, as they have the time of their lives splashing around in the super questionable water.
Fight or flight?
Me, on the phone with Mom: "So, I'm standing in the street, holding an open gas can that just floated into our driveway. What happens now?"
Mom, being more chill than I am: "I think you should try to leave."
Here come the neighbors! They drive past me in their pickup trucks and tell me that the National Guard said it was safe to leave, if I did so right now. Yes, you heard that correctly. The. National. Guard.
Being from Louisiana, this isn't the first time I've had to flee my house. It's never been this quickly before. You run around like a crazy person, trying to gather whatever you think you can't live without, then pray you get away safely.
I grabbed my laptop. And every birthday card and journal I've kept since childhood. (Have I mentioned I'm a writer? Priorities.)
So this happened...
Have you ever driven over water? A substantial amount of it? I know that the water couldn't have been that high. However, as I was driving over it, hearing it slosh against the doors and feeling it pushing me forward, it felt like I was in the boat with Pi. (Life of Pi, that is.)
There was one patch of deep water that I definitely shouldn't have risked, but there I went. As I saw the very last stretch of water, I watched this smaller car zoom through, the water halfway up the sides.
I wasn't going to make it through that.
Me, on the phone with Dad: "I'm stuck. I can't go forward. I can't go backward. I have to leave my car on the road."
Dad, as he pulls his truck up to the dry side of the road, just out of my reach: "I can't go through that. I can't get to you."
This incited a brief moment of panic for me. Again, I'm a writer, so I tend to make up stories about my everyday life. This story involved me and the two dogs, floating in a kayak down the river in the dead of night. This fear would become somewhat realistic later on in the night. We'll get there.
This moment passed quickly as I saw my dad park his truck and wade through the water to get to me.
Dad says: "Your truck should be safe here. Grab your stuff."
I grab my overnight bag, purse and my Hamilton CD and head out.
And then we waited forever.
By the time we got home, my entire left boot was filled with water. Because our house is raised, the water hadn't reached the house, but there was a very real possibility that it was going to keep rising fast.
My dad's phone was ringing nonstop. While he talked to neighbors and concerned family members, I decided to start moving things upstairs.
What do you do if you have who-knows-how-much-time to move everything you love upstairs?
Well, I plucked every photo of the walls and shelves. You betcha, that's what I did. I moved childhood memorabilia, books, whatever I could mindlessly move upstairs. After about thirty-ish trips, I decided to take a break.
Dad, to me: "Good news is that the water hasn't risen in thirty minutes. We'll keep watching. If it gets bad, we'll get in the kayak."
Keep in mind, it's dark by now. We live in a wooded area, and I'd already heard news about someone drowning from trying to evacuate without help. I did the math: one kayak + one full grown man + one twenty-something + two oversized dogs = no good.
I told him okay, but in my mind, I was already making plans to call the emergency line before I would be strapped into a life jacket.
Thankfully, we didn't need to resort to the kayaking-through-the-night adventure. I know you're disappointed.
By midnight, the water had receded a few inches, so I could sleep somewhat comfortably. By that I mean waking up every few hours to check out the front door to make sure I wouldn't be swimming with the fish. By morning, the water was completely gone.
It was like the water had never even existed. Again, we were really lucky. The rest of the weekend was relatively better, apart from having to wait 2 1/2 hours for my mom to be evacuated from my cousins' neighborhood, and now I have this cool story to tell.
Here's to dry land and Dad's emergency clothes stashed in the back of his truck.
P.S. This is by far the most important piece of the story. If you'd like to donate to helping out those who were severely impacted by the flood, you can do so over here.