We are flooded. But good. There is so much water that our dumpster began bobbing and merrily made its way across the parking lot.
All day Sunday I watched and waited and worried. I learned to read Corp of Engineer flood levels for the Cumberland. I prayed that the river would stay away from CRC. It did not.
A few years ago, Scott Cowen, the president of Tulane University, was asked how he faced the enormity of repairing a university that had been entirely under water in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He said he wasn’t sure where to start until his wife reminded him of how he fixes everything. “Make a list,” she said.
So I am making a list. Betsy loves lists. After the initial shock of finding out the building was taking on a tad bit of water, she immediately got enthusiastic when I mentioned the list. In fact, we are meeting at Star Bagel in the morning. She is bringing her daughter, Kirstin, for moral support. Kirstin always finds the joy in any situation.
So the first thing on the list, after I held my own private invitation-only-to-one pity party, was to figure out the essentials. Get the power and gas cut off to the building. Transfer the phone service to my cell phone. Get Brett Scott, a board member who is president of Kraft Technology Group, to extract data off the back-up tape I had in my car. Send blast e-mails to our partners, to our funders and to our board.
Next on the list is to find a remediation company (those are the folks that clean out flooded spaces) and get someone to pay attention to our relatively small nonprofit, which is now in competition with Opryland and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, also flooded. I am finding out this is not easy. I have heard a lot of really bad pre-recorded music while hanging on the phone today.
The flood waters will recede tomorrow. I am slightly nervous about this. I imagine opening the front door to the building and having a tidal wave gush out populated by flailing fish. Then we will begin to clean up. The warehouse will be easy. It’s all concrete. We’ll just pressure wash it, let it dry and be done with it. The offices will take longer, but if we have the warehouse in order we are back in the “giving stuff away” business. And if we start getting calls from potential donors wanting to give us mass amounts of stuff, I am now educated enough to ask: “Were those items once soaking in river or stream water?” Denied.
I’m not much on possessions, but there are a few items I fear we cannot salvage. I am more than concerned that our pink flamingos in the parking lot have washed away. Betsy and I will probably not want to use the lawn chairs we sit in for strategic planning sessions at the open dock door. And Betsy’s beloved Coke table and stool will probably end up in the dumpster.
But we are looking on the bright side. The carpet needed to be replaced anyway. We’ll be able to reconfigure the office space to be more user friendly. We will add the day spa with the pedicure station. Heck, we may even paint the walls a lovely soft lavender.
We are, after all, two chicks in a warehouse. We are two Type A chicks. We laugh in the face of oil-laden, chemically overloaded water. We won’t touch it, of course. But we laugh at it nonetheless.