But I promise no soaps or bon bons were consumed in the wasting of time.

Well, I’ve been off work for two weeks now. I wanted to get some more blogging time in, but somehow I’ve been writing less and my reader is still just under 300 unread items. Curses, foiled again.

*twirls mustache*

Damn, is it time to wax again already?

So… busybusybusy. I’ve applied for a couple graphic designer positions here in town. The whole month of June, Rocky had percussion lessons every day 3-4pm and his regular drum lessons every Wednesday so I had literally hours of taxi-ing around to do. I’ve managed to keep the boys from killing each other somehow. I’ve been out almost every day taking pictures. I spent a couple days making party favors for a wedding. A few days were wasted flat on my back watching DVDs while I was trying to mend. So while I’m frustrated that I haven’t accomplished as much in the last 14 business days as I wanted to, at least I can kind of account for my time, I s’pose.

I spent some time down at The Mission of Hope where Hunky gets paid for 20 hours a week then volunteers another 20-30 more hours past that. Yesterday I helped make tuna noodle casserole for about 75 people.

Our church set up free daycare to help people who have nowhere to take their children while they clean out their flooded home or had their daycare provider wiped out by the flood. Today I spent my day in a roomful of three and four year olds. O my dear Lord, I forgot… I forgot the potty-ing, and the snot, and the apple juice and the food at least every two hours, and the squealing and crying and whining and kicking. I forgot the pretend tea, the wet kisses, the unbridled joy of a belly laugh; the relief of smiling down at a sweetly (finally!!) sleeping angel passed out on your chest. Still… on the way home I almost stopped at the urologist who did Hunky’s vasectomy and kissed him full on the mouth.

I have manymanymany pictures of the flood aftermath to share with ya’ll. I’ll be putting up a few every day for awhile and telling you a little bit about them. Depressing? Most. Necessary? I think so. Nature’s ability to completely blow your mind? You’ll see. Pictures are decidedly not shiny happy shit or flowers pretty as a princess, but it’ll make you stop and think, and most important, count your blessings.

Some of these shots really do live up to the old adage “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” but you really can’t understand the devastation unless you’re here, seeing block after block of ruined homes with huge piles of house contents out front, smelling the moldy sourness, hearing the eerie silence of an abandoned neighborhood, feeling deep puddles of sand shift under your feet where there was once clean sidewalk. I’m attempting to bring a little bit of this to you. Hell, even as I’m immersed in it, I can’t quite wrap my brain all the way around this disaster. I am even contemplating taking more short video in an attempt to communicate more effectively to you the intensity of the experience. So maybe you go on a little motorcycle ride with HunkyDory in a couple days. I take bribes. Tens and twenties, please.

I’m a little ashamed to say I haven’t taken the opportunity to help clean out a flooded home. I’ve volunteered for flood victims, but I haven’t personally had to hold someone up as they weep over priceless family heirlooms and photos. For every picture, there’s real people completely devastated, but doing their best to keep on. There’s a neighbor helping another neighbor carry heavy ruined furniture to the curb. There’s a real person using their own money and time to take their grill to the middle of a ravaged section of town to cook up free hot dogs and hamburgers for weary people working to bring some semblance of normalcy back. There’s Missions that double their hours and volunteers to serve the flood victims with hot meals and ice cold water, encouragement and prayer, clothes and even a warm bed when the hotel says they can’t rent anymore due to previously booked events. There’s small children who can’t understand why their routine is shattered or why they can’t see their daycare person every day or why they can’t just go back home. There’s real people pissed off because someone is driving through their neighborhood to gawk but not doing anything to help them. There’s people working to get victims’ pets back to them after rescuing them with a boat. There’s senior citizens that went without help because service organizations were underwater. There’s people who have lost their home, and when they try to get an apartment, they find that if they don’t hand over security deposit plus first month’s rent right that very moment, they will lose that opportunity. Or worse, that rent has risen 25% not because of improvements done or repairs made, but simply because the market can take it due to supply vs. demand.

Please, please go to www.corridorrecovery.org to see how you can help, no matter where you’re from. These are all real people with real ruined homes, businesses, and lives that will appreciate your help more than you can possibly know. Their need doesn’t go away with the headlines.

This round of pics was taken 06-19-08, just a few days after the flood surged then receded. Downtown had services rolling in from all over the country to get businesses cleaned and dried out. People had just begun being let back into their neighborhoods to start recovery.


Disaster recovery businesses are coming from many different states,
due to the volume of service that is needed surpasses the amount of service
that local businesses can provide. 

At this point, the power hadn’t been restored and no traffic lights were working.
This meant that every single intersection had to be treated like a four way stop
which suuuUUUuuucked since downtown you can’t go more than a block
without meeting a traffic light.

Click through to hover for note


The force of the currant broke this glass on the lamp of the courthouse steps

The current broke this concrete…

…and then sucked it underneath

Huge dumpsters, caution tape, and windows boarded with plywood line almost every street

This is my friend ‘Big Bird’. They call him that because he’s 6’5″. He almost had to tiptoe to show you the water line on Smulekoff’s building.

Yet another distressing example of “um, that don’t s’pose to be there”

You can’t tell very well from this pic, but
the wall is caved in, the window glass is broken, and window frame is bent.


The roof of someone’s shed in the backyard of a downtown business

An underground gas storage tank busted up through the concrete

Click through and check out the note

Everything’s got to be hauled out to the curb for the city to pick up and dispose of
or there will be a strong fine for the city to clean out the building.
That goes for residential buildings, too.

Pontoon boat in someone’s front yard

A deck out on the sidewalk and slimy appliances that are now worthless.
Hunky and Bird talking about our friend that owns the property we’re next to.


Here’s the whole set. I’ve typed out a bunch of html to present the pics like I did above, and to save some time, I think I’ll just link to the set next time and then you click through. Then you can see the notes I’ve added, so, Bonus Plan, baby. Whaddya say? Is it worth the trouble to save me a couple hours of a buttload of copying and pasting urls and typing out some html? Let me know. I want to do whatever it takes for you to see these pics.

Finally, again, please go to www.corridorrecovery.org to see how you can help. As of this moment, while I’m about to publish this post, the site is undergoing some routine maintenance but I’m sure it’ll be up again ASAP. If you get the error, please go check again a little later.

On behalf of a whole bunch of Cedar Rapidians… Thank You.

Comments are closed.