In mid-September, Boulder flooded. We had 18″ of rain in 3-days. Normally, we receive 20″ over 120-days. Other parts of Colorado flooded too. Some two months later, and we still are affected.
When reviewing some of the materials I collected during that emergency, I came across an email I sent to my co-workers on Sept. 17, 2013.
I hope everyone in BDR is safe and if you sustained damage, that it can be quickly repaired.
This is a surreal time. Driving through Boulder you see huge disparity btw streets. On one, it looks like a war has just ceased. Mounds of refuse and partial barricades push water and silt down new drainages. Men in rubber boots holding shovels look at the wreckage through dark sleepless eyes. Meanwhile, the usual packs of men on road bicycles in matching jerseys ride the new routes before heading for an expresso to discuss if the next race will be cancelled. A colliding of realities.
I am writing to you surrounded by boxes, wondering where my favorite shirt is and listening to the breathing of my sleeping children. I hear the plumbing from an adjoining guests room making rattling sounds in the wall.
Our neighborhood was hard hit. Of the seven houses on our street, three have been vacated (including us) and two others are being cleaned.
Finding water mitigation services is difficult and getting on a contractors list challenging. Movers are non existent and available storage units are being snapped up in hours. The already tight rental market now almost doesn’t exist.
Talking with neighbors and our school community we learned that many did not have flood insurance and have hundreds of thousands in repairs, but only a few thousand in the bank. There will most likely be foreclosures over the next few months as people find they can’t pay for the repairs. FEMA assistance will be minimal and what funds do arrive, take months to materialize.
We feel super lucky as we don’t own our house. This gives us some flexibility, but does present other challenges- such as where will we sleep next week. We will begin the search for a new home as soon as the first stage of packing, storing and vacating our house is concluded this week. My hope is that I will find a way to quickly create routine so children can return to school, I can return to work and life can begin to feel manageable again.
It’s a tall order, but one that is being asked of so many right now. Our community is being challenged and responding with amazing compassion and courage. Yesterday evening, as I watched people discussing the destruction and its implications, a women rode up on a mud covered bike and announced she was serving soup at her house for anyone who needed a meal. She is one of many whose small acts of generosity are helping the community cope with change.
Lastly, I must mention CP+B. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have members of our company calling to learn how we are and what can be done. I had to get an emergency flight back from a client function as the flood waters rose. Not a word was mentioned of the cost. My family and I were immediately put up in a hotel while the worst of the storm played out.
Amazing. Caring. Committed. We are all very lucky to be with such a company as this. I thank my stars for my community- professionally and personally. See you all soon. Off to meet an insurance adjuster and the owner of our former house.
++ an erdPHONE communique ++