The wind was still gusting the next morning and there were obvious signs that the storm had been ferocious: most notably, standing water in the low-lying areas of our yard and tree limbs EVERYWHERE.
Several trees had their tops snapped off, other trees dropped big limbs, and ALL trees were shaken clean of all debris and well-pruned. The biggest trouble was that so many limbs had fallen off our big trees that it blocked our driveway and part of our road. Once the guys cleared that, my husband went down and rented an industrial wood chipper. By mid-day he’d turned a yard and street piled high with branches into a 4 foot high mulch pile.
The guys put the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom, strung an extension cord over the roof and plugged it in to the generator behind the house and blocked by the pool wall (to avoid fumes and thieves). It cooled the bedroom and our bathroom, but we didn’t need it for long. After a 12 hour outage, the power returned and we cheered, grateful to get off so easy.
So no damage to the house, all humans and KittyCat survived, and our biggest losses were electric, WiFi, and cable TV. Oh, and a gallon of ice cream. Do you suppose Citizens’ Insurance will entertain a claim for $5.29?
Can you stand one more…
People are Strange #6: As we were cleaning up and putting away, I had the oddest phone call ever. The woman was asking how things were and was I alright and what was it like, just firing questions at me. I asked who she was and she said something real fast and then said she had a friend in my area and wanted to know how the flooding was. I was a bit irritated because she was talking a mile a minute, not waiting for my answers, talking over me, and here I was, trying to repack the hurricane supplies into Fibber McGee’s closet and talk to this strange lady at the same time. I told her we had no flooding when I could get a word in and she started to ARGUE with me! “Oh, I don’t believe that,” she says, “Why aren’t you telling me the truth…and blah, blah, blah…” and I just lost it and yelled, “Look Lady, I don’t know who you are but if you have nothing better to do than call random people after a hurricane and argue with them, call your friend!” And then I banged the phone down. My gut instinct says it was a reporter or radio talk show host. Some people, huh?
The electric went out for the second time on 9/11 around 7 PM. Once again, we’d eaten early and the dishwasher was running. This time, even though everything had been put away, it was an orderly gathering.
We took the Mama generator and reinstalled the window shaker a/c unit, hooked up the fridge (the freezer kept everything frozen the first night we lost power, so we dealt with that the next day), and plugged in a fan for the kitchen. Since the day had been cloudy and breezy, temperatures were unusually low for this time of year. In fact, after a day of clean-up, we sat outside and felt quite comfortable. The tropical sun always returns with a vengeance, though, so, we knew to savor each deliciously semi-comfortable moment allowed to us. The power came back on after midnight, startling us with lights and the dishwasher going back on, etc. and did not go out again. We were grateful to have dodged a harsher bullet!
Our overnight guests (my sis-in-law and nephew) were here for 4 or 5 days until power was restored in their Naples condo.
We had long discussions on family dynamics, mixed in with old memories, and laughter and acceptance of personality traits. That’s in between conversations about what foods we don’t like and what life is like in Vietnam (and Italy. And France. and the States). They have acknowledged that my brother was controlling (“I knew from an early age that you were a touchy subject with Dad”) and that they could still love him while accepting that I did not. I tried to say as few negative things as possible.
Did I mention my sister in law is French and cooks fabulous meals? That she’s a better cook than me? Or that my nephew is rather droll and witty and they’re both a lot of fun to have around? One night, she made a Vietnamese dish (her father was a French Ambassador to Vietnam so she grew up there as a child until it became too dangerous to stay), another night it was beef stew, French-style.
They were thrilled to be staying somewhere with electricity and hot showers, so it was a win/win. In fact, I was a bit miffed their power came back on so soon and I lost my French chef!