That's the water. Our Pajero is on the right.
It all kicked off on Tuesday. Our adventure started off very poorly indeed, as the first load was hindered by a malfunctioning gate at the delivery end, so that it took us nearly half an hour to get in after tearing apart the gate mechanism and failing to re-calibrate the thing. Eventually I manged to get it open and stay open, but when you're in a damned hurry this sort of thing doesn't really help.
Our house with the red roof. The water's just under the floor.
Then we found the place was infested by fleas. This is not an uncommon problem in Queensland - the rain sometimes causes a boom in the flea population, and this was one such boom. Unfortunately this increased our stress levels through the roof, as we lost our house and then had no safe place to go. When you're constantly scratching and picking and dreaming and worrying about little black things on your ankles, you tend to go insane. We poisoned the place with a dangerous amount of spray, but it takes days to have an effect, and we suffered.
The same view, more or less. The red slab is our neighbor's carport, the water's halfway up our windows now.
And then the power went out at 2:30 Wednesday morning. I know that's when it happened because the battery backup on a computer woke us up. And the power remained off for two days, and it just kept piling on: the house was underwater, we had very little stuff, we kept remembering things we forgot, roads were closed, we had no power, shops were closed, food was sold out as everyone else was panic-buying.
The view inside our front door.
On Tuesday we had started packing our stuff at around 4pm. By 7pm we could see the water covering the road next door, and by 10:30 it was lapping at the wheels of our borrowed Pajero. By Wednesday morning, it was a few inches below our floor, but had flooded the garage completely. By that afternoon it was halfway up the walls, and we knew our stuff was gone.
Our living room.
And then, on Thursday morning, we heard the water was receding. Sure enough, at 10am Thursday morning the water was under the floor again, and we could see our mailbox. We couldn't get near the house yet, but on Wednesday afternoon, shortly before dark, we got inside. It was tricky and slippery and a lot of stuff had floated up against the front door, so we had a hard time kicking the door to get in. What a mess.
We've never been flooded out before, and we just assumed upon our return we'd find our stuff where we left it, but wetter. Instead, it was like entering someone's junkyard. Almost everything had floated and moved around the house. Mattresses and the couch were not where we left 'em. The fridge, upon which we had stacked valuable stuff, had floated and tipped over and dumped our stuff in the muddy water.
Our computer room.
Everything was covered in mud, it was incredible. The floor had a centimetre of the stuff, and everything was stained and awful. And the smell was an incredible assault. It was as if we were entering a party house inhabited by a thousand wet dogs.
My video game collection.
Odd stuff was saved. The remote controls, for the TV and amp that were both flooded and ruined, were fine and still worked 'cause the couch floated and they were on the arm of the couch. Some ceramic bowls in the kitchen floated freely and were not contaminated.
Everything we didn't save. Nearly everything we own.
Everything electronic was ruined. Anything made with particle board absorbed water like a sponge and expanded and cracked. The kitchen counter pulled away from the wall, the cupboards tore themselves apart as they swelled.
The local supermarket.
It was too dark to do any work, so we came back Thursday morning with a powered sprayer and generator (there was no power of course) and thought to get to the hosin' down, but as we started setting up four large boys came by and offered to help shift the heavy things. Oh, right, we had to remove the furniture before we could spray the house. That took a couple of hours, and they left to help the next house.
The local liquor store. Notice the packs of cigarettes and chips in the ceiling.
A very kind couple dropped by to help, and spent several hours helping us remove cardboard boxes that disintegrated when touched, package up two decades of video game collecting, and all of the detritus that any modern family owns. It was something that we came to do ourselves and found was a daunting task for more than ten people. Without the kindness of these strangers and the owner of the house (we were renting) who also showed up to help we would never have made it.
We worked until dark and used the generator to light the place and worked well into the night.
The local shops dumping their guts.
On Friday, we returned to sort the stuff out. Our insurance company told us that we needed to keep our stuff in the back yard until the assessor arrived, and it needed to be sorted so he could work out what it all was. So we did. Appliances here, consoles there, computers in this pile, magazines in that, novels here, books there, clothing under this tree, kitchen stuff under that tree. Everything was covered in mud, the yard was covered in mud, we worked in muddy shoes with muddy gloves. It took all day.
And on Saturday, with the help of an amazing team of local kids and men and women, we hauled it all around to the front of the house for the council to come and clean up. It was going to be a while before the insurance company could get out, so they told us to document and photograph everything as proof of our loss. So we did. Over a thousand photos later we had created a very thorough list of stuff lost.
Thousands of tiny snails survived by clinging to anything that floated.
And then we headed over to our office two blocks away and stood by, exhausted and mentally drained, as the neighborhood pitched in and pulled out carpet and sprayed the floors and walls and scrubbed and cleaned.
We then went back to our home, stood in front of the pile of stuff that had been our safe, stable and comfortable life for so long, and cried a little bit.
More flood pics
Muddy Video Games