Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let the Hurricane Roar

When you are laying in bed, with your children snuggled between you and your husband listening to a storm rage outside, rain pounding your house, trees banging and snapping and crackling, unknown objects hitting your roof...you can not help but focus on what is truly important.
This whole summer has been extremely busy for me.  Last week was especially busy with VBS and many of my colleagues taking vacation so I filled in some extra hours at work.  When I went to Costco Thursday afternoon, I had no idea why people were fighting over generators.  I actually thought they were power washers.
Jason came home Thursday night and freaked me out filled me in.  We live in an area that is prone to flooding in big storms due to its proximity to a river.  Our house sits high on a hill, we have a french drain and sump pumps so we have never had a problem.  But, everyone seemed to be saying that power outages were very likely, which means that our sumps would not work...
I went out Friday to buy battery back-up for the sumps, but to no avail.  They were sold out.  About forty-five people were waiting around for a truck to deliver 7 generators.  It was going to be mayhem and I decided not to get involved with that and to take my chances.
Jason threw out his back trying to get as much small stuff out of the basement as possible, so that if the power went and the sumps backed up, we could hopefully put the big things on blocks.
I am not good at waiting around, so I spent Saturday afternoon baking.  I made lemon tea bread, caramel cake and bourbon brownies.  I made chicken curry and couscous for dinner.  At least we could eat good.

None of us could sleep Saturday night.  We played games and watched the news, we were addicted to the Weather Channel website and watching the projected storm path video for our area.  
It rained on and off, the wind whipped.  I was afraid of this one dead tree near our house that Jason is supposed to take down, but has been so busy with other things that he has not had a chance to do it yet.  I was afraid of the apple trees that line my driveway coming down on my car.  I was afraid that if the sumps went the water would rise so high that it would ruin our washer, dryer, furnace and water heater.  We never weathered a storm without sump pumps, we had no idea how high the water could get.  I was worried about my husband’s aching back.  I was concerned about preparing for a Not Back to School Tea Party on September 7 if any or all of these things happened.  I was concerned about disappointing my girls.
Around 2am, Jason and I were sitting on the couch, he on his ipad and me on the laptop just surfing the web when the sky outside lit up bright orange and the power went out.  We had flashlights at the ready and we went down to the basement.  We were happy to see no water in the sumps yet.  We kept checking throughout the night.
I have no idea what time it was when we did see water filling up the sumps.  But we decided to pull up the carpets (we had already moved all of the smaller things).  My husband with his aching back and little 4’11” me carried rolled carpeting through our family room, down the hall, through the workshop, up the bilco doors, across the lawn and deck to the breezeway not once but three times.  By that point the water was starting to seep out of the sumps and we put our entertainment center on blocks.  The sectional sofa comes apart and each section is very light, so we brought it up to A’s room. 
We went up to bed exhausted, too worried to sleep and we cuddled with the girls in our bed and listened to the storm rage.  I fretted over the possibility of having to replace major appliances.  I worried about the tree crushing our home or cars.  I ran through mental checklists.  And I enjoyed the feel of my sweet girls nestled between Jason and I.  I relished the sound of their breathing.  We talked about the storm, we talked about our summer, we talked about our life in those dark moments.  The girls cried in fear and we consoled them and I realized that what we were saying were not just words, they were real, they were true.  We were not the only family doing this, most families in the Northeast were in the same exact predicament.  Many were in much worse situations.  We would make it through this and it would make us stronger.  We lay in the dark and we prayed together as we listened to the wind whip at our house and the rain lash against it.

When we woke up in the morning, the rain had stopped.  There was water around the sumps and in a small spot in our office and that was it.  It had not risen to a height to damage any major appliances.  We were lucky.