Friday, September 2, 2011

A Very Late Hurricane Post

Boy am I late posting this!  The next hurricane is swirling around out there in the Atlantic and I haven't even blathered on about the last one.  Sheesh.  But hey - better late than never, right?

As Hurricanes go, Irene was actually a bit disappointing.  At least from my point of view.  Personally, I love a good natural disaster.  I love watching a storm's ferocity, from the safety of my home of course.  I'm not a total moron.  And I love dealing with the storm's aftermath.  I'll admit, I get a kick out of survival and facing up to what ever challenge the storm presents.   Irene didn't present that many challenges for us.  Granted, a week later and a few miles down the road, they are still without power and we know two families who've had to abandon their homes due to the damage they sustained.  But for us personally, it was a pretty low key storm.

We'd gotten all of our storm preparations done on Friday and woke up Saturday morning to heavy clouds and thankfully, a bit less humidity than the day before.  By 9:00 a.m., there was a decent breeze blowing, and the clouds were turning a weird brown color, probably due to the wild fires burning in the Dismal Swamp, way to the south of us.

By 10:00 a.m., it had started to rain.  I broke out my redneck version of a rain gauge.

Ok, yes.  I should have my homeschooler's license revoked for that.  Sheesh.

I also realized that the one storm preparation I'd failed to make was doing the laundry.  Hey, give me a break.  Homeschoolers are notorious for not having their laundry done.  I frantically started throwing dirty clothes into the washer & praying the lights would stay on long enough to get the soap rinsed out.

By 11:00 a.m., the power was flickering steadily but not bad enough to affect the washer or the clocks.  I kept on cramming clothes into the washer & dryer.

At 1:00 p.m., we had our first tree come down.  Hubby started getting nervous and I started getting excited.  Boy, this is gonna be good!  The bad stuff isn't even supposed to get here until tonight.

Around 1:30, hubby got an emergency call to go fix a bank roof that had blown off.  I have no idea what they thought he was going to do about it in the middle of a hurricane, but he took off to check it out.  Turned out it was only the gutters that had come loose, but they were blowing around wildly & could have smashed windows or done some serious damage if they'd come completely loose and blown into a passing vehicle or a human.

At 5:02 p.m., just seconds after I'd bragged on Facebook about still having power, the lights went out for good.  Hubby returned home around 5:30 and we had sandwiches & ice cream for dinner.

After dinner, Hubby got the generator going and we watched the storm coverage on TV and I knit by candle light.  Luckily, I have a simple garter stitch baby blanket on the needles and boy, that snow white acrylic yarn seems to glow in the dark.  I was having no trouble at all seeing my stitches.  The news reported that a child had been killed in his home by a fallen tree.  Hubby started dragging the kids' mattresses down the stairs.   Meanwhile, the rain continued and the wind blew.

The wind didn't seem to be all that bad until we opened the windows.  I never realized how much sound our windows keep out.  But still, it wasn't That bad.  There were strong gusts of wind that would make you pause & hold your breath, but I never got that "is this ever going to stop" sensation from the wind.

We played Monopoly by candle light which is a lot more difficult than you'd expect.  At least for old, blind people.  The kids weren't having any trouble, but I couldn't read the board to tell what I'd landed on and I couldn't read my Deeds so I never knew if someone had landed on a place I owned.  I have the feeling there was quite a bit of good natured cheating going on.

We ate more sandwiches and polished off the ice cream and I lay down on my "bed" to read.  Ugh!  What a bed.  I'd planned to sleep on the couch but the family were camped out there so I lay down on a sleeping bag and a folded quilt on the hardwood floor.  And let me stress HARD wood floor.  All I can say is that my hips must be a lot skinnier than I think they are because, ouch!  Every time I rolled onto my side, I felt like I was laying on a bed of nails.

I finally fell asleep and was awakened at some point by my husband & son chatting excitedly.  The storm was "over" although we were still getting some fairly strong gusts of wind.  Their excitement was due to another earthquake aftershock.  Boy, those aftershocks just keep coming!

The next morning, I woke up bright and early with the sun gleaming through the windows.   I looked out and saw...   Not much really.

There were several other downed trees, but none of them were overly exciting or particularly photo worthy.  Our rain gauge had a bit of water in it and we were the proud owners of the only tree to fall and block our road.  Hubby broke out the chain saw.

Then I promptly tripped over a stick and face planted into the road.  Actually, I knee, hand, elbow, shoulder and back planted.  I saved my face, but every other single part of me ended up scraped and bruised and I have a huge, disgusting blood blister in the palm of one hand.  I look like I've got Jack Sparrow's Black Spot.  I also have a nice puncture wound in my right arm pit.  Eew!   All I can say is Thank God!  The neighbors hadn't ventured outside yet.  I don't think anyone saw me flopping around on the road.

After we got the tree cleaned up,  Mike cut a few more up/down that were infringing on the roadway and we chatted with the neighbors who'd come out to help.  We all chatted a while then I went back home in search of coffee.  Once the coffee was brewing, I went into redneck survival mode.


and hot water:

See those pots sitting on the tool chest?  They are full of water and after a couple of hours in the sun, you have hot water.  Hot enough to feel relatively comfortable about using it for washing dishes, even bathing if you have enough pots.

By 5:30 or so, the power was back on and we were cooking steak on the grill.

The next morning, I was happy to see (said sarcastically) that my "pet" spider hadn't suffered any.  He was even out of his tunnel enjoying the post-hurricane cool down & low humidity.

Sadly, I still have a looooooong way to go on that acrylic baby blanket.

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