Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Great Chicago Flood of 2013


Things, it seems, are narrowing into a funnel of obligations, responsibilities and new beginnings.

It all started with "A dark and stormy night."


I drive home from a long day's work.


After dealing with a cat poop fiasco, some dinner and an episode of Lie To Me, I decided to head to bed.


I'm woken up by a scream of terror. The toilet starts overflowing for what seems to be no reason. My wife and I start making plans on what we are going to do. She's nine months pregnant and NEEDS a toilet. We agree that she should take a cab to her parents house while I hold up the fort, monitoring the toilet, seeing if it will run over again.


My wife arrives at her parents while I sit on the couch, watching The Switchback with Dennis Quad and Danny Glover. I've only seen the ending and don't care too much about the movie but I need something besides the thunder noises to help me sleep. I figure I'll sleep in the living room on the futon. I set the sleep timer on the tv for 30 minutes, set my phone alarm for noon and hope for the best.


Apparently hoping for the best just wasn't good enough. The water from the lakes rose while I was sleeping. It cleared the distance from the waterline to the deck within hours. That's about fifteen feet.

I skip all stages of grief and zip right to acceptance  Cause you have to accept something at this point. My apartment is without power and I can hear the water gurgling in the vents. Yep. It's time to scoot.

(My neighbor called this the Danger Step. Does that mean I was in the...Danger Zone?)

I call my wife and we work out a list of things I need to bring and things to do.

Had to call off work, too.

First, I unplug everything. I start stacking things on the couch and futon.  Then I start taking boxes out to our car. Two boxes are crucial: one says BILLS/DOCUMENTS and the other is STORIES, written in sharpie. Then I pack clothes, toiletries and other knick-knacks for the baby.

By 1:00pm I'm conversing with my neighbors  seeing if they need any help. They're getting along just fine so I high tail it to my car while the gettin's good.

I'm making my way on Ogden when, out of nowhere, my car battery goes kaput right in front of the post office.

I park in a nearby Dunkin' Donuts...crookedly, I might add.

Of course, I bang my knee while getting out of the car, too.

I flag down a nice enough fellow who helps me try and give life back to my battery. The jumper cables didn't work.

Just my luck. I call both my brother and my father to formulate a "creative" plan for getting to my wife.

After some time, and a bright idea from my bro, we settle on a taxi.

My wife calls the cab to pick me up and he gets there fifteen minutes later.

He parks and I begin transferring all my stuff to his cab. Last, but not least, my cat Bandit who does not have a damn clue what is going on, is handling the move well but his eyes are wide as saucers.

The drive is relatively quick and I have a great conversation with Sayid, the driver. We determine that in life, certain things must happen and pave the way for new beginnings  It's all part of a grand design. I'm very thankful that my wife and I got out safely, that her parents are so understanding and that the hospital where our girl will soon be born is now closer to us.

As we're coming up coming up on Bellwood it seems there is a wealth of numbnuts and numbskulls either trying to hit us or box us in because, for some reason, they just have to play JET CAR WATER SKI down the block.


I finally get our stuff to my in-laws and rest for a bit.

This day was hectic redefined.

In the span of just 17 hours, our lives changed.

I had to call off work, take pictures for insurance and we're about to have a baby in four short days.

Lately I've been looking on the news and see that I just managed to squeak out of there.

I remember seeing all the news vans and helicopters.

I'm sure an Ariel view caught me hustling like a mad man to get to his wife.

In the end, we ordered some food at her parents, settle in and have some laughs. We also listened to some 45's.

I'm just glad my friends and neighbors made it out when they did.

If our place is flooded, that's okay. Those are just things.

We're still here.

We're safe.

And I'm still writing.

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