I am well aware that my posting has been scarce lately.  Mom came out for a 10 day visit which was fabulous!  Life just seems a little easier when she is there.  She really got my yard in shape since I have a combination of lack of motivation and fear of snakes stopping me.  Once she has it in shape I can maintain it just fine, but getting it to that point is something I can’t seem to bring myself to do.  She was saying that we should have taken before and after pictures, which I wholeheartedly agree with!

I took Mom to the airport on Friday afternoon then returned to work.  And then the excitement started!  I generally stay until 5 PM.  Around 4:45 my boss, who lives just down the street from me, came into the office and hurriedly said “The tornado sirens are going off and there is a big storm to the north of us, I don’t know about you but I like to get my daughter and get home when this happens, you are free to go too if you like.”  Well, I always like to leave early, and I like even better to be home when it storms.

Do you see where this is going?  Should I trademark the “I’ll just beat the storm” concept?  Because I always try it!

I run out of the office, run up to her school where she is already safely in the shelter with the other children, take her from the shelter all the while saying “Bug, now would be a really good time to listen to mommy and hurry!” while she obeyed perfectly with the background noise of tornado sirens.

We got home and I opened the car door to the first of the rain.  We got inside, I turned on the TV to see what was going on and started to shut windows.  At this time the wind was picking up and whooshing the tree’s around in a disturbing way.  The weatherman kept saying that this wasn’t a tornado but more like a hurricane with 100 MPH winds.  We didn’t even manage to get in the basement before it hit.  The winds were insane and it dropped golf ball sized hail.  The power flickered on and off, on and off until finally the weatherman was no more and we were left to our own devices.  I held Bug with her face to my chest under the arch between the living and dining room while she attempted to control her panic.  The whole thing was surreal and it happened so fast!  I think it was probably as fast as a tornado, it was there and then gone before we could comprehend what was going on.

And behind the wind and the hail was a rain storm that just pounded us.  I watched this out my front window.  The street in front of me turned into a river in which massive tree branches floated out toward the main road.  My sun curtain on my porch was shredded, and all the porch furniture was gone.

And then it was done!  The sky brightened and the cold front came through and all was clear.  The river in the road dissipated and we were left to survey the mess.  I grabbed a broom and got my shoes on.  What I really needed was a shovel for the front porch.  It was plastered with leaves and shreds of the sunshade.  I swept it all into a big pile, hung up the rug, and retrieved my porch furniture which had migrated to my lawn.  Bug just kept saying “What a MESS!  What a MESS!” and she was right.  She thought playing in the piles of hail was such fun though, I mean ice, on the ground, in the summer??!!  This has to be every child’s dream!  My neighbor came out to tell me that she saw my garbage can float down the river that was our road and figured hers had gone the same way, so we began to trek out to the main road to bring them back.  Indeed they made it all the way out onto the main drag.  On this trek we began to see how extensive the damage was.  I would say at least every other house had either large branches down or entire trees uprooted.  I live in a historic district so the trees there are mature and beautiful but also dangerously large.  Fences were pulled out and scattered about as well was every yard item you can imagine.  As we walked we returned the items if we knew where they belonged, and pulled the largest of the branches out of the road and onto the side.

At this point I was still hopeful that we might get our power back, as the city seems to be pretty good at keeping on top of things.  Then we meandered in the other direction.  I realized that the ONLY way to get out of our area, the only entrance and road clear of a full tree across it, was the way we just wandered.  And in the trees that were down we could see messy tangled power lines.  It was then I realized that it might be awhile.  We got in the car to turn the radio on and listen.  I realized that the entire city had been hit and it was safe to say that most were without power.  I tried to make phone calls but of course the networks were too busy.

In the end, we didn’t get power back until last evening.  And from surveying the damage I would say the city did a wonderful job, as I expected almost a full week.

The best moment of the weekend?  As I sat and listened to the local TV station on my radio in the car after the storm the newscaster gave us this little gem:

“At last update there were calculated to be 120,000 homes without power.  Compounding this and the clean up effort is that it is humid and getting hotter, and without power we don’t have  AC.  So I would suggest that everyone open up your windows and put a fan in the window.”