Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Flood in Toronto: His was supposed to be the non-weather-dependent job!

Two days ago, the city of Toronto got the worst flood it's ever been hit with in recorded history.  A sudden brutal storm hit and two hours later people's basements were full of water and their cars were floating away.  Power failures, stranded GO train, rescues by canoe (good freakin thing it's Canada and there's always a canoe nearby??) and some of the most congested roads in all of North America locked up solid... except for all that pesky water up to the car windows.

A good solid two hour drive down the highway from the big city, out here in farm country, the kids and I had gone out that afternoon for Bucky's birthday.  (He's 17 now and darn near 6 ft tall, and sounds like a man, maaaaaan.)  When we left the farm it was bright sunny and hot.  On our way home a couple hours later we discussed all the things getting rained on at that moment including laundry and open windows.  Inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, it turns out.

Our studio is in North York.  I kind of held my breath as the alarming news reports came in, hoping we'd be spared as it looked like most of the really bad stuff wash happening further south, towards the lake, but then feeling awful for everybody there affected by it. Nobody deserves this.

At 9:00 pm I sent him a message.  Just on my way in from the barn.  So - state of emergency??? Flood???

Well, he and Billy Ray Joe had been out looking for a place that had electricity and something to eat, but already the storm was impacting our clients:  Won't know until I get back to the studio.  Nancy's $60K piano is ruined... Matt had 8' (and rising) of water in his basement as of 6 pm...

The power had gone out by the time he got back to the studio at about 10:00.   By the next morning, the power was back up and everything functioning, but...the entire rest of his week had been cancelled.  Every session.  All of our clients need to spend the rest of the week salvaging whatever is left after the flood damage.

I try to keep working through the weather.  If it rains, I give people the option of spending their lesson time in the tack room, learning about things we don't always take time to get into when it's a nice day and we want to get out and ride.  But my work is ultimately affected by what's going on in the sky.  I only had four lessons booked at the beginning of this week (which would be awesome if this was January!!) and I've only booked one more since, and cancelled one.  So it turns out both of us are going to have a sparse week, and this is a bad week to not make much money.

But man.  Wow.  What's my problem?  It's really humid and most of my leather tack gets moldy?  The basement of the house is really wet?  Half the corral is gross brown puddles and sticky mud?  The buildings are still standing, and none of our sentimental irreplaceable treasures are ruined.

Maybe it's a good week for him to make contacts and drum up some business, and me to clean tack and write fiction!

But it sucks.  None of us can control nature.  None of us.  That's just the way it is.


Cindy D. said...

What I am going to say is...wow, prayers go out to those who are struggling through their losses right now.

I think what sucks about all of this is that most people have home owners insurance, but 9 times out of 10 it doesn't cover flood damage and most folks aren't even aware that they are not covered. So not only are they dealing with some major crap, when they file their claim and it is denied....yeah that sucks big time.

What I wanted to say is..." Whoa! $60k for a piano???? That's half a house for pete's sake!" (but felt it would have been insensitive so I didn't say it- it only looks like I said it- I didn't really)

Heidi the Hick said...

It's ok - most people have no need for something that pricey!!! Yes it's a lot. But that's professional musician level. Ours is about half that much and we'd be devastated if it got damaged so y'know ... Pretty rough. We were just taking about the insurance. You pay through the nose and it rarely covers what you need when the time comes. But I guess you'd be worse off without it.

I'm telling myself we got off lucky. The storm wrecked a week's worth of income but we still have all our gear and our building.

Heidi Willis said...

Wow. That is scary.

Sometimes perspective is a good thing. It helps us put everything we are complaining about into focus.

But sometimes, perspective sucks. Just because you got off without terrible loss doesn't mean you still didn't suffer loss, and it's okay to mourn that.

Paul Tee said...

My middle son had to rescue his girlfriend who was freaking out big time. She has a house in TO and was sure it was going to be washed away. Hard not to think so, when you see what's happening elsewhere near. She is OK, I think, but her area lost power, or subjected to rotating blackouts. They spent some time camping out with us, north of the storm. We got rain and thunder to beat the devil, but we're high enough not to flood, but the downpour washed deep ruts into my gravel lane.

This has not been a good week. 3 gone in the San Francisco crash, 19 down in Arizona, could be as many as 50 in Lac Medantic, I lost count in the Middle East and beyond. I guess TO is not the worst, but hard for someone to think otherwise caught in the midst of it.

mugwump said...

Weather like ours helps me learn to go with the flow,remember smoke follows beauty and never spit in the wind.

Heidi the Hick said...

Paul- were all affected, that's for sure! Glad to hear you got out okay!!

Mugwump - good advice!