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  • It's been 109 days since the water filled Traci's house... Water so strong and determined that it moved her neighbor's house off its foundation, left it tipped on its side. "The Wizard of Oz house," she calls it now. All autumn, tourists who'd come to Vermont to admire the turning leaves would stop on her stretch of Route 100, blocking traffic, awed by the destruction. Leaves temporarily forgotten. She caught strangers in her kitchen, once, looking at her belongings sticking out of three feet of mud-- a ski pole, cookbooks, a spatula-- taking pictures of them. Her friend is trying to "excavate" the kitchen, she says, see what the layers of silt will release. This mud is unforgiving, though, and persistent. She has pieces of furniture she's power-washed three times now and they still excrete mud, as if the storm had made its way into the very core of her coffee table, as it has all other elements of her life. Still, the sign Traci first hung on the front of her house right after the storm that read "Irene You Bitch," has been replaced. Now it reads "Gratitude Community Love After Irene 2011." And she's hung a Christmas wreath on the front door-- no matter that it's off its hinges-- with a big, pink bow to match.
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