March 16th is the day freaking everything got turned upside down.
Missy and I were running a 5k in Glenwood. The state of Glenwood/Pacific Junction at that point was kind of fear of the unknown - everyone was talking about the river level, as it was starting to break from it's barriers. The interstate was already closed and Missy and I had to take the back road into town (the road I always used to drive on drunk because I didn't think the cops would find me).
We ran our race, and then were tooling around town - we had breakfast and were doing some shopping. Then my mom called, telling me my Grandpa was freaking out about his antique stoves, and he had rented a trailer to get them loaded up in case the flood waters got to his house. Thinking he was over-reacting and immediately annoyed how those stoves are always his top priority, I went to his house (poor Missy). He loaded three antique stoves into a huge trailer and the rest of it sat empty. They took the trailers into a driveway in Glenwood.
I took Missy home, then met my sisters in Council Bluffs to go to a craft fair. Mom called me. She was losing her mind. The mayor and the sheriff had come to her door and told her to prepare for evacuation. She said I didn't need to come down and help. My sisters and I continued our shopping, meanwhile my mom called every one of us on repeat. Finally I told her I was coming down there.
When I got there, there was a hodge podge of shit covering the kitchen table and the counters. We packed up most of it into my car - I say "most of it" because some of it I convinced her she didn't need to save. A vanilla candle? An empty basket? Really Mom? We are supposed to be packing the essentials just IN CASE of a flood. She agreed she was acting a bit ridic, but my mom is always a bit ridic. So add the threat of a flood to it and WOW.
My sister Kate came to help me, and we went over to my grandparents...where they were just sitting in their recliners, watching the news like they always are. Let me try to paint a picture for you - the entire town (which is like five streets, but still) was LOSING THEIR MINDS. Everyone was running from the house to their cars with stuff. Even the people who didn't believe anything was going to happen were outside, making fun of the people who were freaking out. Everyone was outside. My grandparents were not.
My mom had transferred her crazy to her parents house, and now my aunt was there as well. Both were being very vocal about Grandma and Grandpa needing to pack up their stuff. It was not being well recieved. Grandma said she would just stay and let the flood take her....(and the Oscar goes to...).
Kate and I got Grandma off to ourselves. We said you're right, nothing is probably going to happen - but in the event something did, what sorts of things would she want to save? Then we got to work, collecting antiques and little things here and there. We packed up Kate's truck, constantly making comments to ourselves that this was all a waste of time and we would just be bringing all the stuff back down to PJ the next day.
We did not bring the stuff back to PJ the next day.
Or the next day. Or the next day.
PJ sat under water for a month. The water came in, and it came in fierce. And then it refused to go down.
I fucking hate water.
It has been the longest month of my life. Last weekend, my family was finally able to return to their homes, and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. Pictures do not do it justice. Everything was covered in dirt and this weird, slippery film. I was so scared to see a dead animal, or dead fish. And the smell was like death and shit and rot and death.
I wish so many things. I wish my prayers had been answered, and I wish my relationship with God hasn't been so tested I'm not sure what to believe anymore. I wish I had been nicer that Saturday. I wish we would have packed more stuff. I wish we would have utilized that stupid trailer better. I wish I had been nicer that Saturday.
I hate water.