Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Out of town folks visiting our community lately have been astonished at the amount of damage and the cleanup required. Our city, county and state governments have started clearing debris off the right of ways, and frankly, it’s a mess. State highway crews have set up temporary dumping sites near each work area because there is so much to pick up in all parts of the community. One big site simply won’t work because their trucks fill up quickly on each block. This site has been used for only a couple of days and serves just one small section of the county.
The rural countryside looks like this.Every home on every street has a brush pile. This one is about the average size, but many homes have piles much larger...or multiple piles.Keep in mind; this doesn’t include the stuff that’s already been hauled off by commercial tree trimmers. There’s really no need to ask folks what they’re doing each weekend. You can just assume that everyone is working in his yard, because it takes days to clean up your property.
The trees are a mess. I don’t think there’s a tree in this county that wasn’t touched by Mother Nature’s temper. This is pretty typical. And everywhere you look are “hangers”, big limbs that are just waiting to drop on your head or your car when a big wind finally wrenches them loose. They are dangling dangerously over some main roads, and it’s just a matter of time before they hurt someone.
Most of our city parks remain closed because you can’t navigate them. This was taken on the edge of our largest city park. It’s a disaster in there. The picnic shelters are either damaged or surrounded by limbs. I can’t imagine how long it’s going to take to make them pretty again.
Cemeteries are a problem too. I pity the folks who have had a death in the family in recent weeks. First, the funeral homes couldn’t hold funerals because they didn’t have electricity. Some cremations were done by generator. For a while, the ground was too frozen to bury people, and family members couldn’t grieve in peace in their own homes without the power to take a warm shower or wash clothes. Some cemeteries are still struggling to get the trees and limbs cleaned up, so holding a funeral is questionable, depending on where your family plot is. What a mess.
Our community has a beautiful dogwood trail each spring that has already been canceled. It will be a struggle to get the town cleaned up in time for a big convention which brings 30,000 visitors to this area each April. Even when all of the debris has been hauled off, I don’t think the landscape around here will look good for a very long time. It’s just too damaged. It’s such a shame. This is a beautiful tree loving town.
On the home front, the Hula-gen’s managed to get their debris cleaned up. The tree trimmers cleaned up our trees, attempted to save my sweet little fringe tree and chopped down the big old pine tree that dropped its branches on the corner of our house. The rose trellis is gone, and I probably won’t replace it. The electrician was very reasonable and did good work. That was a blessing. Others weren’t so lucky. Our freezer is limping along, but it may be on its last leg. The power outage did something to it. I thought we had managed to save its contents, but I discovered Monday night that the stuff on top had thawed. I cleaned it out, but more stuff is thawing now, so everything will have to go into Mama J.’s freezer until we fix ours or give it a decent funeral. We have several hundred dollars worth of beef in there that I don’t want to lose.
I still can’t catch up on my rest. I think my body held up until I finally allowed it to stop, and now I can’t get enough sleep. I tried running a couple of times. That was nothing but a reminder of how tired my body still is. Besides, it’s really too dangerous to run along the tree laden streets and sidewalks. Going out in public feels weird. For four weeks, I saw practically no one except my immediate family and my co-workers. I didn’t see any news and focused only on personal survival and intense work. I can’t really explain why, but it feels very odd to be at the mall or in Wal-Mart now. Like I don’t belong. It’s as if I lost a month of my life that I’ll never get back. Like the world kept moving forward, and I’m stuck in time.
Everybody I see wants to share their personal disaster story with me. I smile and listen, but honestly, I just don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m tired of disaster, and I’m tired of winter. I’m ready for spring and for the local news to carry something, anything, other than follow-up news about the storm. It makes me wonder how the Katrina survivors, many of whom are still displaced, are able to keep from going insane. What a slow process. We’re getting there, but we have so many more miles to go.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Okay, 10 honest things about me:
1. I think my husband is a better spouse than I am.
2. This morning under a mountain of paper on my desk at work I found the birthday card for my brother I addressed and put a stamp on right before the ice storm hit. It was already a month late when I put the stamp on it. His birthday was December 20th. I am now officially a turd.
