Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cleaning Up After Non-Hurricane Hanna

You see that nasty little red circle there in the picture? That's my weekend, about to disintegrate.

I never realized how much I talk about weather until I started blogging. For a blog about writing, I do a lot of posts on weather! I think it's because this past year has been a little weather crazy... and I've been in the path of a hurricane twice in the past month, which wouldn't be any big deal if I lived in Florida, but for a gal in Virginia, it's been a wild ride!

So this week Hanna headed towards the U.S. and we were told it would hit Virginia on Saturday, possibly hard. But then it weakened. Then it strengthened. Then it weakened again. It was a category 2. Then maybe a three. But then only a 1. Then it was just a tropical storm. Good grief... just like a girl, changing her mind all the time!

By the time she arrived, we could have cared less. We had company coming for dinner, and the storm was suppose to be enough to the west of us that we wouldn't get much more than rain. And some wind. You know, typical tropical storm stuff.

Friday night it rained, and rained, and by Saturday we were surrounded by a river flowing through our front yard. We filled the bathtubs in case the power went out, (we get our water from a well - no power, no water), and called our friends and said, "Dinner's still on!"

Then the septic system filled with water, and started to stink. As did our house. And then the power went out. And a tree fell. And from there, the day went downhill.

I was frustrated and cranky, which is so not me in a storm. I have great memories of being a kid and the power going out, and pretending to be Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie (a favorite book series of mine as a kid). I try to make the best of power outages so that my kids have these great memories as well. Even my daughter said, "You're the fun mom!"

Not Saturday.

My husband wisely canceled dinner plans, called the septic company, and took the family out of the stinky house to the mall, where the kids practiced skating in their new Heelies and I tried to forget about the food for twelve going bad. He took me out to eat. We watched the water rise all around us, the trees swaying in the gusts, thankful the storm was just a tropical storm, and we could at least get out of the house.

The good thing about where we live is that water flows very fast. It's hilly; I suppose this is the reason water doesn't just sit. So it floods, but empties quickly, and by the time we finished lazing around the restaurant long enough to get stares, the roads cleared a bit and were safe enough to get home.

By evening I was in a much better mood, and by eight o'clock the power was back on, the stink had completely dissipated, and I salvaged most of the food.

Today, we decided to walk down into our woods to see where all that water went, and how many trees we lost. It was pretty clear that rapids had taken over the entire creek bed and that it rose up fairly high into the woods, but most it was gone today, flowing directly into the river not too far away, and so we walk around climbing across the creek on downed trees and skipping stones.

We have a "normal" backyard, complete with grass and a patio, fire-pit and swing-set. But it's bordered all around by woods that go back about five acres. We don't go down into them as often as we'd like. When we do, we are always asking why we don't do it more.

It's quiet - completely isolated - and so serene.

I'm so thankful the storm was so quick, did so little damage (other than spoiling a perfectly good dinner party), and left so little for us to clean up. Mostly, we were just left with a beautiful afternoon.

Tomorrow, back to work!


  1. Wow! You guys are storm magnets this year. I am glad everyone is OK. It was great to see you all a couple weeks ago. We are threading the storm needle right now as well. Cheers!

  2. Bob - I noticed on that picture that the orange is right over your house! I wouldn't say we are storm magnets... I think we are just getting your left overs!

    I hope Ike is going to completely miss you, and with luck, Josephine too. I'll bet y'all are sick of the hurricane season!

    Hope your wedding shoot went well. I'm loving the magazines you left me (which I took!). Fascinating stuff!

  3. WOW! It seems like you are getting it all the time! Don't worry about Ike - nothing named after my possum could be destructive!

    (Please?? Please?? *lloks up at the heavens, whimpering)

  4. Did you take these pictures? It's as if they were pulled from mind. They are incredible. It reminds me of my childhood.

  5. Kerri, yeah, I took them. This is our creek. The girl in the bottom photo (which looked much better on my computer than on the blog) is my youngest. We have a great piece of land. The house is eh, but the land is gorgeous!