Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Apocalypse Now?


Apparently, one of the secretaries in Family Medicine, where I work this summer, was trying to get a refund for a dictaphone she'd returned that was the wrong size. She called the company in California to try and speed up the process since the end of their fiscal year is coming up. However, the man at the company said it was pure chaos at the returns department right now. Curious as to why so many people were returning their machines, she asked what was wrong. He replied that people thought it was the end of the world, and wanted to return the machines.

Ummm, I just want to say something. So far in the last 3 weeks Iowa has had F5 tornados and what they call 500 year floods, flooding that has the probability of occurring once every 500 years. But have you seen us complaining about the apocalypse? Who's complaining about the end of the world?!

I got up this morning, canceled my credit and debit cards (can't find my wallet), put on some grubby clothes, and went down to the union where I filled sandbags for a few hours. They served us some lunch (Yummy! Thanks President Sally Mason! She was there bagging with us, too.) and then I changed and ran off to do an interview. To interview someone. I mentioned this to President Mason, and she told me to give her name as a recommendation. I told her that probably wouldn't work since I was interviewing another person. My hair was the worst to tackle before the interview. It was...interesting. Not pretty. But luckily, I was in a hotel for lunch, so I grabbed a comb from them and looked and smelled decent after I wiped myself down with baby wipes and a bit of scented lotion.

Anyhows, I interviewed, then went to grab Kris from work. We went back to his place, he changed, and then we went back to the sandbagging until 9 pm tonight, at which time I suddenly realized my arms wouldn't do anything anymore. At that point we decided to leave since I couldn't even lift my hands above the level of my waist.

Enough talk. Here's a few pictures. I was working today, and didn't take a single picture of the floods. However, here's a few places to peek. This is Iowa City.

I don't want to steal The gazette's photos, but I will point out that the guy on the far right in the 2nd photo is Steve, who does Maintenance work at the University. Really nice guy. Kris and I ate dinner with him, and had a great conversation. He's going to look for my picture on the wall once I graduate medical school.

These are aerials.

The Coralville dam and spillway has flowed over, which means it's coming into the city here now, and the US Army of Engineers can't control how much water is coming anymore.

This is Decorah.

If you don't know Decorah well, just know that this is a crazy, crazy amount of water coming down. I can't even express how much. If you look at the picture of the bridge alone, that's just in the middle of the water....that's how wide the river usually is.

The images below are from Parkersburg when my mom and I went to visit my great-uncle there (my maternal grandmother's brother). My mom grew up in Parkersburg, so she knows lots of people there. We were both horrified. Just in case you can't tell, all the trees are stripped of all their bark. All that rubble and boards...those used to be houses. We didn't walk through it much, so here's a bit of the line of destruction right next to houses that are falling down, next to houses that have flowers still with all their petals.

But on this half of town....there's nothing left.

My second cousin had just moved here the week before the tornado hit. He was renting a house and lived with his wife and baby. They didn't have renter's insurance yet. The house is gone. They've found almost nothing from the rubble. They've lost everything except their lives.

But that's enough. We'll pick it all up, get it all together.

Sorry I've been away, we just can't get away from picking up pieces and trying to keep everything together here. I'm still okay, so I'm trying to help everyone wherever I can. I'm safe.



Karen said...

I knew there had been tornadoes, but the first time I had heard of the flooding was when Rachel sent the pictures. It's so much worse than I thought. Hang in there.

Karen said...

Have you read Amy Weldon's account of the flooding?