3. A few weeks ago I let Mama J. and Papa T. have it because I felt they were behaving badly toward us. Some stuff I’d been holding in for about twenty years came spilling out, and I’m not sorry I said it. I AM sorry for the WAY I said it, but I can’t bring myself to tell them that yet.
4. I am terrible at admitting when I’m wrong, and I’ve only recently started working on this.
5. Right now, I have hidden in my desk at work a box of Girl Scout cookies, two large bars of the World’s Finest Chocolate and a bag of LifeSavers. Oh, and a large bag of gingersnaps.
6. I had popcorn for dinner three nights in the past week because I had eaten really big lunches and wasn’t very hungry at night. Perhaps, if I stayed out of that drawer.......
7. Sometimes I wish we’d had a second child so Teen Angel wouldn’t be an only.
8. No matter how old I get or how successful I am, there’s a tiny part of me that still feels like that skinny, awkward girl from high school with the big drill team boots, trying hard to fit in. I wonder if that will ever go away, and whether it should go away.
9. The very childish part of me was secretly pleased at my high school reunion because one of the big bee-atches from high school had more wrinkles than me. Okay, I wasn't just secretly pleased. I was downright joyous.
10. I know that I am truly blessed with a wonderful family and community of friends, but sometimes I forget that.
Now, I’m supposed to give this award to seven other folks, but honestly, all of the writers on my blog roll to the right seem to be pretty honest folks who tell it like it is and speak from their heart. I think they're all brilliant, so if you see your name over there, copy that award and paste that sucker on your page with pride. Consider yourself a recipient. And don't forget to share some secrets with us.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Over the years, I've taken Teen Angel to a few concerts. We've seen Matchbox Twenty and Ricky Martin together. And may I say that is one hot Puerto Rican. It was fun because we both enjoyed their music. In the last year or so, our musical tastes have started to split somewhat. Right now, Teen Angel's favorite musical group in the whole wide world is the alternative group Blue October. For months, she's been following their tour dates, hoping they would come near our corner of Kentucky. And for months she's had no luck. They tour only small venues and stick to a few big cities, mostly in California, New York and Texas. Then, out of the blue I got an email today from Ticketmaster, alerting me to the latest shows in St. Louis, and right there in the middle of the page was Blue October. Only the show was Sunday, April 5th at 8pm. A school night. And I'm not a cool enough mom to take her out of school the next day just to go to a concert. I need that kid to earn some scholarships for Pete's sake. But then it occurred to me to check their spring break schedule, and sure enough, the show is right on the front end of spring break. I said to myself, "Self, you can do some alternative music. You're not THAT old." So after much scrutiny, because the concert hall is kind of a large bar where minors are allowed only in certain sections, I excitedly bought three tickets, enough for me, Teen Angel and one of her buddies. She was over the moon when I told her about it.
Only now that my excitement has worn off a little, I'm starting to think about the reality of this event. It's standing room only-on and next to the dance floor, which is right in front of the stage. That means no sitting, which I can deal with. We've done that several times at Buffett. The thing that made me pause when I read the rules for the venue was this:
STAGE DIVING / CROWD SURFING Stage diving and/or crowd surfing will result in immediate ejection from a concert.
Okay, if you have to tell people not to stage dive, that's means there's a real possibility it could happen. I don't know what the cut-off age is for that kind of thing, but I know I'm waaay too old to be crowd surfing. I figure there are a handful of ways to know you're a mature adult. 1. You like to take naps again. 2. You eat your vegetables. 3. You wear ear protection around loud noises and hats in cold weather without being asked to and 4. You don't want strange people touching you concerts.
This should be an interesting experience. Here's hoping I don't end up on YouTube in a few weeks, passing over the heads of a bunch of alternative rockers. Teen Angel would be mortified, much more than when I danced a little rumba at the Ricky Martin concert. And I'm not sure I'm flexible enough anymore to do it without breaking something. Speaking of broken, I've got to fix that filter.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Hubby: “Hey, tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day.”
Hula: “Really?! Hmmm. I guess it is.”
Hubby: “Are we doing anything?”
Hula: “Um, what do you WANT to do?”
Hubby: Sigh. “I say we forget about it and just not worry about it.”
Hula: “Suits me.”
Hubby: “Are you making popcorn?”
