Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oh, What a Night!!!!

Hello, all! It seems as if this week has flown by---there has been something to do almost every day! I went to west Texas to get Weiss and Zoey and see Mom and Dad. We ate at top-ranked Harold's Pit BBQ, which was AWESOME (they are ranked as one of the top BBQ places in the state, located in Abilene)!!!! They are finally open for dinner now--it used to be lunch only--and it was GREAT food.... Logan is going to have to go. I hit a MAJOR storm driving in to Merkel, complete with hail. On I-20, the traffic slowed down to about 15 to 20 MPH.... one of "those" storms. The lightning was incredible, too. It was beautiful to see the storm build up across the West Texas plains on the way into town. (We can't quite get the great visibility down here in Central Texas to see a beautiful T-storm building up, so I've missed out...)

Anyway, as soon as I was in town, I had to leave to come back to Marble Falls so Logan could see Weiss... he was missing him desperately!!! (After a Target and Chick-Fil-A stop on the way out of town, of course!)

On Wednesday evening, when we got home, we had dinner with at the Burns' with the Duvall family joining us. It was really fun... When we pulled up to their house, Weiss let out a blood-curdling squeal of delight.... He then proclaimed, "SOPHIA!!!" Logan and I looked at each other and laughed.... He was super excited to see her.... There were a total of five kiddos, and they all played in the Burns' beautiful backyard.....

Yesterday, I kept Royann Williams' two kiddos, Cayden and Colsen, from 12:00 to 4:00. We went over at 11; Royann brought us lunch. (Thanks, Royann!) They were fun and Weiss certainly enjoyed playmates for the day. We were over at Royann's house, which is just down a few blocks, and the boys all played outside and enjoyed it. It was fun hearing the commentary from Cayden (almost 5) and Colsen was such a sweet baby and SOOOOO easy to take care of... WOW.... All Royann said to do was lay him in his bed and tell him "Goodnight, Colsen," for his nap... I did this, and he was out for TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!! And not even a peep. When he woke up, I stuck my head in the door, and he was just cooing to himself.... If all babies were like Colsen, everyone would have 4 or 5 kids, no doubt!!!!!

After babysitting, Weiss and I drove out to this lake area past Wertz Dam. Logan had gone out to cook with Bob Clifton for a Texas Tech Alumni gathering. There was a large crowd, and one of the old TT athletic directors spoke, along with a TT spokesperson. It was fun. Weiss had a good time, too: it was right by the lake, and Weiss wanted to get his feet wet. It started out so innocently..... We ended up stripping him down and putting him in a swim diaper. He LOVES to pick up rocks and throw them in the lake. He could do this for HOURS.... Future rock skipper. And of course, I enjoy it because he stays in one place and is occupied for a long time, so I can enjoy myself and "vegge out" a bit....

Friday, Nancy Foley and the girls came for piano and stayed afterwards a bit and had lunch with me. I enjoyed the visit. We had planned to go overnight camping with the Homeyers, but Delbert (Logan's grandad) is not doing well, and so he had to leave really early this morning to go and see him at Big Spring. So Logan, Weiss, Kelley, Matt, Max the dog, and I all planned to go have an evening picnic at an LCRA park on Lake Travis and then come home.

We drove about 10 minutes outside of Marble Falls on FM 1431 to Smithwick and turned off to an LCRA park. There are many LCRA parks, but Matt and Kelley had not been to this location. However, it was beautiful.... No one was there.... just us. Max swam, and Weiss stripped down to his swim diaper and was wading around... It was the perfect temperature and warmth. There were beautiful rocks everywhere and the water was very clear. We all waded out to this big rock area in the middle of the river/lake and played for awhile.... I kept saying, "I already want to plan to come back here...." It was really beautiful....

We then decided to have our picnic. We hopped in the cars and drove down just a bit, to where we had seen some other cars and picnickers/campers. We parked on a very high embankment. (The Homeyers had their truck, and we had my little SUV...)
We took the Homeyer's cute picnic basket, a backback with some towels, diapers and water and our insulated bag down to another nice "rock island" in the water. We waded out to it in shin/ankle deep water. We did notice there was a strong current, but Logan carried Weiss, and all was well. We had a wonderful dinner of Darcy's Deli chicken salad and homemade bread on beach towels. (Thanks, Matt and Kelley!!!!) After eating, Kelley and I stayed and visited while Matt, Logan, Weiss and Max went and walked down the little rock island....

