Showing posts with label Hurricanes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hurricanes. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two photos

 This old cherry was dying little by little and now with a push from the storm seems to have just missed that budget arbor we put in.
Here are three of our neighbors who came by to help and get that big tree cut into movable pieces so that we could get out of the driveway!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fall Baking

Hanna must have dumped a lot of rain and not much wind. We don't have a rain gauge, but this storm left far less damage and mess than a recent summer storm that passed over our heads in July and brought a nearby tornado. Even the lawn is not covered with much debris. Ike does not appear to be planning to pee over our heads, so we may be spared this summer once again.

I brought back small baskets of apples and peaches from the farms in southern Pennsylvania and will be making pie filling all day today for enjoyment this winter. If I smell like nutmeg and/or cinnamon and the door handles to the garage (where the freezer now sits) are sticky you know I am in the midst of pie making.

Of course, this also means I have to spend more time on the elipitical in the future!!

P.S. Yes, the photo below is of one of my three humming birds that seem to spend most of their time fighting over the one lantana pot I have on the deck!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three day weekend

I got back yesterday and totally collapsed. Napped on the couch for about an hour in the afternoon and then watched chick flicks and ate snacks. Fortunately hubby can heat up leftovers---of which there are many---for himself. A three year-old totally drains every drop of energy and then watching his one-year-old sister yesterday morning was the final hill that I climbed.

Today, my son and his girlfriend are coming to spend the night. I was thinking about how nervous she probably is...and of course, for no real reason. But visiting with the guys parents is always a bit of a challenge.

I have shopped for food and cleaned the house after Xman's adventures.

I am too tired to write anything creative and also kind of in a slump about the hurricane that is heading to Louisiana. The one right behind it is currently heading our way...ugh.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Taking it One Day at a Time

Watching the news this week, the discouraging images were so familiar to me. In the late 1970’s upon returning from living in the South Pacific, Hubby and I excitedly purchased our first real home as a married couple in southern Texas. The house was located in a small and lovely suburb surrounded by shady live oak and sweet gum trees covered with Spanish moss and bordering lush green lawns. The house was a three bedroom, two bathroom ranch in excellent condition. We owned about a half acre. The back yard also had a garage-size greenhouse that kept all my tropical plants protected through the short winters of southern Texas. The former owner was a landscape addict and the yard was spectacular; we even won an award one year from the local garden club. Across the street was a slow moving bayou that my husband explored in his canoe on weekends. My daughter was almost four at the time and my son was about 8 months old. I was still nursing him, which later became a blessing.

Hurricanes were common in the summer months in this area of Texas but none ever reached our area. In 1979, Tropical Storm Claudette moved in from the gulf and while we expected lots of rain and flooded lawns, we knew it would move on as these tropical storms always did. But Claudette was contradictory and decided to stay awhile. She moved up to Alvin, Texas and then proceeded to sit there like a drunken sailor sucking up moisture from the Gulf and dumping it on our heads. 42 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. According to Wikipedia: “Claudette was a long-lived (August 15 - August 29) but fairly weak storm that spent almost its entire life as a tropical depression. Claudette formed in the mid-Atlantic east of the Windward Islands. It had two spells as a tropical storm; the first was a brief one east of Puerto Rico. The storm passed directly over the island just after weakening, where it killed one person from flooding. The depression moved casually through the Greater Antilles and moved into the Gulf of Mexico. Claudette restrengthened into a tropical storm south of Sabine, Texas and made landfall near Port Arthur, killing one person from floods. Damages from flooding in Texas were enormous, totaling $400 million dollars. Claudette was one of the costliest storms on record that never reached hurricane intensity.”

After hours and hours of gray rain, fear was starting to set in. By early evening I could hear the water gurgling beneath the bathtub in the children’s bathroom. It was a strange and unsettling sound. In the dusk, I tried to see where the level of the bayou was in the neighbor’s backyard across the street, but the rain was so heavy I couldn’t make out anything but gray water against the window. Uneasy, we put the kids to bed and then headed to bed ourselves. The numbing sound of rain continued throughout the night. We slept on and off, and in the morning, woke up to about six inches of water in the bedroom! We hurriedly packed some clothes, got the kids dressed and talked about what to do next.

I remember getting my daughter her breakfast before we left. The water had come up another 8 inches by that time. I put her on the kitchen table and fixed her cereal. Although the electricity was out, the milk was still cold from the fridge. She was fascinated with the swimming pool that had previously been our home. While eating she suddenly squealed in delight. When I looked up, she giggled. “Mom, look, there’s a fish under the table!” In verification, there was a small 4 inch fish swimming around the legs of our kitchen table as if it was his own small wooden reef.

The water continued to rise, and we eventually had to leave our home by that reliable old canoe. As we paddled down our street I noticed that the waters were teaming with balls of fire ants climbing over each other in order to avoid drowning. We had to be careful not to brush up against those lovely live oaks and sweet gums branches, as they, too, were covered in fire ants and harbored their share of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes as well. We paddled out to the nearby freeway and then hubby returned to pick up our neighbors. Eventually a school bus took all of us to the local elementary school. While the rains stopped, the water continued to rise for another day. We got over 3 feet of water in our house. When we realized that it would be days before we could get back home, friends took us in. After several weeks of living with them, we accepted that we had to find some place to rent for the longer term and fortunately we had the limited resources to do that. I remember thinking that although I had lost the inside of my house and most of my belongings, I was so thankful we were alive and uninjured.

We returned to a neighborhood of refuse-covered lawns. People were trying to determine what could be salvaged and what had to be thrown out among their treasures. I still have in my mind the nightmare images of soaked furniture, buckled oak flooring, and days and days of doing laundry when the electricity was finally restored. My neighbor’s dryer worked and my washer worked and we ran them non-stop together for days. You have to wash EVERYTHING you ever owned that is washable. We probably thought we were washing the flood away.

We retrieved the chest freezer from the neighbor's swimming pool where it had floated out of our garage. All of our food was lost, of course.

Months passed before we could get a contractor to help us rebuild. We gutted the house ourselves in the interim. The fireplace had not been pushed off its base and we did not have a can of diesel oil on a counter to tip and spread everywhere as one of our neighbors had experienced.

I ended up having to wean my son earlier than I wanted, because we had to shop for cars (both of ours floated away) and handle tons of insurance paperwork and loan paperwork. (This was the flood, by the way, that gave Texan, Dan Rather, his first big newsbreak and helped move him forward as a major news anchor.)

As I see these people in the Gulf who are so thankful just to be alive, I know that months from now when they will have to accept they have a long road ahead after the initial shock wears off. They will need the help of the charities more than ever and the support of their relatives and friends to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. As my blog emphasizes, you get through these things One Day at a Time.