Friday, May 2, 2008

Postcard from the Flood Zone

This post is a little outside of what I normally write about, but I just wanted you all to know what was up in Fredericton.

If you know anyone who has lived in Fredericton all their lives, you probably have heard a story or two about the flood of '73. My family and I are relative newbies to the city but I have definitely heard many tales of canoeing down this or that downtown street, etc. The flood of '73 is quite the local legend. So it feels somewhat exciting to be in the middle of what will definitely become a new legend...I can just imagine telling my grandkids about the flood of aught eight. I really hope I don't still live here then, though.

Even though I work and live downtown, I didn't really think I would be that affected. But I guess the fact that I'm writing this from New Maryland says otherwise. Luckily EN (my partner) is housesitting a place out here, so we have a refuge from the water.

We left Wednesday night, when after dinner and drinks in one of the few restaurants still open downtown, our landlord asked us not to flush the toilet or use the drains. A bit of flooding in the basement, you see. We took off that night - our street was already closed, and the water seemed to be only getting higher.

Yesterday morning we came back into town to rescue the cats, and perishable food since we were afraid they might have turned off our power (they being the power company, not the cats). Because our street was closed, we had to come at our house from behind, where a path connects it to the walking trail. All fine, except our backyard was a lake. It turns out they were pumping all the water out of the house into the backyard, so we had to wade through a foot of icy cold, foul-smelling water to get to the house. We repacked our bags with clean clothes, packed up the perishable food and the cats (I still have the battle scars from that), and waded back through the gross water. The basket of food was heavy, but I was glad I wasn't carrying the cats (who could stand to eat less). It definitely wasn't a pleasant experience, but when EN asked me if I wanted him to make two trips, so I didn't have to carry anything, I was actually able to laugh. We've done worse, I reminded him. On that Costa Rica trip I mentioned last week, we carried heavier things along longer paths.

Getting the cats out and to a safe place (EN's parents house) was definitely not the least fun thing we did yesterday. I got a call from SL (the clinic manager) who wanted us to come help her fight back the rising water in the basement. We went over and helped to carry medical equipment to higher places while the plumber installed a second sump pump. We sloshed our way through the basement to throw out wet cardboard boxes. JB bought the last two shop vacs at the hardware store, and we spent a good two hours just sucking up water. It was a lot more uncomfortable than it sounds. We'll be back there again today, as the water kept rising and the second sump pump faltered last night.

So in conclusion, living (and working) in the flood zone is no fun. I can only really think about how thankful I am that I'm privileged enough to have a place to stay, and that our actual house isn't flooded. And I'm just really glad the cats are safe.

Oh and I had to postpone my rally (the anti-C-484 one) to next Saturday (May 10), because I really don't think City Hall will be in great shape by tomorrow. And I heard they're cancelling the market tomorrow as well.


punkysockmonkey said...

Glad to hear everyone is making it through. I'm almost sorry I'm not there to see it. I've been watching the news closely and the footage looks crazy!

Anonymous said...

Floods suck.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're making it through too. It's been pretty crazy, though we were lucky to be on a high floor not in the path.