And with that, we settled on doing nothing, except exchanging cards. It’s an unspoken deal that we always get each other a card. Well, except for that whole first Mother’s Day bawling my hormonal eyes out oh my God you didn’t get me a card what do you mean I’m supposed to get you a card she’s only a baby incident. But that’s another post.
And in my card on Saturday was proof that Hubby knows me well, and always remembers the little things. Inside was one of these. And what does an Easter egg have to do with Valentine’s Day you ask? Well, at the neighborhood drug store where Hubby buys all of his cards, they sell those little Russell Stover marshmallow candies every holiday. For years he has bought me a pumpkin at Halloween, a Santa at Christmas and a strawberry heart on Valentine’s Day. Only this time they were out of hearts by the time he got around to the card. Apparently, he gave the ladies behind the counter, all of whom he has wrapped around his finger, the woe is me I ALWAYS get her a strawberry heart whine, and they broke out the Easter eggs they were holding under the counter for Feb. 15th. And that is how I got a 49 cent Easter egg for Valentine’s Day, which made me just as happy as a bouquet of roses because you would have had to flip my tired butt out of the recliner with a spatula just for me to sit up and sniff them. I can eat lying down.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
/’rench/ verb 1: to move with a violent twist 2: to pull, strain or tighten with violent twisting or force 3: to injure or disable by a violent twisting or straining 4: to snatch forcibly
Example: The feeling in my heart as Teen Angel recently left for her first official date with a real live boy in a moving vehicle. Wasn’t it just yesterday I had to restrain myself from running after her as she crossed the street by herself for the first time? Tomorrow’s word of the day? Prayer.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I really didn’t let myself believe it was true until I pulled in the driveway, flung open the car door and listened carefully for….silence. Blissful, delicious silence. No generator humming its tired old song at decibels higher than the speakers at a Metallica concert. No mechanical roar overpowering the song of the winter birds. Just wonderful, peaceful silence. The motion light over the garage splattered me with light as I walked inside. I giggled out loud. Indoors, the Hula-gen’s were washing clothes, picking up around the house and making all kinds of attempts to clear away the cluttered mess we had allowed to build during the power outage because we simply didn’t care enough to keep the house clean in the midst of all the ice, mud and self pity we were wallowing in. We were so joyous I had to laugh at us. Nothing could bring us down. We were wasteful with our energy for sure, flipping on lights every chance we got and firing up everything from the vacuum cleaner to the stove. I would have sat in the hot tub if the chemicals hadn’t been so out of balance from sitting motionless for three weeks. It was amazing how something so simple made our lives so much better in a matter of minutes.
Ironically, we had a small setback Saturday. We went to the mall Saturday because the only places I had been in three weeks had been home, work and a visit to church. I felt so out of touch. I needed to see people other than family and coworkers. I scored $400 worth of clothes for $32. Sweet! And we headed home. Only to find that our power had gone out AGAIN. Now, working for a power company, I knew this was a possibility since the restoration process can be a little bumpy, but I had blissfully blocked this piece of knowledge from my pea brain and allowed us to leave the house Saturday without a door key. Anyone know to spell “dumb ass”? H-U-L-A. With the little keypad on our garage deader than Jimmy Hendrix, we were locked out of our house. We soon discovered that linemen were working in the back part of our subdivision and had basically turned us off during their work, with the promise of having everybody back on in about forty five minutes. We killed the time by driving around nearby subdivisions, looking for houses for sale…that are fed underground. An hour later we were home, snuggled into our jammies with iced tea and popcorn. I had a good book in my lap and Hubby was tuned into TruTV for multiple episodes of Cops. Ah, all was right with the world.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I bounce back and forth from day to day on how I feel about the situation. Yesterday, I was frustrated to the nth degree. Today, I’m peachy. I suppose that’s because the crisis stage of this ice storm ended today for the utility for which I work. All of our customers are back on except for those needing work by an electrician. We still have a lot of cleanup work to do around town, but we can start getting back to normal. No more 16 plus hour work days. No more rising at 4:30am. I can have dinner with my family each night and maybe go back to reading that library book that was due somewhere in the midst of this three week ordeal. It’s going to cost me a small fortune in fines, but I’m going to finish it before I take it back. I can’t renew it again, and I simply cannot turn in an unfinished book. And while there’s no immediate end to my power issues at home, there are some real positives I’m trying to dwell on in order to keep from losing my mind because I can’t use the microwave..or the dryer….or the dishwasher.
