In Oklahoma, you hear about tornados, flash floods, and wind damage all the time. I had comforted myself with the fact that 60-year-old oak trees must mean that our neighborhood was safe. Little did I know that one of those very trees would be the cause of our disaster.
Not a Cloud in the Sky
Monday morning there was not even a chance of rain, by afternoon there was a blip on the radar. I wasn’t concerned things like that happen here in Oklahoma all the time. Joseph had poison ivy all over his face and arm from trimming the tree the day before. By evening we decided he should go to urgent care to keep it out of his eye.
I curled up with a good book and read all evening, noting beautiful flashes of lightning lighting up the sky, but still no rain. We got ready for bed as soon as Joseph arrived home. Ten minutes later the rain hit. Those huge drops that sound like hail tapping at the window and the sound of the leaves ripping around in the wind were intimidating, but I assumed it was like so many storms before. I should have known there was a problem when my Oklahoma native husband was concerned (People in Oklahoma do NOT get worried about storms.
This Sound Means Trouble
Something hit the roof twice in loud secession, and we lost power. Startled my husband went to the attic to make sure there was no damage. He had barely come back into the kitchen when the whole house shook. I scrambled out of bed to get my contacts and heard water pouring into our home. When I could finally see, I looked out the window and saw our 3.5-foot diameter tree laying on our house.
It is impossible to describe the kind of rain that was coming down and into the house. It continued to pound the window in drops so big it sounded like hail. The kids, somehow, slept through it. We grabbed them from their rooms away from the windows, but couldn’t go into the bathroom, because the tree was laying right there.
Huddled in the Dark
I huddled with the boys in the dark, while Joseph grabbed the things we needed most. With a big shaking, deep breath we headed out into the storm, afraid that at any moment the tree would come further into the house, or that the water would cause an electrical issue.
During the whole night, the only thing the boys got upset by was getting wet on the way to the car… isn’t that the way it is?
Trying to Escape
It was pitch black and the rain was coming down in sheets. The street and traffic lights had lost power. Our half of the road was occasionally covered by a tree, and we had to navigate around it in the flooded streets. I was physically shaking by the time we completed the 15-minute drive. It typically takes a few minutes to drive the mile to my sister in law’s home.
We rode out the remainder of the storm in their home. When the pelting rain subsided we made our way to my in-laws where we knew extra beds would be. Shaken we tucked both boys into the king-size bed with us. The last thing I remember from the night was Keaton rubbing my back.
The Next Day
The next morning we left the boys with some friends and went over to assess the damage. We had 7 hours worth of Oklahoma rain dumped into our home. The water had run all night from the dining room into the kitchen and the water traveled in the ceilings into two additional rooms. Everywhere there was dripping and the musty smell of water that had run through insulation.
When we realized there were several additional rooms affected, we quickly started moving all our things to the furthest end of the house. Being minimalist made it so easy to get everything moved to safety because there just wasn’t that much to move.
Look for the Helpers
Mr. Rogers has a quote that says, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
In our lives, this has been so true. We have had kind people start us a Go Fund Me to help us with expenses that will arise. Lovely souls have sent me coffee from hundreds of miles away. A beautiful mother sent the boys books from her shop since theirs are buried in our home under the rest of our possessions. Someone who understands sent us Chick-fil-a cards so we can get out of grandma’s hair. People have brought us delicious meals, watched the boys and offered to help us pack. We’ve had a couple offer to bunny sit while we are dislocated, and people are sending us home to check out in our area!!