Disasters! You may be thinking I’m out of my mind, especially with all the media covering the events of the last few years. Well, that’s exactly why I am writing about disasters.
You see, the local library district released their book “Disasters of the Pikes Peak Region”, based on the history symposium that took place in June of 2012, just before the Waldo Canyon fire devastated a portion of the northwest section of Colorado Springs. This was followed by the Black Forest Fire of 2013, and the flooding in Manitou Springs.
The book’s publication was delayed to include the above incidents. My chapter discussed an 35 million year disaster, which was the volcano that created the Cripple Creek/Victor gold. That event created so much good or bad, depending on what you want to focus on.
Let’s take a look at that phrase, “what you focus on”. I am not saying that disasters are not devastating, but they usually are not all-consuming. When both Waldo, and Black Forest occurred, many people asked if I was okay. Yes, I was. Both were a good 10-25 miles away from where I lived. The possibility of it coming to where I lived was remote at best.
When I and my neighbors lost our basements due to flooding, was the rest of the areaimpacted. No, just select areas. You see that is the thing about media and disasters, they tell the story of the worst part of the event, as they should, but we as listeners should remember, it’s what they focus on.
Writers, when telling their stories, it’s the events they want to tell about, it’s the disasters, challenges, that they focus on. Is it wrong? No. But remember, it’s what we chose to focus on that keeps us in that space. So, chose your focus wisely and remember, there is a large world out there in which disasters are a part, but not the whole picture.
Doris Gardner-McCraw writing as Angela Raines Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in Colorado and Women’s History
Woke up about 3:00 am several days ago and wondered why our “guard cat” AJ was standing at the top of the stairs and growling into the darkness below. Woke up at 4:30 and wondered why my husband had decided to take a shower in what constitutes the middle of the night to my way of thinking. Woke up at 5:00 to the sound of his feet pounding up the stairs as he yelled: “We’ve got a flood!”
We didn’t need an ark, though for a while that seemed a possibility. Mike went into the crawl space to turn off the water and survey the damage. We found that the hose had come off of the back of the fridge that went to the icemaker. Everything was wet but the damage didn’t seem that extensive. I called my insurance dude and a company he recommended to come out and clean the mess up. Easy peasy.
Did I mention we have hardwoods covering almost the entire main floor of the house?
The experts came, studied the situation, and ripped up most of the hardwood. The subflooring is damaged in some places, so weak that one wrong move and you’ll find yourself in the crawlspace without stepping outside.
For days we had many, many giant industrial fans and dehumidifiers rumbling through the house and crawl space and we felt as if we lived in a wind tunnel. The kitchen cabinets my husband installed less than two weeks earlier were pulled out, along with the new sink and every other built-in cabinet and appliance in the kitchen that rested on the floor.
We had started to paint our living room a year-ago August and in the manner of all home improvement projects in our life, we didn’t finish it until this September. Granted there was much rewiring to do and changing of layout but still, the project should never have taken that long. Now, because of the flood, the floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcase, newly painted and beautiful, was removed from its moorings and sits forlornly off to the side. I can barely stand to look at it.
I’ve had a claim rep here and someone to give me a bid to put everything back together but for now I wait.
In the meantime, the main floor of the house of an obstacle course in weak subflooring, raised nails, and abandoned cabinetry. It is unlivable and unusable except for the laundry room and fridge (minus the ice maker).
For all intents and purposes we are living in the master bedroom suite – Three humans, three cats and two guinea pigs. While my daughter’s room is down the hall, the television and computer are in Mike’s and my room, along with the animals, so here is where she does her homework, plays, and generally hangs out. Our bedroom has become the kitchen, living room, dining room, and office: an ark of sorts.
And so I wait, sending out my dove in the form of calls to the insurance company, hoping to see it carrying back new hardwood flooring in its little beak and praying I won’t have to wait 40 more days.
I know I will survive this and try to focus on the positives. We had just started a kitchen remodel and will now have new floors to go with the repainted walls, cabinets, etc. The closest under the stairs needed to be emptied and reorganized and the water damage crew did the emptying for me. Scuffs and stains on the few bits of remaining hardwood will be sanded and refinished with the new, so it will all look nice.
This is good, right? That’s what everyone tells me but if I had a choice, this isn’t the one I would have made.
In the midst of this drama I am reminded of an essay Dave Barry wrote about moving. In the end, he decided, the most practical thing was to burn all of your stuff in a huge bonfire and start over at your new house. I’m beginning to think this sage advice might apply here as well.
I know I will survive. The only question is how sane will I be by the time everything is back to normal? I’ll keep you posted.