Saturday, September 01, 2012

A Lost Week

Hi all! It's been a miserable week, but we were amongst the fortunate. Far too many of the surrounding parishes are still battling floodwaters. (Remember the plantation where Steve and I spent that wonderful retreat weekend? It was in Plaquemines Parish. I haven't heard if it survived.) Our losses are simply a fence, part of the garage roof, a lemon tree (loaded with lemons), and my beautiful 25-foot orchid tree (which luckily fell AWAY from the house). With 18 inches of rain in 24 hours (plus lots more rain the day before and the day after), there was one point where the drains were overwhelmed and the water started creeping from the street toward the house. One advantage to not evacuating is that because you are home, you can clean the debris from the storm drains in front of your house. One of the disadvantages to not evacuating is that you find yourself out in the middle of a hurricane with water swirling around your knees as you try to clean clean debris from the storm drains in front of your house.

We are amongst the lucky few who now have power. At about ten o'clock last night, just as we were contemplating trying to go to sleep without air conditioning on a hot, sticky, airless night, our electricity blinked back on. A rousing cheer--reminiscent of the night the Saints won the Superbowl--echoed around our little neighborhood. Something like 80% of the city is still without power. One takes his life in his hands venturing out to find ice and food (can I just say that I'm getting really sick of PB&J sandwiches?), since most streetlights are still out and major intersections--think eight lanes--have simply turned into four-way stops.

I have written almost nothing in the past week. Sunday and Monday went to storm preparation. I think I managed to scribble 4 pages on Tuesday before the winds got so high that I couldn't focus. Then it was too dark (no electricity+storm shutters on the windows=dark house), and I spent most of my time simply listening to our little hand-cranked radio (note to self: buy new batteries before the next storm). We've spent the last couple of days trying to clean up, and it will probably take at least another week. Now that we have power, we can get to work cutting up the downed trees and trying to do something about the downed fence. Everything is still such a mess; hurricanes strip the leaves (and lots of branches) off the trees and plaster them everywhere. You can barely see the walk to my front gate buried beneath the leaves and trash:

In the past, here in south Louisiana, we tended to sneer at Category One hurricanes, with people saying, "It's just a Cat One." I don't think we'll do that again.


Beth said...

I'm glad to hear from you. I thought of you when I was reading the news.

I'm sorry for the trouble people there have had, but I am glad things are not as bad for you are they might have been. Small comfort, but all I have.

I wish you good luck with your cleaning up and also with your writing. I'm looking forwards to reading the new books.

[Any hope of more of the C. S. Graham books? You have my permission to tell your publisher that there is at least one fan out there. ;-) Just saying -- I know you are busy, but I do like them.]


Essex said...

I am glad that you are well. Some of the pictures of the destruction are unsettling, but then I see the pictures of people getting together to rescue each other and trapped animals, and it gives one hope . Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Glad that you are okay -- the coverage is very distressing-- so many lost so much, again...

paz said...

Thanks for the update! Happy that you made it through generally unscathed, though it looks like you still have a long slog of a clean up. Wishing you the peace and serenity to accept what you can't change, and a little extra zip to move the process along.

Charles Gramlich said...

Glad you all made it through. We survived as well, house intact.

cs harris said...

Beth, I do have another C.S. Graham book planned, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to write it. If my health keeps improving, I may be able to tackle it next year.

Essex, the people down here are very inspiring in their own way.

Ann, thank you. My heart just breaks for those who've lost everything a second time. I'm not sure I could take it.

Paz, I spent the day pressure washing and now can hardly move!

Charles, you were so wise to evacuate!

Jan Power said...

Thank goodness you are alright. It is distressing to hear you haven't fully recovered from the medication reaction.

Future storm tip (we were out of power for five days in July from the derecho so we know what you went through in this heat): we bought two battery-run 10" table fans from Then we wore wet linen napkins around our necks. Between the fan air and evaporation, we were actually comfortable.

Sorry about your garden losses. We had a big limb come down on my venerable 30' circumference English box. I cried.

cs harris said...

Jan, I'm definitely going to have to look for the battery operated fans. Ironically, the worst part was no Internet; we had battery packs to recharge our iPhones, but there was no service. That, and the food issue when the fridge goes out. We have a generator, but it was up at the lake.

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