My Week: Disasters and Blessings

To say this week was eventful would be the understatement of the year. I never want to go through another like it. Once is more than enough.

Sunday, I woke about 2 a.m. and didn’t go back to sleep. I had old Shoppers soaking in water to line the upper box before my neighbor filled it with mushroom dirt and I guess I thought she would be out there at the crack of dawn and beat me to the punch. I got up before daylight and, as soon as it started getting light, I went out and began the process. I was sure I had enough but I didn’t. I came back in, hunted up some more and soaked them.

Later, my neighbor wanted to know if I needed more to put in the other box but the coir from last year had kept the weed population down so the answer was no. She filled the boxes and tamped the dirt down until she got all of the load in the two. I was ready to plant.

Laundry was to do so I busied myself with that after I’d Walked It Out for 45 minutes. Load after load hung on the line.

Before the day was over, I knew I was running out of steam so I put planting on hold. By the time I was getting the last of the laundry off the line, I was staggering. I went to bed early.

Monday was Monday all day long with multiple problems. That was the day I planted my arugula, hoping the rain predicted for that night would materialize but it didn’t.

Tuesday didn’t go a whole lot better and I was thankful I’d be getting off at 3:30 since there was mail to take. Not so fast! At 3:15, Code Triage was announced. There had been a collision between a school bus and a van with multiple injuries. Another bus traveling behind took the ambulatory students on board and brought them to the ER. Nurses were in the parking lot assessing them.

Since I’m not as fast as the other registrars at registering, I sent the three who were available back to the ER while I manned (womaned?) the office. The switchboard was slammed with anxious parents wanting to know where their children were and if they were okay. I didn’t have any information and it broke my heart to have to repeat that over and over. There was an influx of mommies and daddies after that. The key staff had donned vests with their titles on the back. That took a little of the pressure off me since I didn’t look official in my everyday garb.

One of the registrars brought some handwritten forms for me to decipher and enter quick ERs. The purpose is to get the patient’s name and date of birth into the system so labels could be generated. I did the best I could, but I still didn’t know if what I had put in was accurate. Finally, at 6 p.m., I was told to announce an all clear. That’s when one of the registrars was allowed to leave. At 6:30, I left while two registrars stayed on duty.

It had rained off and on all day so I was sure the seed was getting a good soaking but when I got home, maybe a few drops had fallen but nothing much. Not enough to even wet the soil.

Wednesday came in with a bang. Severe weather was predicted and, early afternoon, Code Black (tornado warning) was called. I stayed in the office again while all available registrars went to help put patients in the hallway. A couple went over to the nursing home to help do the same with the residents. I got my netbook and monitored the radar, marveling at all the red covering the area. It turned out to be a non-event and the all clear was called about 3. Since I had extra time built up from the day before, I’d gone in late and I left early.

At home, I went about my usual routine. My DSL was like a yo-yo, going up and down. It was aggravating. The lights would blink but come back on. It started raining in earnest. I went to the door and looked out. The sky had opened up and the rain was coming down harder than I’d ever seen it fall. Then it sounded like marbles hitting the roof over the deck and I could see hail landing on it. I shut the door and came back to the computer.

Along about 9, the power went off and stayed off. Not much to do but go to bed. I prayed for safety for Twinkle and me, including my children and their families, and retired for the night. I lay awake for a little while, watching the lightning. It was amazing. There weren’t individual flashes and then thunder. It was constant. Flash after flash after flash. I figured that whatever happened to me would happen so I went to sleep.

Next morning I got up. No power. I squoze (my mother’s word) some oranges manually and ate some mashed up banana with goji berries and ::gasp:: cacao nibs. There was enough hot water left to take a shower but my hair had to air dry. I got dressed and went to work.

Going out the north end of my road was as usual. No trees down. There was one limb in the road and gravel had washed here and there (including my driveway). Getting to work, I was surprised to have people relieved to see me. I was informed that a tornado had cut through just a few hundred yards from where I live with a large number of homes destroyed, people injured and the death toll was up to four already. The registar on duty until 10 the night before had been pressed into service to stay and hadn’t gotten away until almost 5 a.m. I’d slept through it all.

