Hello from the Muck

Scott Collage

A shy woman and her daughter approached my friend’s ravaged house yesterday afternoon as a dozen muddy volunteers hauled its contents out of slimy, clay-like mud and water. “Are you the homeowner?” they asked him, “we made you some soup.” It was frozen and labeled.

There is so much destruction, but so much more awesome. There are pop up food stands on practically every corner in the worst areas of Calgary – Mission, Rideau/Roxboro, Sunnyside, Elbow Park (where my sister lives), Inglewood (my ‘hood, which was spared from overflow from the river, but not from muck coming up through old pipes) and Bowness – where Mike has been every day helping our friends haul the wrecked contents of their house out onto the street. Including a 48 track recording studio they had built in the basement, and tons of instruments and music memorabilia. (Stuff from the Clash! A Rickenbacker signed by Lemmy!)

Some neighbourhoods were far luckier than others, but some are just getting their power back now, after 7 days – and some, like Bowness and Victoria Park, still have no power.


(I don’t know who took this shot, but it’s all over social media – thanks to whomever captured it for sharing so many smiles.)

So I hope you’ll understand my radio silence – it occurred to me yesterday that for the first time I haven’t posted in a week. But I can’t bring myself to do anything other than help -everyone is pulling together and doing what they can- and I know you guys will understand and will be here when I get back. (PS: I bought these polka-dot boots last Wednesday night on a whim. Who knew?)

Boots Collage


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61 comments on “Hello from the Muck

  1. Nicole Boyhouse
    June 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    You’re awesome. This whole city is awesome. xoxo

  2. Miriam
    June 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I’m a relatively new follower, and an ex-Calgarian now living in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. My parents are still in Calgary, and my mom was evacuated from Sunnyside, so I was following the flood news somewhat obsessively. It was an interesting confluence of my blog reading and my flood following, to see your frequent tweets and photos appearing on the live twitter feed on the CBC website!

    It’s hard being far away when something like this happens. What can I do that would make any difference at all? So I sent a big box of handmade soap to my mom, to distribute to all the mucky people she sees. Kind of ironic that our little homestead here is called Mucky Boots Farm…

  3. CathyH
    June 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Amazing that people still have a sense of humour through all this devastation. Tonight was to be my husband’s retirement dinner from the firm he spent 38 years. He and his also retiring partner cancelled the dinner and donated all that would have been spent on that dinner to colleagues affected by the flood. Reminds me why I have been married to this man for 33 years. Our anniversary is tomorrow.

  4. CathyH
    June 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I bought him a lovely card for him and when I got home to sign it, it said ” To my wife”. Omg, is that want 33 years does????.

  5. Julie
    June 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Cathy – that is awesome and hilarious.

  6. Erica B.
    June 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Ditto what Nicole & Miriam said. You are awesome, beyond words. And as a former Calgarian it’s been hard to see the devastation and not be able to be there to pitch in. Amazing efforts by volunteers, Nenshi, City staff, CEMA, EMS and the military. My heart goes out to everyone who have lost what they have worked so hard to build. xoxo

  7. stacey snacks
    June 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    We really feel for you Julie.
    We here in New Jersey really suffered with Super Storm Sandy, and people are still without homes all these months later……..it’s a long road back, and it’s great that you are there to help.
    Our hearts go out to you all.

  8. Teri
    June 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    So sorry for what you and your neighbors are going through. Glad you’ve been able to help. *hugs*

  9. carol s-b
    June 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Awesome boots! Mine are leopard patterned.
    Spent yesterday helping a friend pull more tiles out of the basement: we were going to clean the floor (except the part in the middle where the tarp is with all the salvaged stuff on it). But some of the tiles were releasing, and why leave them with that layer of muck that’s seeped partially underneath? So much ruin. Lawns piled high with furniture, shoes, wrecked books, toys, stratego and meccano sets, Christmas ornaments. I’m sure I saw a wedding dress in there. Why is it that the stuff on top, all you manage to save, is paper plates and garden pots? Next Christmas will be tough for a lot of people, missing the memories enclosed in those cardboard boxes. So much ruin (oh, the smell.). And so much awesomeness. Random kindness of strangers: I don’t know who supplied the burgers that arrived, but the crew sure appreciated them. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. All we can do is the next thing that must be done. And then we’ll do the thing after that.

  10. dude
    June 28, 2013 at 1:39 am

    u reap what sow Alberta Oil

  11. Alicen
    June 28, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Keep up the good work!! We miss you but we understand 🙂

  12. Jennifer
    June 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Love your blog Julie! Thanks for posting these pictures and sharing what has been going on. It is so inspiring to see how everyone is coming together to help out. It makes me so proud to be Canadian. Keep up the good work!

  13. Terri
    June 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Carol s-b… We got flooded (not anywhere NEAR this bad) a few years ago. I still can’t stand the smell of wet concrete. 🙁

  14. Laurie from Burnaby
    June 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Keep up the good work. I don’t need you to cook and post it here. I need to see what you’re doing and repairing the city.
    We live in Burnaby, but we know Vancouver could easily suffer a tsunami and look like Calgary does now.

  15. Christin
    June 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Hey, Julie! What a small world. Seven of my colleagues and I spent a good while in the music house on Wednesday; separating, clearing and garbaging. We got that rubbish pile down pretty far before the giant bin filled up and we had to halt. If Mike was there then I probably met him. Everybody was fantastic. 🙂

    Best of luck to them. I know I’ll be making my way back to Bowness this weekend to see what more I can do.

  16. Margaret
    June 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you for your post today – your heartfelt sentiments express exactly how we are all feeling about what is going on in Calgary and elsewhere in southern Alberta.

    If anyone ever doubts their efforts will not make a different, the mom and daughter who simply offered some soup – that says it all!

  17. Manon from Ontario
    June 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Hey Julie don’t worry about your blog, we will be right here when you do come back. Thank you for the updates, it’s really sad what has happened, but also so beautiful how it has brought out the best in the people.
    That is what humanity is all about.

    Thoughts and prayers are with you in order to push through this and get on with your lives….I know it’s gonna take a while before Calgary regains it’s normal…if ever!


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