Kelley was the first one to notice the water beginning to rise. I didn't really think anything of it, at first, but we had to start moving our shoes we all took off down by the water's edge.

Then we began moving our gear, which was closer to our picnic area we had made.... The guys were quite a ways down, and then they turned around and began coming back to us.... After gathering our gear up, Matt tried to ford the water with the picnic basket to get back to their truck. He was our "guinea pig" testing the water. He was planning to come back and get Kelley to help her across the current, which was now past Matt's waist. (Correct me if I am wrong, Matt...) He had to turn around and come back. The current was too strong. Matt could have swam across and ended up down the river on the other side, but because we had Kelley and Weiss, this was not a very good option.

Oh--by the way--Kelley is due at the end of July with their first baby. So not only did we have a toddler, but a pregnant woman on our hands. (Yes, folks, all great stories have a pregnant woman. I guess it adds to the suspense.....)

Even Max the dog was having a hard time swimming against the current. The water was even doing the little thing where it peaks and whitecaps, so the current was a movin', folks..... After exploring some other options, we figured we would all move to the opposite bank of the river/Lake Travis instead of attempting to get to our cars. The water was less intimidating going away from our cars... It was more shallow, and at this time, the water was still rising....

What was the cause of the rising? Well, The Highland Lakes are all connected by a series of dams.... Lake Travis is connected to Lake Marble Falls via a dam, and on the other end of Travis is another dam, connecting it to Town Lake in Austin. Unlike some of the lakes in the Highland Lake chain, Travis is not constant level. Lake Travis is a very large lake (stretching from practically Marble Falls to Austin), and we were close to the dam, but could not see it. Anyway, the dam will open and release water periodically. This is exactly what it was doing when the water began to rise around us.....

So we all flailed out of the water with our gear. Matt and I were acting as sherpas with the gear, while Logan had Weiss on his shoulders and Kelley was gear-free because she had some gear of her own (baby Homeyer!). We climbed up the slippery banks--complete with rust orange mud--and Kelley and I waited with Max and Weiss while the guys walked down to an area where they could possibly communicate with others by yelling across the water. (By now, people across the river were noticing us....) Weiss didn't have anything but a swim diaper on... We had extra diapers and shoes in the backpack with us, but when we drove on down the river, Logan took Weiss's wet clothes and put them in the back of my car to dry. However, we were blessed because he did not get cold... The weather was neither too hot (for Kelley) or cold (for Weiss)....

Meanwhile, Kelley and I were watching points in the river to see if the water was still rising. We could see some people with lifejackets and ropes trying to get across. There was no way... The river was at least 150 yards across, and the grown men with lifejackets kept losing their footing from the current in waist-deep water..... We were still within earshot of the guys, even though they were 100 yards down or so... (The sound echoed off of the high banks, just like a canyon....) We heard the guys across say, "Go back to where ya'll were... [the rock island we moved off of]....Ya'll can get out across here....." [about 100 yards or more down on the other side..... they were showing us we could get across, but the current would take us down quite a ways....]

Logan and Matt yelled back, "We have a pregnant woman and a baby...." The guys on the other bank said, "Oh...." Yes, that plan failed....

After watching the other group with the ropes and lifejackets attempt to get about 10 yards into the river, we saw their truck race up the steep side of the bank and out of our sight, back down the road to leave the park. By this time, Matt and Logan had made it back, and we all decided to walk back down to where they had communicated with the guys. (It was an area of large, smooth rocks for us to sit on and camp for the evening, if this was necessary.) We all got there after retracing the path the guys had made. Thankfully, we were all full from dinner and had more liquids if needed (We had water bottles, tea and lemondade in the cooler....) We also had more bread, Cheetos, chicken salad, Weiss's crackers, and trail mix, if needed. We even had baby wipes for toilet paper and some beach towels for cover! It was even a full moon, so we would have enough light to get around.....I had some bubbles out and blew some for Weiss, but quickly got frustrated because he LOVES to dump out his bubble solution. Matt took him for a little stroll while Logan discovered he was the only one with his phone, which had gotten wet, but still worked.... (None of us had ours because we had just planned to picnic and go right back to our cars....) Because his good phone was recently stolen, he was using his old phone, which did not have any local contacts plugged in to it.... only San Antonio contacts.... He dialed "411" for info to get the LCRA's number to ask them about the rising water (still rising).... We knew they had to close the dam gates soon, but did not know when... He could not get ahold of anyone, after calling two numbers.....

