Archive for June, 2008

We weren’t flooded. But it feels like we were.

I’m not saying, by any stretch, that our family is hurting as much as the thousands of local residents, and business owners, who’ve been flat devastated by the insidious avalanche of water that poured through their property, leaving a blanket of unspeakable gunk in its wake. Believe me, I have a keen sense of perspective here. And we’re lucky. So very lucky.

But right now, at this moment, it’s hard to think of much that’s not flood-tinged. And I find myself feeling guilty, at times, for thinking of anything in non-flood terms.

Take the kids to the pool? Some opened again this week, but water use is still somewhat restricted, and at least one pool (Ellis) is done for the year, perhaps longer.

Go to the Science Station? Not any time soon. Ditto for the Public Library, though the Westdale branch will be busier than ever in coming weeks. Feed the ducks at Ellis Park? See the pool comment above.

There will be more instances like this, when we’ll think to do something, only to be reminded that we can’t, because the flood has changed it. For a while. A LONG while.

It’s still hard to fully process what’s happened. And the impact, for us, personally, has been so minimal compared to what we see around us. I cannot fathom what folks in the flood zones are experiencing. I can see it, but can’t feel it. How incredibly lucky we are.

We’re trying to minimize the impact on our kids. But they see, and hear, and they ask questions. We don’t have all the answers for them. But my hope is that they’ll end up seeing a Cedar Rapids that’s better than ever, on the other side.

Getting to the other side — that’ll happen. Someday.


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Washed out

Spc. Scott Wheat runs to the aid of Cedar Rapids Firefighter Brent Smith (left) and Sgt. Brandon Adams (right) as they carry Louie Moran of Cedar Rapids to safety on First Ave W. after being rescued from his home at 814 Third Ave. NE in Cedar Rapids on Thursday evening, June 12, 2008.“Hi, I’m Richard Pratt, and I’m from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

Sorry to borrow a line from Masters champion Zach Johnson, but being from Cedar Rapids probably says a lot about where we stand right now.

It’s been a horrible week — and not even so much for me.

Here’s just ONE STORY that should tell you what has come upon our river city.

The worst part for me — I’ve been taken out of the loop, in essence, as a dad as we’ve worked untold numbers of hours here at the paper. But so many people have it so, so, so much worse.

God bless and keep us. This will test us to the core.

I’ll write more later. But not sure when. This monumental catastrophe has thrown us for a loop that’ll take time to close.

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Our 3-year-old is celebrating this week, and struggling at the same time.

What else is new at that age, right?

We’ve rather dramatically turned the corner in bathroom behavior. This weekend, he exuberantly informed us that we could give his pull-ups to “another baby.” He then stayed dry all night, including one self-guided trip to the bathroom.

There’ve been a few accidents since, naturally, but we’re well on the road. High-five for the little guy.

However, he’s been on an emotional roller-coaster of late, manifested most recently by fears of things he’s never feared before — the water in the bathtub, the towels used to dry him off, innocuous stuff like that. And this from a kid who’s afraid of very little.

He’s a challenge, this little guy. But he’ll make an impact in the world. I can see it coming.

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Seems that our 7-year-old is finding his academic passion in the world of numbers. (I’m glad he likes math. Maybe he can help me out in a couple of years. It’s not my favorite.)

And he’s taking that passion to a whole new level with his “number scroll.”

It started in class a few weeks back, when his first-grade teacher assigned the class to complete a number grid, from 1 to 100, 10 columns across and 10 rows down. A simple counting exercise, on the surface.

But our son is taking it to a whole new level. He’s become committed, even obsessed, with filling out as many of these grids as possible. I believe he’s now up to nearly 70 sheets. Multiplying by 100, that means he’s filled out nearly 7,000 numbers on those grids. And he’s doing it with no prompting. He just wants to get as many done as he can.

And as he completes each sheet, he attaches it to a “scroll” he’s created, with each sheet taped to its prior sheet. It’s pretty impressive, by any measure.

They even unrolled the scroll in class the other day, and he got a nice mention from his teacher for his commitment. As he should.

Anyone else out there have stories about their kids and a long-term commitment like this? I’d like to hear. Share, share. This blog could use a few more names and notes.

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