And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Thursday, September 16, 2004

And There He Goes...

So. I made it through my very first hurricane. I think this completes my first-person disaster roll call -- let's see, tornadoes in NE when I was a kid, Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1), Oakland Hills wildfire, multiple blizzards . . . yep, all there, unless I should add typhoon to my list.

Some random things I noted about hurricanes:
* There is a limit to how much "coverage" I can watch of people in Gore-Tex (tm) jackets being almost blown over.

* Although it's pretty darn funny when they actually do get blown over.

* There's also a limit to how much coverage of damaged houses and boats I can watch after the hurricane, especially when it conflicts with the premiere of Survivor!!

* I've decided that The Weather Channel's new slogan should be "The Weather Channel -- It's Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better (tm)."

* Tropical storm force winds aren't really all that big a deal. Sure, the trees are whipping around a bit, but they're not as viscerally scary as an Alabama thunderstorm. Must be the lack of noise.

* Hurricane force winds are a little more daunting, especially when you're out in them at 2:30 a.m. trying to figure out what's banging on your bedroom window.

* If you do go out into a hurricane at 2:30 a.m., you should probably wear a jacket. Apparently hurricane force winds = significant wind chill effect, which results in violent shivering even though it's 70-some degrees.

* When you stand out on your back porch, watching the hurricane, and you see flashing colored lights in the sky, don't call your tornado-paranoid husband out to ask him what they are by pointing at the sky and urgently saying, "Honey, come out here and look at this."

* Flashing lights -- red, white, yellow, blue -- in the sky during a hurricane are transformers blowing. Yikes!

* It's actually pretty unsettling to have native Floridians tell you to "Get out NOW!" after you've already decided to ride it out and the rain from the first bands has started.

* The most commonly blown over trees that we saw during our short neighborhood survey this afternoon are pear trees. My favorite trees are pear trees. :(

* Procrastination sometimes pays off. We lost two very tall trees, and one fell right on the spot that we'd designated for a swingset that we haven't yet gotten around to deciding on. Now the swingset won't be in the shade anymore, but at least it hasn't been smashed to smithereens.

* There's nothing like a disaster to bring people out of their houses. After two months, we finally met kids Katie's age, just a little ways down the street, because people were out today assessing the damage.

* My kids, who slept very poorly the first year and a half of their respective lives, can actually sleep through a hurricane. Huzzah!

* Alabama Power deserves more credit than I was prepared to give them. We had power until 11 p.m. last night (about 4 hours longer than I thought we would -- had we been in Virginia, we would have lost power at the first hint of a gentle breeze), and it was restored miraculously at 2 p.m. today. I was prepared for a week of no AC, and was packed for an escape to someplace that had electricity.

*We didn't lose phone service until shortly before the power came back. All in all, I'd rather be without phone service than without power.

* Our refrigerator and freezer are awesome! We didn't lose any food, and everything was still cold this morning. Which was great, because the thought of grilling steak for breakfast wasn't all that appealing.

* I'm going to have to say something to our builder about how impressed we are with the house. Not a single shingle missing, and the winds weren't even that loud last night.

We were fortunate that Ivan turned a bit toward the east right before landfall. Pensacola got hit very, very hard. Two downed trees are an inconvenience, nothing more, and I'm so glad that everything worked out all right. Thanks for all the thoughts and good wishes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ivan Cometh...

So by this time tomorrow, we should be well into the adventure that is Hurricane Ivan. Although landfall isn't supposed to happen until very early Thursday morning, landfall means the time that the eye hits the continent, so by then we'll have been pummelled with the first half of the storm already.

The latest predictions show Ivan's track going exactly over Mobile, so maybe we'll get to experience the eye. My mom has memories of being in the eye of a hurricane when she was a child, and she says it's eerie, like a solar eclipse. Heck, I'll wake up to see what that looks like.

