So continuing my story from the last post…. you probably will want to grab a coffee/snack/bathroom break again.
Sunday, June 23 the waters had receded enough for most people in Calgary to return to their homes, assess damage, gather belongings and start moving out damaged possessions. The parkade of my apartment building was still full of water but was in the process of getting pumped out.
Dan was out helping Todd, my Dad and his partner were cleaning out a friends house, and I offered to hold the fort and get dinner started. I also mistakenly thought that a nice, long run would set my head straight. Ohhhhh I was so wrong.
Having never ran around my Dad’s place and not being able to run on ANY of my familiar paths (along rivers and the reservoir), I wasn’t familiar with the routes so I plotted something out to the best of my ability. I did a terrible job (note to self, check elevations when plotting out a route on Map Pedometer).
Dan and some other friends had joined my friend Todd to check out his place for the first time since the waters receded. It was a pretty brutal scene, from what I’ve heard. Their expedition was cut short by the hysteria created by a woman who found her friend inside her apartment. She was an elderly woman, who (from what I was told) ended up trapped in her sub-grade apartment as the waters rushed in. She didn’t make it. Emergency crews showed up and my friends had to leave. The only shining light from this is that her cat was found, alive and safe. I hope that kitty goes to a good home. I have a major (MAJOR) soft spot for animals.
On Monday we finally got clearing to enter my apartment, so it was obviously imperative to clean out the food that has been sitting in there without refrigeration (because we had no power) for several days. After the fridge was cleaned out and extra clothes were obtained, I joined Dan and several other friends at Todd’s to clean out his waterlogged belongings. By the time I joined, most of his stuff was cleaned out and we finished up in the kitchen and bathroom. It was obvious, however, that his neighbors needed assitance. Jamie and I picked up a flat of beer at one point.
My day peaked towards the evening, when I was half cut and the dump truck showed up and I got extra muddy throwing things in and watching them get crushed (muchos gracias to my trainer who has helped me built strong-ish arms!). I was blown away by the amount of people helping perfect strangers, including my friends helping others. My heart is still full of love and appreciation for those friends that have reached out to me, Dan, and Todd, and pretty much everyone that was evacuated, whether they were further affected or not. It’s really true that in times like these you see people’s true colors.
Fast forward to the following weekend (as I had to work and all my runs were shitty and not worth discussing). A friend was visiting from Toronto, and I decided to treat myself to a night on the town. It was worth it.
Sunday morning I got the OK to access my parkade to face the horror that was my storage locker. It housed all my camping supplies and several boxes of childhood memorabilia. We tossed the camping supplies (sob!) and spent the remainder of the day airing out pictures, books, washing the baby clothes and toys I chose to save. Some things didn’t make it, but I am thankful that we didn’t have to throw it all away.
Since then things have slowly been returning to normal. My Dad and I did a trip to Saskatoon (that’s for another post), I moved back into my place (after two weeks out) and my runs have been getting back on pace and I don’t feel like I’m going to die on them anymore. We have and elevator but still no parkade at my apartment, and the lobby is a mess as the bottom half of all the drywall has to be replaced. The silt from the river is still covering a lot of the ground, and it has a particular smell (that I’ve grown to detest) and makes me congested and cough.
It’s an odd feeling, to be on the receiving end of donations, relief funds and hampers brought to my door (thanks Red Cross!), and volunteer efforts cleaning up your home and neighborhood. I am forever grateful that my apartment is 12 stories up and the majority of my possessions were fine. There are a LOT of other people who were not as lucky, including the whole community of High River just south of Calgary. Many people in that community are still not home, and still have water in their homes.
The generosity of Calgarians has been overwhelming, and sometimes I get all misty just thinking about it. It’s kind of funny, but sometimes when tragedy strikes you realize that the world isn’t all that bad after all. My heart is so warm with love for my family, friends, and city right now.
So enough of that story for now. There are many more details, but at this point, all I want is for life to have some semblance of normality and focus on running and having a fun remainder of the summer! Enough with the heavy stuff! Check out my pal’s dog Clyde!
Here’s Clyde with eyebrows!
Anything happen lately to restore your faith in humanity? What are your summer plans? Ever drawn eyebrows on a dog?