Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our First Hurricane

It was a little surreal, preparing for our first hurricane.  The predictions for our area were looking rather grim.  School was cancelled.  Shaggy's work was cancelled.  Which actually made me feel a lot better about the whole scenario.  Because whatever nature was about to send my way, at least I would face it with my family by my side.  I would much rather face cautious cancellations that turned out not to be needed than my family scattered around trying to get home in a big storm.  That would be terrifying.

K was scheduled for an orthodontic appointment right about the time the storm was predicted to hit us.  We assumed they would cancel.  But they called to see if we could bring her in early.  It seemed odd, but we jumped at it because any ortho appointment that I don't have to drag 4 other kids to is a beautiful blessing.  Shaggy took her and made a quick run to the store on his way home.  The water and canned food aisles were looking pretty sparse, he reported.

We tried our best to consider what scenarios we might face and how best to prepare for them.  Flooding wasn't really a concern.  But downed tree limbs and power outages were.  We had plenty of food.  We filled up our remaining empty water storage containers.  That's always going to be a priority in this house because we have a well which has an electric pump.  No power = no water.  We had alternate forms for cooking if the power stayed off for several days.  But we also just planned meals that required no cooking.

We had the girls put all our patio furniture under the porch.  I made Shaggy move the big heavy grill off the patio.  Something which he still mocks me for.  I like to point out the fact that the grill didn't cause any trouble during the hurricane.  He likes to point out that it wouldn't have caused problems even if we left it where it was because we were facing a hurricane, not a tornado.  Details, details.  Better safe than sorry, I say.

As the storm began to rage around us, pelting the house with rain, buffeting the trees with strong wind, Shaggy walked the perimeter one last time to make sure the house was secure.
I was inside whipping up my favorite chocolate sour cream frosting.  Which is marvelous on graham crackers dunked in milk and would make the perfect comfort food for a power outage.  Then I made chef salad because I wanted to minimize how much I might need to open the fridge if we lost power.  And then, since we still had power, I baked a cake.  And then we all cuddled up to watch a Netflix movie.  That is the way to ride out a hurricane, I tell you!

We weren't sure what the night would bring, so we piled up some extra blankets and tucked all the kids in extra snugly.  I was imagining stray tree limbs shattering their bedroom windows.  But we slept peacefully through the night.

And woke up to some storm damage.
The wind blew the roof off . . . of the birdhouse.
The van was buried in . . . pine needles.
And we did have some downed tree limbs . . . little bitty tree limbs and lots of freshly fallen soggy leaves.

We were relieved that the worst of the storm didn't hit our area.  And we had to let our worries seep away as we laughed at ourselves and our concerns.  Not because they were unfounded.  Sandy was a dangerous storm and devastated many neighborhoods.  But I think there's something in human nature that makes us want to laugh when we dodge a bullet.  It helps dissipate the stress of facing danger.

And after the silliness faded away, the gratitude seeped in and filled us up.  Along with empathy for all those whose homes and lives were broken by this monstrous storm.  My heart goes out to them.  And I feel grateful for all those who are helping them clean up and rebuild.  How I wish I could add my hands to those that are serving.  Sometimes I can see the dim outlines of those opportunities in my future, when I will be able to leave and know that my children can care for each other.  But that day has not come yet.  And so I am left to empathize and pray from afar.

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