Flood

Not as high as it got, but you get the idea. Photo credit: Amy Armstrong.

Not as high as it got, but you get the idea. Photo credit: Amy Armstrong.

Find out how to donate or volunteer.

It’s already been 10 days since the flood ripped through Ellicott City and changed the landscape of our lives for the foreseeable future.

Wait.  Seriously, only 10 days?

Anyone who knows Matt and me knows that we like to work.  Like most independent restaurant owners we know, we don’t have weekends.  There is always something to be done, whether it is at the restaurant or from home.  Our Monday “days off” are usually filled with planning for the week ahead, placing produce, seafood and liquor orders, writing schedules and private party menus, completing small projects at the restaurant, and on and on.

Long story short: we work a lot, we work during the hours when most people are off, and we use work as our main social outlet. We enjoy it, most of the time.

Without that anchor-slash-beacon of work, we have been at a loss.  Neither of us can focus very well.  We’ve spent a lot of time waiting in line, waiting on hold, watching the Olympics and looking at Facebook hoping for updates.  We have both been almost frantic about the state of the building in which we’ve spent so much time for the past decade, filled as it was with mud and debris, broken glass, rotting food and useless equipment.

As you can imagine, then, this past Sunday and Monday were a real shot in the arm.  Over the course of those two days, more than 50 people showed up in their oldest clothes with masks and gloves and shovels to help us clean out the restaurant.  These volunteers included actual family members, friends, friends’ kids, current and former staff members and their friends and families, Rumor Mill regulars and people who just love Ellicott City.

The floor finally became visible after about four inches of mud was shoveled out by hand.

The floor finally became visible after about four inches of mud was shoveled out by hand.

It is an understatement to say that this group did a gigantic amount of work.  We left Monday evening with an almost blank slate of a first floor – which, while difficult to see in its own way, was immensely better than where we were Sunday morning – and now we wait till the weekend, when we have been promised access again.

In the meantime, we are trying to refocus ourselves on what we can do from here, and enjoy this unexpected and frankly unprecedented time at home with each other and Avery.  When we feel discouraged, we think of the generosity of so many people we know and of the many we don’t, and that gets us going again.

Thank you, Rumor Mill family.  Thank you all so much.

The response to our GoFundMe page has been truly overwhelming and we will be shutting it down shortly.  If you’d like to donate for the specific benefit of the Rumor Mill and our employees, you can visit that page.  Otherwise, we recommend donating to the Ellicott City Partnership’s Help Ellicott City fund, attending one of the many fundraisers in the area, or following us (or any of our affected neighbors) on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out details about this weekend’s cleanup and other volunteer opportunities as they become available.

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