But there are still a couple things I like about standing duty. It gives me a chance to catch up on things that I just can't prioritize otherwise. Blogging. Facebook. Calling and emailing friends. Tonight, I called a very good friend of mine who I haven't had the chance to have a good conversation with in at least a couple months.
And holy cow, am I glad I called her! She had one of the most exciting stories I've heard in a long time. Scary, too, but since everyone is fine, mostly just exciting. Remember the house up in the Catskills that we love to spend time at? Well aparently Hurricane Irene slammed RIGHT. INTO. IT.
In a very serious way.
Remember the crick we played in?
This shallow little babbling brook?
It swelled to an absolute torrent that took out countless bridges, knocked houses off their foundations, and carved a path of outright destruction miles long.
Remeber these beautiful, picturesque rocks we climbed and reclined on?
Gone. They were straight up swept away. Seriously.
And all the trees lining the yard and the river (on the right below)?
Also gone. Just gone, along with all the ground they were growing in.
Just to give you a feel for how far below their driveway/bridge the crick normally is:
And the bridge is now gone. Swept away.
It was a crazy story to hear her tell. My friend, VespaLaw and her husband SoHoJujitsu had gone up to the Catskills house with a very pregnant woman and her husband. The City was supposed to get slammed by Irene, the Catskills were just supposed to get rain.
In the morning, SoHoJujitsu decided to drive a few miles down the road to check on the bridge that connected them to the rest of the world because, while their driveway bridge was well above the waterlevel, the main bridge to town was much lower and sometimes got covered in water.
When he left their house, there were still at least 5 feet between the crick and their driveway bridge. He drove just a couple miles down to the main bridge to find that it was already covered in a couple inches of water. He turned around to go back and saw a group of young girls running scared up the road.
The house they had been staying at had been torn from its foundation and fallen into the crick. They were terrified. SoHoJujitsu helped them to a neighbor's house then went to back up and head home. But the car wouldn't back up. In just the few minutes it had taken to safely deliver the girls to the neighbors' house, the water had risen almost to the doors of the car.
Not wanting to get swept away, SoHoJujitsu made a snap decision. He jumped from the car and took off running, up the mountain, toward their house. It was a terrifying situation. He was barely ahead of the flood. The ground was liquifiing and giving out beneath his feet.
Back at the house, VespaLaw was scared. Her husband should only have been gone for a few minutes, but the time was dragging on. There is no cell phone reception at the Catskills house, so it was a tense waiting game with a hysterical pregnant woman and her less than useful husband.
SoHoJujitsu scrambled, ran, and climbed as fast as he could. Eventually, he made it back to their house, but the driveway bridge was already gone. He was stranded on the other side. In the torrential rain and wind, with huge trees falling left and right and massive chunks of land falling into the crick - now a raging river - and being swept away, he waited and paced. Once VespaLaw saw him out there, he could hear her screaming to him - trying to communicate with him over the fury.
It was more than 7 hours after he had left before things calmed down enough for him to make his way to a neighbors' much bigger bridge which he was able to cross using construction poles like ski poles.
They were stranded there for 4 days before the National Guard could get in and evac them.
Does that not sound exactly like something out of an action movie? And a really good one, too. I am so very, very thrilled that my friends are ok. I am so happy that SoHoJujitsu is as fit as he is (he just won two gold medals in Jujitsu), or he may have been swept away. I'm happy that no one was hurt and everyone came out fine. I'm excited to hear that my friends, who have been married for more than 10 years, are even closer than they have ever been before.
I'm sad for the destruction to the property. A lot of us have wonderful memories in that place. But nothing compares to the beauty of everyone coming out unscathed. I suppose we'll just have to go up and make more memories. Like building a new bridge! MacGyver is certainly qualified to design one!
Standing duty sucks. But I am super glad I was able to catch up with VespaLaw. Holy cow!