One year ago today.... flat tires and floods.

One Year Ago… 3.30.10

Exactly one year ago, I woke up early and got ready for work. Typically out of character for me, but I was motivated to get to work early and finish some important items before leaving the office for 2 and a half weeks to celebrate my wedding and honeymoon. At the time, I was living in Norwood, so I hopped into the car around 6:30 a.m. for the 50-minute commute. It was raining, as it had been for nearly the entire month of March, and the sky was still dark. Backing out of the driveway, I heard a strange sound – strange enough that I jumped out of the car to see that my left rear tire was flat! This was the second flat tire in about 6 months, both happening in my driveway. Beyond annoyed, I pulled the car back into the driveway and called up AAA. I thought about waking Matt up, but at this point what could he have done? I just had to wait for my tire changing saviors to arrive. To kill time I actually decorated the table with our runner and placemats that we received the weekend before at our shower. I was silently freaking out (and decorating) while Matt slept upstairs. I wasn’t freaking out so much because of the precious time that I was losing at work, but because at 8:30, I had to host the first webinar in a series for 30 of our recently hired store managers. Without a backup, this would be a very bad situation if I wasn’t there. Yikes.
This is the text I sent to Matt while he was asleep.

AAA finally showed up about 45 minutes later. I always find it awkward (ok the 2 times I’ve dealt with this situation) about where to be when the AAA guy is changing your tire. Do I wait outside? Even if it is pouring rain? This particular AAA representative didn’t even say one word to me. Luckily, I knew the drill after my last tire situation so he didn’t really have to I guess, but a hello would have been nice! Needless to say, I waited outside, in the rain, while the tire was changed. Tire done. I hopped back into the car and started on my 50 minute journey to work, freaking out that I’ve already driven more than the allotted amount on that spare tire, and that I had to go 50 mph for almost 40 miles (straight highway to work!)

Miraculously, I made it into work at my normal time, a little after 8:00. After some login issues (which ALWAYS happen with Webex), I finally got everything up and running. My facilitator showed up just in the nick of time, coffee in hand. Not two minutes into our presentation, my facilitator, KNOCKED OVER her coffee into the keyboard, all over the mouse, and narrowly missed the phone. A look of complete terror washed over her face. Amazing. I mouthed, “Just keep going!” and then scrambled to find some paper towels to clean up the coffee spill. Luckily, we didn’t really need that keyboard and the mouse was still working. The funny part is this episode didn’t really even faze me as 9 out of 10 webinars are usually pure chaos anyway!

After a quick break, and then another webinar, I finally had a chance to get out of the office and go to get my tire fixed at Sam’s Club in Warwick. It took some creative re-routing due to flooding that was going on in the area, but I finally made it. When I stepped outside of the car in the parking lot, I heard sirens all around me, such an eerie feeling. The massive store was completely deserted and as I walked up to the Customer Service desk I could hear them talking on the phone about a possible closing that the Governor would announce at a press conference. I must have looked a little desperate because after I explained that I was leaving tomorrow for my wedding and needed my tire fixed, someone begrudgingly agreed and discovered I had a screw in my tire. Believe it or not, this was great news because it meant that my tire could be fixed for FREE. Ladies and gentlemen, I highly recommend Sam’s Club tire purchases, this is the 2nd issue that they fixed for me free of charge. My tire was fixed and I was on the road again!

I pulled into the parking lot at work and was immediately taken back by the lack of cars. When I was walking into the building, everyone else was walking out. Keep in mind, I had only been gone for a little over an hour. I got back to my desk and the entire department was gone! At this point, I hadn’t been able to get any of the last minute items done so I started working. A few minutes later, the VP came in and explained that the Governor had called a State of Emergency and the building was evacuated. The Pawtuxet River, which was only a quarter of a mile down the street, was causing big BIG trouble and roads all around our building were flooding. Later that day and into the next, this river would not only flood and subsequently close the Warwick Mall for months- everything inside and outside of it was destroyed, but also shut down Interstate 95, not to mention other destruction to nearby businesses and homes.

At the time, my ride north back to Massachusetts was without incident and I was able to finish up work on my laptop from the comfort of my own couch. Also worth noting the sheer terror I felt as I peeked down in our basement, but thankfully- no water! As my own personal hell was ending, it was gearing up for many of my wedding guests who would be flying out to Jamaica two days later. First, I got a phone call from my Mom who was returning from her Level III PSIA exams in Vermont. By the time she was on her way into Rhode Island around 10:00 p.m. there were multiple road closures, including 95 and many local roads on her way home. I was on the phone with her keeping her up to date on the road closings as they happened, and I must say that the RI DOT did a great job of keeping their site and Twitter up to date. My mom finally made it home safe and sound; to then discover water in the basement. Nice! We also got a call from Matt’s parent’s- again, water in the basement. How we didn’t get water in our basement is still a miracle and I’m so grateful for it! Rhode Island did receive the brunt of this storm, although our Neponset River flooded, so if you didn’t get water in your basement you were in the vast minority.

I remember going to bed that night with the news on (Massachusetts news by the way) and watching people on jet skis in Cranston zipping around the road behind my office. I always thought I would go to bed the night before I left for Jamaica with visions of jet skis in my head… I just never thought they would be in floodwaters behind my office in Cranston!

Flood Flashback ABC6

Now, flashforward to 24 hours after my flat tire discovery. Matt and I are on the plane at Logan, after just being bumped up to first class thanks to American Airlines and my oversized bright pink wedding dress bag. Life is good. We are on our way to be married in Jamaica with our favorite people in the world.

First class breakfast... time to relax!

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