The last few weeks of clean-up after the flood that hit our cabin area have been less than fun. Luckily, our cabin avoided flood water, although the landscape and garage definitely did not. Muddy water was approximately 3 feet deep for days. The majority of homes near us were hit hard since their living quarters are below the 100-year flood level.

Please look around your home right now and imagine everything being under water for four to five days. It’s an incredible shock to see water damage for the first time. Taking it a step further, imagine what it’s like throwing everything in the dumpster and watching it leave forever. That’s sort of what it’s like being in a flood.

Sure, most possessions are just material things with limited meaning. Then again, there are the personal things like a friend’s ruined family picture crumpled up in his driveway. There are too many priceless possessions that floods take away forever.

How difficult is it to recover financially from a flood? Most have found out they do not have flood insurance and are taking heavy financial losses. This flood has the potential to cause many bankruptcies in addition to the anguish they have gone through. However, there is hope to recover financially for some since FEMA helps those that live full time at their homes and qualify financially.

Most were lucky enough to physically survive the flood, and now it’s time to mentally survive with limited depression. It’s heartbreaking to throw away prized possessions, but it’s also depressing to rip out drywall so the mud and moisture in the walls can be removed; knowing getting back to normal gets pushed further away.

Garbage was initially piled in the yards because there were not enough dumpsters. Some dumpster companies doubled the dumpster cost because they could. There are also unscrupulous contractors trying to take advantage of those in need. Shame on you. Thanks to the contractors that have opened their hearts to do the right things. We will remember you!

The reality is the repair work in the flooded areas has barely started, and help is needed. Volunteers can make a difference and provide hope at a time it is needed more than ever. Feel free to grab a rake and a shovel, then drive to the Horseshoe Lake area or anywhere that was flooded. You may see tears of gratitude.

Muddy sand scooping and heavy raking takes a toll. It’s wearing me out, but it has to be done before it kills the grass and perennials. Then the garage needs to be put back together. Don’t worry about me. There are others in dire need.

The Zohner family roses that were brought to this country in the 1880s by my ancestors look like they will make it. Most of Dad’s horse-drawn cultivator survived but had to be put back together. Everything else can be replaced.

Other types of ‘floods’ in the home

It’s possible for all of us to have a “flood” in our homes even if we do not live by a river or lake. It can happen with heavy rainfalls, broken water supply piping, leaky water heaters, broken fire sprinkler protection piping, backed-up sewers, and the list goes on. Will you be ready?

Today is a great time to take preventative measures to protect your valuables. For instance, put prized family pictures in watertight totes and store them at a high level.

It also makes sense to have your sewer system checked by a professional with a sewer camera to reduce the risks of backed-up sewage.

Is your sump pump pit clean and the sump pump in great shape? It’s cheap “insurance” to replace sump pumps before they fail. John Henry’s stocks a large quantity of quality sump pumps. Why not install a high-water level alarm?

Mother nature wins all water drainage battles, so it’s a great time of year to make sure your yard is graded away from your home to keep water out of your basement. One inch of fall per foot is recommended. Water from downspouts should be extended 10 feet away.

This flood has also taught me how lucky we are to live in Nebraska because of incredibly caring friends and neighbors. I’ve seen people come together and help each other. There were hugs, handshakes and nice things being said. There are new bonds of friendships and understanding as people continue to help each other.

Those are the most important things I learned from this flood!

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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