Earthquake on Tuesday, hurricane on Sunday.
This is not my thing, all these natural disasters.
I've always said I live in one of the best areas of the whole flippin' country. No earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, only the occasional diminutive tornado. Blizzards here and there but nothing compared to what they get out west or further north.
And yet here I sit, finally reconciled to our earlier 5.9 and fully prepared for Irene.
My Friday to-do list included:
feed store for chicken feed, cat litter, dog food and rabbit feed,
Dunkin Donuts for 2# of coffee (this Mama runs on Dunkin),
grocery store to stock up on TP, enough groceries to make casseroles to last into early 2012, and several varieties of chocolate,
liquor store because, well, liquor store.
Once the pantry was full, I got the kids busy with securing things outdoors. Bella and I consolidated the bikes and skateboards and scooters and junk in the kids' garage while most of the other kids started hauling all the pool patio furniture over to pile up inside.
While we were working at ground level, two of the big boys were climbing all over the barn roof nailing down loose tin panels so the wind wouldn't catch them and turn them into rusty red kites.
We filled all the feeders and locked everything up tight.
Then Saturday we made chocolate chip cookies. We worked on finishing up all the remaining summer assignments and we checked in with the storm coverage roughly every three and a half minutes.
We got all excited when we saw our first casualty of Irene: a split tree. Said tree was dead already, but still, it was exciting to see such a big limb on the ground. Sadly, it used to be our tire swing tree branch.
But by bedtime things started to get a little dicier. We heard from Fred's brother who lives near the Jersey shore that a tree crashed through his kitchen window. With that, Fred and I declared three rooms unsafe to sleep in b/c of their proximity to a few rather large trees. Our two big boys slept downstairs and the other four kids slept in the room with us. As we snuggled into bed we watched more of the storm coverage, which at this point included several confirmed tornados in nearby areas. I wondered if I should move the whole family downstairs to sleep in the basement, but decided against it. I lay under my covers and listened to the wind howling, the rain pelting against the house, and I felt both cozy and terrified at the same time.
Of course, as a parent, it is your job to infuse your voice with an almost condescending calm as you soothe the fears of your youngsters, and I think it was this forced calm in my voice that finally let me drift off to sleep.
I awoke a few times during the night, listened, and fell back asleep.
Come morning, I still heard the wind tearing through the trees, but saw on the news that the storm had moved on and was breaking up. Out my windows, I saw no evidence of severe damage. Our roof looks intact, no broken windows, and believe it or not we even still have power. I'll still need to do a more thorough inspection of things outside, and check on the barn critters (though I saw the three horses nonchalantly grazing this morning even while getting pelted with rain), but it looks like we made it through pretty much unscathed.
So goodnight, Irene, and move along with you now, girl.
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Bits and Pieces #17
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