Flashback Friday!

In honor of Flashback Friday (which I’ve never participated in until now, but always thought about doing), and the fact that I’ve been in Iowa all week, I thought I’d flash back through the last year and a half or so of my life for you guys over the next few weeks and touch on some things I’ve been doing and where I’ve been.  Note: these may or may not be fitness and/or wedding related!

(Insert time warp sounds here.)

Warning: this is pretty much in no way wedding or fitness related.  Sorry.

I’ll start with the summer of 2008.  I was just starting to lose weight and trying to get healthy in the summer before my third and final year of law school.  It was June, right before my birthday.  T and I were working together in the law school, and suddenly things start feeling weird–people are speaking kind of in hushed tones, nobody’s actually working, and everyone seems concerned.  The reason?  The Iowa flood was coming down the river and headed our way.  We’d been watching other towns on the river literally become underwater graveyards.  People died, homes were destroyed, major evacuations were going on.  And T lived two blocks from the river.  (Thankfully, he lived up a steep hill.)

We were immediately told to go home (it was a Friday, I think) and not return for a week and a half.  They were closing the university.  We were told to make sure we were safe and then get out and help with the flood preparation efforts if we could.  So, naturally, I panicked and we headed straight for the store, where we stocked up on flashlights, candles, bottled water and non-perishable food. This was the view from the law school the roof the morning we were told to leave.  Please note how treacherously close the water is to the top of the bridge.

Buckley was nonplussed by everything.  At this point, he was an only kitty!  Southpaw would come a month later.

T and I were both animal shelter volunteers, and the animal shelter was right in the 100 year flood plain–it had long since been flooded and underwater.  (Check out this incredibly touching video for the animal center’s flood story.  We love, love, love this shelter, and it’s where we adopted both our kittensquatches.)

All the animals were safely evacuated from the shelter (thank God) and moved into a temporary location.  (At this point, Southpaw was one of those animals.  She’d been at the shelter since January and dealt with the flood as a cat without a family.)  We both showed up ready to help.  Even though the animal shelter was totally displaced and underwater and dealing with a temporary facility that was definitely less than ideal, they also had a second problem.  Thousands of people were being displaced from their homes and had no place to take their animals, so they also had to set up an “animal hotel” where owners living in shelters could drop off their pets until they could return to their homes.  See?

T and I spent that week off at the animal shelter.  He worked a lot helping to keep the dogs cool and walked out in the barns, whereas I stayed inside and worked with the cats–both those that were homeless at the shelter, and those who had families and were just staying for the time being.  We helped animals large and small!

Anyway, this really has nothing to do with things I usually blog about, but I guess these Flashback Fridays will be to tell you about the things I’ve done recently that make me me.  These floods were the nearest I’ve ever come (thank God) to experiencing a natural disaster of this magnitude, and it was scary as all get-out.  We didn’t know if we’d have to evacuate T’s place, or be without utilities for weeks like folks in other parts of the state, or what–and we were so fortunate that we didn’t have to.

I guess the upshot of this is that it showed me how great people can be.   The whole state dropped what they were doing and sandbagged, fed kittens, and gave people a place to stay.  The animal shelter put a list on their website of needs and within hours, this is what they had:

And that was just cat stuff.  It just kept growing, as did a giant pile of dog supplies in another building.  So, as we go into the Christmas season…do something to change someone’s life.  It doesn’t have to require money.  Donate blood.  Post an Operation Beautiful note.  Volunteer.  Give back.

Have you ever been through anything like this that’s changed your life?

3 Responses

  1. Just found your blog and wanted to say hi!

  2. Wow. Those flood pictures are crazy!!! My city flooded a couple years ago. A lot of downtown businesses were ruined, and farmer’s crops completely destroyed. I think I still have the pictures on my facebook.

  3. […] Flashback Friday, Volume II Posted on December 11, 2009 by thefitbride Last week I flashed back to June 2008, when Tim and I were on the verge of being flooded out of our homes.  […]

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