Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Storm Damage

Hurricane Irene was coming. I of course, prepared for the worst. I started buying candles, and batteries last week. We got ice. We took out the Coleman stove. We unearthed the lanterns. I filled water bottles. I made sauce all day on Saturday, and canned it all. I made more pickles too. I forced David to grill chicken, so we would be able to eat dinner on Sunday. I made pasta and potato salad, all without mayo, so it wouldn't spoil. I was ready. And scared.

I kept thinking that I had not done enough. That there was perhaps one more bag of ice I should have picked up. Did I have enough diapers? Did we have enough candles? I saw on a website about what to have in an emergency kit. One of the items was sturdy shoes. I thought to myself, should I go and dig out all of our sturdy shoes, and line them up by the door? What was that for? In case we had to make a sudden trek into the woods, in the middle of the night? I shuddered at the thought.

When the lights did go out, it was just about the time that the wind gusts got really intense. I kept waiting for a crash. I kept expecting an explosion of glass. I made the girls stay away from the windows, and go into the interior rooms. I was petrified. For a good three hours, I couldn't really say much.

If a tree crashed into the house, we wouldn't be able to repair it. If tree limbs came down upon our cars, we couldn't get new ones. If there was damage to the house, we had no means to pay to fix any of it. I kept saying prayers under my breath to just get us through. To just get us all through.

When the winds subsided, David went to the basement, and came back looking pale. He said there was almost two feet of water in it, and it was nearing the hot water heater. I cringed. We can't afford a new hot water heater. What are we going to do? We are one household repair bill away from disaster on a daily basis. This will kill us.

But the power came back on. And the water began to slowly pump out of the basement. And it never reached the hot water heater. The cars are still in the driveway. Surrounding them are rotting tree limbs, that narrowly missed hitting them. No trees on the roof, or shards of glass went flying. Just a lot of debris. And one snapped trumpet vine.

And then I read in the paper, about a local man killed when a tree limb snapped, as he and his son were trying to hook a car battery up to their sump pump, to get water out of their basement. He was killed after he pushed his son out of the way of the falling limb.

I suddenly felt very silly for being worried about household repair bills. A broken window, or a new water heater would have been a hassle. But it would have been nothing more than that.

This man's family has suffered irreparable damage.

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