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Friday, September 3, 2010

A Waiting Game

Every once in a while, we participate in Phase I of "the drill:"

Extra batteries? Check
Flashlights? Check
Candles? Check
Gas in the car? Check
Bottled water? Check
Patio furniture stored? Check
Hanging plants pulled down? Check
Munchies for a long afternoon? Check

However, at this moment, Hurricane Earl threatens and we've moved to Phase II, which we haven't had to implement in the eighteen years we’ve lived in this house:

Canned food? Check
Propane in the grill? Check
Bottled water? Check
Sails pulled off the boat? Check
Dinghy yanked from the dock in the harbor? Check
Generator tested? Check

It's been a long time between blows.  Hurricane Bob, the last hurricane that hit us, roared to shore in 1991. Unlike folks down south, we don't see hurricanes that often.  They usually peter out to wimpy tropical storm status before they reach us.  So Bob was only the second hurricane either my husband or I remember. The afternoon it landed, the view from the front windows of our old house reminded me of the Wizard of Oz after Dorothy is sucked up by the tornado.  Sitting on her bed, she watches cows, chickens, and the Wicked Witch blow by.

In this case, there was no Margaret Hamilton. Instead, we gazed fascinated as most of the branches that dropped southeast of us soared past our front yard—until a big one slammed into the window, ripping a hole in the screen. Looking at each other with “Duh, yea, this is dangerous” expressions, we stepped back, grateful the glass hadn’t shattered.

Meanwhile, the wind continued to carry debris across our front lawn to the lip of the retaining wall beside our driveway, where it dropped the collection. As the eye of the storm passed over us,  the sun came out and we took a brief step outside to find our entire driveway piled with branches. It took a chainsaw and countless trips with a borrowed pick-up truck to clean up the debris. And power? Several days passed before we experienced that luxury again.  Let's be clear though.  Compared to what others went through, the impact on us was tiresome but inconsequential.  Still, I'd rather skip a repeat.

Our current home is perched in a hollow, surrounded by leggy pines and a huge umbrella oak right off the back of the house.  I’m trying not to contemplate our five picture-windows that enhance the woodland view. For eighteen years I’ve said, “I don’t want to go through e a hurricane here.” At this moment, it is possible that we may. As I write (I’m pre-posting this) Earl has been downgraded to a Category three hurricane which looks to make landfall on Cape Cod, about 40 miles to our south. We are within the edge of the predicted storm zone, and are under a official hurricane watch.  The weather folks give themselves a 100 mile accuracy swing, so I guess you could say I'm a tad concerned.

I'm not the only one.  It is screaming hot here, but even at the beach there is an uneasy quiet.  Pick up trucks with boat trailers move purposefully toward the harbor.  Over the last few days, the air has been dead calm, but now, a steady off shore breeze makes it hotter.  In spite of the wind, the day feels like a held breath, a water balloon about to burst, and what does a girl do with all that anticipation?  She goes to the sea to check out the waves...which are non-existent.  Just how I wish this storm would be.

10:00 a.m. update.  Earl is down to Catagory One.  Our town is about five miles south of where the hurricane warning line ends...so fingers crossed that by tonight, we creep into the "tropical storm" zone.  A FB comment from Virginia Beach described Earl as "One big sissy."  I'll take it.


Helen Ginger said...

I'll be thinking of you today, Liza. And watching the news when possible. I hope it misses you totally or atleast skirts by.


Matthew Rush said...

I hope it all works out okay for MA. My Sister lives in Somerville.

Nice to meet you from the BBQ BTW!

Today's guest blogger is Emilia Plater!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, Earl is bringing a heat wave with it today. And hurricanes are no fun.

jbchicoine said...

Liza, be safe and stay away from the windows (and unplug all electronic devices!) Ten, write and tell us all about it.

Ann said...

Keep safe and stay away from those windows. I hope the storm misses you!

Thanks for stopping over at my blog. Will be thinking of you today.

Simon C. Larter said...

Here's hoping for the merest glancing touch of hurricane for you, good lady. Y'know, enough to give you some cool scenery but not enough to do any real damage, yes? Oh, and not enough to knock the power out.

Good luck! (And do share your photographs, huh? I'm sure they'll be amazing!)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my word, so scary and unnerving! I'm glad to hear it's been downgraded. I've got my fingers crossed for you that you avoid the worst of it.

P.S. You paint such vivid pictures with your words. I'm always impressed.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Visiting/following from KarenG's BBQ post. Am WAY too familiar with the hurricane preps, so you know I'm pulling for y'all to remain untouched by evil Earl!

PS My #1 prep item is the aluminum drip coffee pot. Blessings. :)

Jan Morrison said...

yes, we're waiting for Earl, too. He's supposed to hit Nova Scotia tomorrow morning and I think he's turned into a big wuss. We had Juan a few years back and he was a major deal. I must admit that I kind of like them. I know that makes me evil but I'm just saying...
Jan Morrison

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I hopped over from Karen's BBQ to say hello. I'll keep you in my prayers. :-)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Here's wishing you a quiet night and uneventful morning. Yay for sissies.

Robin said...

I am hoping that you get one big sissy, too. Will be thinking of you and praying for you. Lots of love and good energy sent your way for good measure. ((hugs))

Colette said...

Liza, we seem to have a lot in common. I'd love it if you could visit me at When Fridays Were Fridays. Stay safe from the hurricane.

Anonymous said...

I am here from FF over 40. Glad it looks like it is not gonna be so bad for you guys. Those trees can be scary!
I look forward to looking around your blog and come visit after the craziness settles!


KarenG said...

I've lived through tornadoes and earthquakes, never with hurricanes tho. Sounds scary, glad he's a sissy.