I have learned some things about myself.
1. I am a stubborn, tough old bird. When I have to, I can dig deep and grin and bear it, more so than some other folks I know. I have a strong core, and that’s good to know ‘cause who knows what else will come my way in the years to come.
2. I have a wonderful family. The Hula-gen’s are a tight trio. My jobs have always required me to be away from home during a crisis. Hubby and Teen Angel don’t like it, but they accept that they must share me with the community in emergencies, and they don’t complain about it. They keep things rolling at home and pick up where I should belong. They do laundry, dishes and everything else that needs to be done. Teen Angel has been a working fool during all of this, helping out at home, at her grandparents and at church. I couldn’t be more proud. Perhaps, I don’t suck at this parenting thing after all.
3. I am blessed with good friends, like Randall who loaned us his Mack daddy gas eating generator when his power came back on. We got it the day the temperature dipped into the teens, and it probably saved us from dying of either hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater we would have been forced to use. And Janjanmom who brought us not one but two meals this week and offered to do laundry. Did I mention she included cake, yellow with chocolate frosting, just like I used to get in grade school? And enough food for Mama J. and Papa T., too? God bless her soul.
4. Life goes on. Even when the poo hits the fan, the worst of the worst happens and you can’t see the future..life goes on. It gets better day by day and one day you wake up and things are normal. It’s not quite normal for the Hula-gen’s yet, but it will be soon, and a new adventure will be around the corner. This, my friends, is why I love life. Even when it sucks, I get something out of it. That rotten pole fairy can jerk me around all she wants. I can take it. I got my guts, and I got my peeps. Who needs her stinkin’ pole? Okay, I do, but you know what I mean.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We’ve tried laughing about it, but as I’m fond of saying when one of Hubby’s jokes has worn thin, “It has ceased to be funny.” I’m also fond of saying, “Sucks to be me.” Both phrases apply to our situation. I understand why we are still in the dark, and I know the folks working on it have a monumental task, so I’ll just have to be patient a little while longer. I’m just having a little pity party for myself this evening and thought I’d invite you.
May I remind you of why we are without power? I’ve grown to hate this stinkin’ pole. It glares at me every night when I come home. Taunting me, jeering at me from the corner. If I thought I wouldn’t get in trouble, I’d light the dadburn thing on fire and do a little dance all around it. The weather is unseasonably warm, so we don’t need much heat, but we are still burning up a gazillion dollars in gasoline every day with the generator. In fact, I’m using up Teen Angel’s college fund to run the washing machine right now. I’m certainly glad the price of gasoline dropped a little before all of this started or she’d be enlisting in the Army to pay for her education in a couple of years.
We’ll get through this, and one day we’ll look back and laugh at some of the memories we’ve created during this disaster. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out how many amps that Margaritaville drink machine will pull on the generator.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
On the family front, the Hula-gen’s are still without power. We’re on day eleven. The latest update I got today was that we would likely be without for another week. I don’t like it, but I understand why. I have to admit, the news didn’t do much for my spirits. I’m gonna need a nap and a margarita this weekend.
For the first four days of this mess Hubby and I toughed it out without heat. Teen Angel skipped town with a friend and headed to a town where the lights were on. I napped at work the first couple of nights. At our house the living room was the warmest room, so we slept in the recliners under several blankets when I first came home. I was at home only a few hours each night, so Hubby endured more cold and isolation than I did. And cabin fever. By the third day, that man needed some companionship. When the highlight of a man’s day is discovering the practicality of a head lamp, you know he needs to get out more often.
The Hula-gen’s are doing very well compared to a lot of other folks who don’t have heat or loved ones to lean on. We’ll be fine. I’m just ready for this little adventure to be over and for life to get back to normal. Please don’t invite me to go camping this year, and hey, somebody please tell me what day it is. Seriously, no one at work knows anymore. We’ve all lost track. Here are a few beauty shots I haven’t had a chance to post.