Thursday, November 27, 2008

And the waters came

Last Thursday morning, JR and I were rudely awoken by what we thought was some stoopid person's car alarm going off. By the third sounding of the alarm, I stomped out of bed, went to the curtains to *see* the stoopid car and stoopid person with my very own 4am eyes. I looked out into our street, and noticed flashing. And water in the middle of the street. Gee, the drain's not dealing well with the rain tonight, I thought. The drain right out the front of our house ...
Something else weird occurred to me, and made me turn on some lights and look downstairs. And what I saw was brown, not the lovely terracotta tile brown, but tidal river silt mud brown. I woke up John, and our day started, at 4am, in PJs, police siren going off in the street, with a couple of inches of water throughout our downstairs. We went downstairs to look at the damage (luckily? the power was still on, and our lights were fine). Boxes, bookshelves, scrapbooking gear, photos, newspaper, hidden presents, piano ... all already wet. I pulled some scrapbooking stuff up onto tables and onto chairs, and resigned myself to rest being wet and gone. John looked at what was in the big room, including his piano. We came back upstairs and looked out at the street. We noticed neighbours on their verandahs, looking out at one another. What to do?? We also noticed people moving their cars -what a good idea! JR's Mustang is pretty low; so we moved the cars up to the next street, much higher than our house. I packed an evacuation bag for M, in case we had to send her off to .. somewhere ... grandparents, I suppose.
I suddenly thought that if the water got much higher my four power sort boxes (each with about 2400 photos in them) and however many completed albums were not going to be safe, so I started taking them to my car, ready to be evacuated with M if necessary. Somewhere in all of that, I texted a few family members who use their mobiles. We rang the SES or Emergency Services - we'd had no instructions from the police, and didn't know if we needed to evacuate. They had no instructions for us. What should we do??

The water got to about 4 bricks up, around 5 or so inches. At some point Mum arrived to help out. Sometime after 5/5:30, we could tell the water was going down. I got help from a neighbour to sweep the water out, together with JR and Mum. Some phone calls to Ann & Derwent, Dad read his SMS, and soon we had lots of helping hands to sweep, mop, wring, lay out, move, throw.
Dad brought a trailer. Two loads of now rubbish were taken to the dump. Brett decided to skip the cricket, and Lexie brought over some of their handy equipment (Brett's better stocked than Bunnings).
M slept until after 7. When she woke up, I skipped out on the clean up to focus on her. She was so excited to wake up to a house with MorMor, Grandma and Grandad in it! :)
Thank goodness for daycare, I took her in to the centre, got coffee for the troops on the way home, and joined back in with the cleaning effort. We cleaned all day. Again and again in some cases, the floor just not drying before we once again trudged dirty shoes across i. I got vicious with what I threw out; luckily my Dad looked through some of what he pulled out of the trailer at the dump ... my birth certificate and BA degree were in one of the folders I refused to look through, as I didn't want to agonise over every piece of wet paper.

Thursday night was promising another big storm, so we had to try to get what we could dry, and UP, but then also pack it away or inside before the next deluge. Thanks to our family and friends, we got it done, but on Thursday night I wasn't able to greet the pinging sound of the rain on our iron roof with my usual glee. We survived Thursday night's storm without any further flooding.
Friday and the rest of the weekend were filled with cleaning up (oh, and a work Christmas party Friday night, which did little to help *ahem* energy levels on Saturday!), but at a slower pace, and again, with friends and family helping. Brisbane was meant to get a BIG storm on Saturday night, which luckily did not eventuate.
At this stage, JR's piano is the biggest item that is a write-off. Strings got wet, and the piano tuner/repair man said the repair job would be equivalent to the worth of the piano, with an unpredictable result. We're waiting for the insurance assessor to inspect our house still. Oh, and the weirdest thing - we left the bottom of a big bookshelf/display case from my CM studio in the front yard on Saturday. It went missing. From inside the fence line.

