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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sadly, The Disaster That Made Me Stop and Think

The night before Irene came to town. Makes
you wonder how safe that spider felt!

This is a different type of story than what you might be used to reading on this blog and although I am somewhat stressing the importance of being prepared for a disaster not only for yourself but for your companion animals, it is also a story of awakening, for me, somewhat of a sad awakening really.  



Friday Aug 26, 2011, I was getting ready for the moving sale we would be having on Saturday. I was also preparing for hurricane Irene by stocking up on dog food, barrels of water, and getting copies of shot records for all of my dogs in case they had to go to a shelter. We had never needed to be evacuated from Riverside before but the way Irene was being described on the news made me feel like I was in the Stephen King movie, ‘Storm of the Century’ only it was not snow. Given the recent earthquake felt in PA just days prior to Irene made me think that for sure anything was possible! Better to be prepared to move out with the family pets. Oh, and mother of course! I got candles, batteries, and flashlights out as well as made a list of medications that my hubby, mom, and I take on a daily basis in case we were knocked unconscious suddenly during the storm. Hey, ya never know! It’s not like a tree never fell in this yard before! 



By Saturday, feeling prepared for Irene I set out to get my sale started. Oh sure people coming to the garage sale had to walk around the two huge tubs of water I put aside for dogs, but I was secure in the knowledge that I was prepared for disaster.   



Saturday night the rain started, the wind was blowing but it was not a treacherous wind that you would normally associate with a hurricane, more like a bad thunderstorm wind.



Sunday morning, 5 AM:  I am awakened to sweat rolling off of me in buckets and this was more than the normal nighttime hot flashes!



What? No fan? No Air-conditioning?  But there is a soft light in the bedroom that I would associate with the night light I leave on for the stepping over of dogs during my night sprints to the bathroom. As the fog slowly lifted from my brain I opened my eyes to scour the room. Hmm, the light is coming from a candle! 



Slowly I rise and head for the kitchen to grab that first cup of “slap me silly and wake me up Cup O~Joe.” 



“No power.” I hear hubby say as he lies on the couch looking at the TV that is not working. “It went off at 4:20.”



Hmm, 4:20? How precise!  No power means no Joe!  I stumble back to bed to lie down until my head fully sweeps away the cobwebs.



It’s HOT! My mind screams at me. I am not a person who enjoys the heat, nor do I like the cold, but when you’re cold you can always add more clothes, when you’re hot, well, there’s a limit to what you can take off and not be arrested for! 



 The sun which is hiding beneath the clouds of Irene, is bringing some light to the day’s break and with it a semi cool breeze.



OMG! Open the windows and get some cool air in this house! My mind screams with delight as if it’s a new idea worthy of a Pulitzer Prize!



Whish, whish, whish, whish! Every window shouts as they are sprung upward  as far as they can stretch. Outside, the only sound came from the wind and the rain. Everyone is hunkered down and awaiting the ride that might befall us.



The day is long and illness is making it even longer and more boring. Hubby has already called the electric company about twenty times and cannot get through. Finally we call our neighbor to make sure the power is actually out in the neighborhood and not just at our house. Wally’s World as we used to call our home, has been known to have strange happenings but usually these happenings were after hubby decided to try fixing something or improve things in the home. Like the time he cut all those pesky wires hanging down from the basement rafters. He made it look very neat I must say. He has a knack for organizing things for sure. Too bad those wires were our link to the outside world also known as a telephone line! Yes, it did take a week of no calls before we figured it out!



Sunday was a restful day. The rain had stopped by late afternoon, but my illness lingered and kept me sleeping most of the day. By bedtime, which is about 8 pm for me, through my opened windows I could hear people chatting and laughing in the street. I could hear children giggling and dogs barking! Every now and then my own dogs would chime in and give a bark or two. They too must have noticed the voices coming from outside.





Sadly it was amazing to me. A sound I had not heard in a long, long time! Normally the windows are closed leaving only the hum of the air conditioner and the panting of dogs.   It was nice actually, those sounds, they brought me back to my youth in my hometown where kids stayed out late on summer nights and played on  tree lined streets with  little traffic to worry about. Balls being thrown, bikes doing wheelies, and jump ropes going round and round.



Monday morning came quickly and again I heard awesome sounds coming through my bedroom window. Birds of all kinds were chirping and cooing. Serious things were already happening in the critter’s world while I was just opening my eyes.

Still no power to the house, and it was nice to hear the hustle and bustle of the goings on outside through my bedroom window.



Nature.  So much of it I have missed over the years, but I had to wonder was it only me?  Was everyone else around me up and moving outside while I wedged myself in my home shut in like I was in some airtight cocoon?  



By Monday afternoon, with hurricane Irene having left us no worse for the wear, the power was once again restored. The windows were closed and the hum of the air conditioner again became the familiar sound. I snuggled into my bed turned on the electric blanket to take away my chills as Bentley lay beside me in all his glory that he had been allowed on the bed. He was warm after all, and warmth is what I needed.



At 8 PM, I let the pups out for one last time before bed and as I walked out onto the deck with them, I stood there and listened. I listened for the chatter, the laughter, the kids, the dogs that I had heard so clearly just the night before. I looked around at the houses nearby. All the windows were aglow, and I am sure the hustle and bustle was still going on, only each of us was doing it alone, and to me that is not only very sad but also a sign of the times.



Without power there are no electronic games, computers, televisions, DVDs, or movie streaming. Without power eventually we are forced as a species to come together, just like the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks that gather in the morning. Without power we become united again as humans, as family, and as neighbors. 



I hope this experience gives many of us pause for thought, brings us together  even if it’s only once a month, a neighborhood meeting, a barbeque, a covered dish, or end of Summer party.   


I wonder how much this experience will change me and those around me. Only time will tell I guess.

3 comments:

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  2. It makes me so happy to see what a great pet-owner you are. I hope you inspire more ppl to be as organized and loveing towards their pets.

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