We waited a bit longer, and then began to hear the faint sound of diesel engines and firetrucks.... We all had that nauseated feeling you get when you are super embarrassed. I envisioned ropes and rescuers, complete with helmets for all of us, fording the river. Because the road was windy, we would hear the sirens and then they would fade away. We were almost relieved because we thought they were going away.... However, we would all hear them again, and then we would all collectively say "oh no" and began joking and laughing out of embarrassment. However, Weiss knew the sound. "Fire trucks!!! YEAH!" Someone was excited.

It began growing a bit dark. We then could not hear the sirens, but saw the lights. And not just one or two vehicles, but TWO AMBULANCES AND TWO HUGE FIRE ENGINES!!!! However, they would do us little good at this point because we were about 200 yards or more separated from them---they were across the river...... Weiss was so excited, saying, "Firetruck!!! Firetruck!!!!"

Shortly later, a volunteer fire rescue truck--someone's farm truck with lights on the top---not as embarassing---pulled up. Then a Ford Explorer complete with lights pulled up with ANOTHER volunteer firefighter. Logan, Matt, Max the dog and I hopped in the back of the truck with the gear. Kelley and Weiss were inside the truck with the firefighter. The Ford Explorer, which was the volunteer firefighter's stepson--who was also a volunteer firefighter--followed. (A family affair!!! Wait....it gets better.....) After a drive down a bumpy-as-a-washboard dirt road and a few telephone calls, we found someone to come pick us all up at the Spicewood Fire Station, clear on the OTHER side of the lake. (Our cars were about 20 miles around the lake from us or so now....

At the end of the dirt road, a Buick LeSabre pulls up, complete with lights and a whip antenna (pretty funny!). It was the volunteer firefighter's WIFE... (So there's Gary the firefighter, his wife now, his son, and his grandson, who was also in the Ford Explorer....)

Kelley, Weiss and I hopped in the Buick so Logan could ride in the truck. Poor Matt had to stay in the back with Max, who was behaving like a really good dog does. (He's a great dog!!! Kudos for chocolate labs!!!) Kelley and I heard some interesting stories, to say the least, on the way back..... I'm glad the woman didn't know that a PASTOR'S WIFE was present.... (Haha---Kelley and Matt, you guys are totally cool about it, but I'm sure we would have had a 'G' rated conversation if only she had known.....)

When we arrived at the Spicewood Fire Department, it seemed like there was a party going on! There were several people there for a Friday night, and an LCRA officer drove up and got a statement from us. Kevin Naumann, a new MFISD school board member who is also a volunteer firefighter, called the superintendant of MFISD to get Rick Edwards's number--the OTHER new MFISD school board member. We wanted to make sure he was on his way..... (Because we didn't have our phones and Logan had his old one, when we dialed "411," it gave us Rick's home number, and Matt talked to Kim (Rick's wife), but we didn't have Rick's cell...) Anyway, Rick came out in his brand spankin' new truck, complete with the paper tags.... I got in and dirtied it up because I had some rust colored mud on me and my shoes....

They dropped Weiss and I off at Kelley and Matt's house while Kelley, Matt, and Logan all went in Kelley's car to get the two remaining vehicles back at Lake Travis. I stayed and gave Weiss a bath, and Kelley left a tank top for him to wear....It was so funny---it looked like a dress on him!

When they all arrived back at the house, Kelley said, "You'll never guess what happened!!!" Apparently, she said there were state troopers and more cops at the site, and they stopped Kelley and questioned why she was out there. (She dropped off the guys--I guess they were still getting in the cars....) She told the officer we were the "stranded" people, and the DPS officer I guess knew what was going on (Kelley, correct me if I am wrong....). The officer said there were gunshots fired, and they were investigating. GREAT.

I'm glad we were NOT still out there.... And, to top it all off, the water level STILL had not gone down from the dam. The firefighters assured us it would probably go down right after we left for the fire house, but Kelley said it was still up.... We really WOULD have had to camp out there ALL night...

The fire fighter also informed us there were 2 separate mountain lion sightings recently in that same area we had been at on the rocks (when the firetrucks came). We surely would have chummed them in with our chicken salad leftovers......

But God took care of us. Even if it was a bit humiliating, we are safe. And Matt has a good sermon story--or series--now to preach.

1 comment:

lexy said...

Wow!!! Glad you all survived.... :)
That was a crazy story!!!!