I learned the man I buy produce from at the courthouse lost his house and barn but he and his wife were okay. I’d planned to stop to get more tomatoes on Friday but he wouldn’t be there.

The first hour was spent trying to track down my kids. When I got DS1 on the phone, he said he had intended to call me later to make sure I was okay. He’d been through a lot of scary weather in Alabama on Wednesday but, at home, the lights had blinked a couple of times but that was it. Four trees had fallen but none toward the house. In DS2’s neighborhood, all the houses were rubble except for his family’s. It’s in a sheltered area and the tornado had skipped over it. Their angels had been working overtime.

My neighbor called and I let her know that our houses were still standing. She and her husband were away where she was working on a job.

Coming home, I drove through the disaster area, staying on the main highway. It looked like a bomb had dropped. A lot of the debris had been cleared away but there was still a lot to go. The path went back many miles with extreme devastation.

Yesterday, the injured coming to the ER dropped off but the death toll was rising. The area isn’t densely populated so it wasn’t as newsworthy as Alabama and Arkansas but the percentages are probably right up there. I heard there was a search going on for a six year old boy and I still don’t know if they found him.

I got a call from my neighbor wanting to know about the power situation. I let her know it had come on Thursday night. I don’t know what time because I was watching a movie on my netbook while I was curled up in bed. The house had gotten cold and there was no way to heat it other than the gas logs and I surely wasn’t going to turn them on. I need to decide whether I’m going to keep the service or not. I’ve been paying $12-13 a month just to keep the pilot light lit. Summer cutoff would be $7 a month. To have the meter taken out would do away with a bill but to have it put back would cost anywhere from $50-200. Decisions, decisions.

Looking at the lone light on my modem convinced me it was probably dead. I swooped down the mountain to Wally World to get another. When I got it home, it at least had a red light on DSL where the other one didn’t.

My neighbors had planned to make it home but they didn’t get here until today. She said she felt guilty because their house had been spared and so many other homes hadn’t. I’m thankful mine was but I do feel petty because I’m upset I don’t have DSL yet.

This morning, my neighbor to the north came down and was talking about how blessed we are. I had to wholeheartedly agree. I said something about not having my DSL up and she said their phone was still out. I told her I’d called AT&T and the tech didn’t see any outages in this area. The neighbor husband was amazed and said he’d call them. They have cell phones that will work up here but the coverage is spotty.

Praises and Requests time at church was full of thankfulness and needs for those that weren’t so fortunate as the rest of us. The church pantry is bare and more food was requested. I’ll pick up some cases of food tomorrow to take in.

I don’t know who the speaker was. The bulletin was littered with “TBA”s. The elder scribbled the numbers for the hymns on my copy just before they went up on the platform. That was almost a record. At least I got to turn to them and see what they were before I had to play them. There HAVE been times I didn’t know what they were until they were announced. Of course, there are the instances, too, that the speaker decides to change them in mid-stream.

The speaker was very soft-spoken and didn’t get close to the microphone except when he was praying. I caught parts of the message and gathered, at one point, that he lived close to the area where the tornado hit.

This afternoon, I went over to visit my neighbors and borrowed a cell phone to try to call AT&T. I got through but I could hear the tech better than he could hear me. I finally gave up.

Well, tomorrow is my day to Shop. I would have done that Friday and had it over with had I felt better. I’d awakened at 2:30 a.m. and hadn’t been back to sleep so, with all the other stresses of the week, I was pretty wiped out. I was in bed a few minutes after 8.

10 o’clock looks like the best I can do tonight. I’ll have to try to find a place with free wireless tomorrow to post this. I have pictures to share, too, but that will have to wait until I can do them at home. I don’t have the patience to try to view and upload somewhere else. These have been trying times.

Note: I’m at McDonald’s using their wireless. Nice of them to make it available. If you indulge in their food, tell ’em I sent you.

2 Responses to My Week: Disasters and Blessings

  1. Mary Jane May 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Glad to hear from you again, with more details. I’m thankful that our family members were all spared and pray for those who lost loved ones or homes or businesses.

    • Tommie May 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Will be overjoyed to get my DSL back. That’s minor compared to what others are going through, though.

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