After the water started recedingSeptember has really been a month of surprises ā€“ good and bad.

On September 4th I received an unexpected but much hoped for call from Emily Cervino, Director of the Certified Equity Professional Institute at Santa Clara University, advising me that I had been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Marilyn J. Perkins Claassen Memorial Scholarship. (I owe many thanks to Carine Schneider and Lauren Kahn for their recommendation letters.) The award includes full tuition for the remaining two levels of my CEP qualifying exams. In order to become a CEP designee, a candidate must pass three levels of exams on tax, accounting, securities law, and plan design and administration. I passed my Level 1 exam in June and am scheduled for the Level 2 exam in November. Iā€™m sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

Then we had a flash flood on Monday night, the 17th. At 8:20pm I was calling Miguel to comment on the heavy hail then 30 minutes later I looked out and my potted gardenias were floating in our flooded patio and a pond had snuck in through my back door and taken up residence under my couch. I walked through 10 inches of water to open the front gate – somehow thinking I could let the water out – and the street was a roiling river

When the water receded it left three inches of septic mud in my patio and acres of weeds wrapped around the axels of the motorhome. After two hours of sleep Monday night, we spent 14 hours Tuesday cleaning it all up.

The corner we live on is the low point of several neighborhoods. At the head of our street is a wide canal/walkway that was built to channel the water away from the upper neighborhood – at the point where it enters our street, the water was above my head. Here are some pictures – they are all taken after the water level started subsiding because I was busy blocking the exterior doors to keep more water from coming in. All of the people-pointing-pictures are “water up to here” measures. The red Datsun was swept down our entire street and just missed being smashed into our motorhome. On the other side of the street, all of the cars were pushed together in one long line. One neighbor was home with her mother-in-law and they were so scared they just cried on the phone to her husband who was stuck in traffic. Tuesday they removed all of the furniture from their first floor living room – all the pieces were wet a good 12 inches high. Apparently this is the worst flood in 20 years. At the end of our street where there was a small canal excavated to direct the water to the river, there is now a huge gaping hole. The neighbors actually cooperated and signed a petition (getting them to sign anything is virtually impossible) – I printed out some of these photos to send to the municipal government with the petition.

And to top it all off, two weeks ago I accidentally dyed my hair pitch black. I used the same brand (L’Oreal) and same tone that I used to use in the States, but it turned out superGoth. So much for quality control on major brands sold in foreign countries. I went to the hairdresser the next day and she did something to it – stripped and then re-colored – and it’s still dark, but not BLACK, and at least it matches my eyebrows now. She says in another two weeks it will lighten even more and not to worry. I wouldn’t be worried at all except that I have this professional conference in San Francisco October 9-12 and I really don’t want to look like a vampire in street clothes. For goodness sake, these people just gave me a scholarship ā€“ I have an image to uphold!