After all this stress, worry, and cleaning (anyone will tell you it's not my favourite activity - I'd rather iron than clean!), we are still grateful:

  • for our house still being habitable, and not needing to move out
  • for losing mainly "things", and nothing too super precious (yes, we'll miss some of those things for some time, but things are not our life)
  • for not having carpet anywhere, and lots of towels and terry nappies for mopping, cleaning, and wiping feet on
  • for not losing our roof or having the massive Moreton Bay Fig from next door falling on our house
  • for having wonderful friends and family who we can text/call in the wee hours of the morning and will take the day off work or not go to the cricket when they have a BOX organised, and borrow equipment from friends to help us out, and not want anything more than a hug in thanks (and yes, if my house ever floods again, I will call you, and call more of you, not just text like three people at 4:30am)
  • for the stinky mud silty creek water not being in our house for that long (yeah, it still smells, but not as bad as if we still had stinky water in the house)
  • for the conditions not being a repeat of the 1974 flood, because everything would have been under stinky water!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flood pics

I can't be bothered fighting with blogger to get these pics in chronological order. Just wanted to get some up so you can see the damage we've had (and we are very blessed and thankful that unlike so many other Brisbane residents, we have a roof, we can still live in our house, our only power outage was due to JR turning off the mains). Will post more later.

Water mark on bricks in garage.
CM studio at front of house, after most water had flowed/been pushed out.

View of our clothesline and neighbour's yard

View of our back yard from the deck.

View of our front yard - fairly early on, about 4:30am


Garage before we took the cars up to higher ground.

Other downstairs room, as we are surveying the water levels. Tip: paper/cardboard and water do not mix. ;)

Floor of CM studio room after we woke up.

First view of the water, internal stairs. Ahead is the garage, to the left is the room with the bookshelves and boxes, and to the right is my CM studio.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BIIIG Girl's Bed

At the beginning of the month, I finally rang my uncle (M's great-uncle Scott) and asked about picking up the bed he put aside for M when she was about two months old, when my cousin S was graduating to a bigger bed. Uncle Scott brought the bed over one Sunday afternoon, and he and JR quickly pulled the cot apart and assembled the bed. I had thought we should be good parents and try to transition M gently into the big bed, but one look at the cot, the bed, the chest of drawers, the change table and her 2mx2m room, and I realised it wasn't all going to fit in there.

So, another case where we threw the new situation at M and hoped she'd cope. And as we waved Scott and S goodbye at about 4:30 in the afternoon, another realisation hit me - we don't own any single bed sheets. Until the cot entered our house, we only ever had sheets for our bed. Oops! So I checked if Big W would be open, and got there quick smart. I picked up a set of sheets and mattress protector, and even managed to wash and dry them before M went to bed (a bit late). The sheets only just fit, but M was very excited to get into her big girl's bed. Thanks to the Kubies, we have a rail to protect her from rolling out - very essential with such a tall bed and mattress, and our polished wood floors. M is loving her new bed, and I had fun finding some sheets and a quilt cover on the weekend (but the actual quilt will probably wait until next Winter).

M needs a stool to get up into bed - seriously, the top of the mattress is perhaps one-two inches shorter than the top of Matilda's head! And so far, in the morning she hasn't figured out that she can get out of bed without our help. I wonder how long that will last?

Climbing up on the stool

I'm up!

The bed, complete with mossie net thingamajig

M's first night in the bed went quite well, except for the blood-curdling screaming at 2am. Since then, I don't think she's had a night where she hasn't woken at all, but hopefully we'll get back to our "routine" of her only waking up (and only waking Mumma up) every third night ... or so ...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Teething much?

The other night, we were the Worst Parents in The World, and didn't have a meal ready for Matilda by 6pm. Because when all adults get home at around 5:45, having M's dinner ready by 6 means it's bolognaise or risotto or something else made in bulk and parts of it frozen (note to self: perhaps that's why M doesn't respond well to fresh veges or meats??). JR fairly quickly put together some fried rice with chicken for our girl. Out came the frozen peas, which were left on the bench a little too long for our tall girl. This is what happened:
Between the fervent gnawing on frozen peas and the stinky nappies recently, perhaps a certain someone is getting her 2 year old molars?

Adding: Blogger's spellchecker didn't recognise bolognaise and suggested bologna instead. Didn't think bolognaise was so Aussie? (Calling it "bol" or "bog" perhaps is!!)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Colouring Pens were Yummy

Thanks for the cool colouring-in pens, Lou, Ash, and J. I really like them. Mumma and Dadda have been telling me how I need to be green, but it seems they meant I should be recycling my works of art, not wanting every light bulb turned on at night, and ensuring I don't drive in my SUV every time I want a hit of milk. I thought they meant it literally. But seriously, the pens are yummy. I just can't understand why Mumma and Dadda took them away from me and made me wash my face?