I'm feeling pretty antsy about this storm. I was fine until everyone around me started freaking out. I mean, we live in a brick house, don't have any large, heavy trees around us, and aren't at the bottom of a hill, so how bad could it be? But then the gotta-get-water-and-batteries-and-plywood-and-duct-tape phenomenon started, and I was caught up in it. Yes, I was out this morning at a surprisingly not very crowded Home Depot (considering how bad I'd heard it was on Monday) buying propane for the grill and four rolls of duct tape to put Xes on the windows (we only used about 1/3 of one roll -- perhaps I was a little overzealous?). The lines inside HD weren't so bad, but I think that's because they set it up so that you could only buy plywood by waiting in line in your car. That line stretched all the way around the giant store and about a mile beyond, down a main street. We didn't get any plywood, considering that A) we have no way to transport it and 2) we wouldn't know what to do with it if we did get some. So we're going to hope that the Xes work, and if not, we've got some plastic drop cloths and tarps we can use.

We're setting up a walk-in closet as Hurricane Central -- in there go the lantern, flashlights, batteries, radio, sleeping bags, and books and toys and games. I'm hoping we won't feel the need to use it -- it's not a very big walk-in closet for four people -- but at least we'll have it if we need it.

We're not planning on evacuating due to the storm, because I think we'd just be better off here, but I have to say, if we end up not having electricity for a significant length of time, a trip to Disney may just be in order. I'd rather be in an air-conditioned hotel with computer access and paying money for the privilege than hanging out and sweating at home with cranky children. (Dave thinks I'm optimistic if I think going to Disney would prevent the cranky children part; he's probably right.)

Sorry, this isn't a very lighthearted post -- you can probably tell I'm a little angsty. Here's the funny for today, though. Katie came home with a scrape on her knee, and proceeded to tell me that she'd gotten it because the sandbag she was carrying was too heavy and it made her fall over. What?!? A sandbag? Yep -- it seems they had the kindergartners going out to the playground, filling bags with sand, and bringing them into the classroom to protect it from flooding. Geesh, if they're going to use my kid for child labor, I think I want a partial refund on the tuition! The image of a "fire line" of kindergartners hauling sandbags just cracked me up. Poor Katie thought we were laughing at her falling over, when really we were just in disbelief at the situation.

Gotta love living in the South. Bring it on, Ivan!

Monday, September 13, 2004

I'm the Mommy

I'm struggling valiantly to resist the urge to blog about how I begged Dave to let me "sleep in" (i.e., from 6:19 to 6:53) this morning since I'd been up with a sick baby a couple of times in the middle of the night, and how this morning I got a sheepish call from him telling me that, although he'd remembered all four snacks/lunch side dishes (which were specifically identified for him, meaning he didn't have to stare at the cupboards and guess what the child would want to eat for lunch, my favorite part of lunch packing), he forgot to pack the actual sandwich. To give him credit, there was a halfhearted "Should I come back home and get it now?" before I reassured him that I would take the sandwich to Katie sometime this morning.

Hmm. Seem to have lost the struggle.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Funny Things They Say

We returned Monday afternoon from my sister's wedding. Naturally, after a week away, the kitchen stock was a little thin (although that's often the case even when we haven't been away for a week). Naturally, again, I brought up the possibility of going out for dinner. Katie piped up, "Is that to celebrate being home?" "No," Dave replied, "it's to celebrate not having anything to eat in the house."

Well, I thought it was funny. Maybe it's not such a good idea to post these "guess you had to be there" moments in the blog.

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That, Of Course...

[A Dave-style post]

All I'm sayin' is that if you're a guy and you go to a wedding with a longtime male friend and meet people for the first time, and your primary topics of conversation are

1. Musicals -- Avenue Q, Phantom of the Opera, Sondheim, Chess, and (and this really clinches it) The Scarlet Pimpernel

2. Interior decorating -- "What I would have done with this ceiling is..."

3. Fancy drinks -- How rum punch would have been a great drink to have at the reception, but all they have is hard liquor

4. Footwear -- How you've looked for fancy dress sandals for all the weddings you've had to go to this summer, but couldn't find any men's sandals ("If the women get to go open-toe, I think I should be allowed to go open toe.")

5. Cooking -- The gourmet meal that you prepare at Thanksgiving for all your friends, and how you use candlelight to disguise the tacky turkey-shaped platters that were all you could find because you shopped too late

-- don't be surprised if people ask if you're gay. I'm not saying that you necessarily are gay, just that I'm stupefied that the above-described person wouldn't realize that the image he projects is not exactly Sylvester Stallone macho.

That's all I'm sayin'.

(Except that I feel compelled to add that I did enjoy this person's company, but I have to admit that I have a long-established history of being gay-friendly (and sometimes too gay-friendly ).)