Surviving a summer storm is no fun

Surviving a summer storm is no fun
                        

It’s great to have a handy maintenance person in your life, especially for those times when the power goes out at your house. My husband, Joe, is that handy person.

Recently, a monster storm rolled through our area. This storm was not to be messed with.

Sometimes, storms move in, they get loud, they get windy, and your lights start blinking on and off. You are holding your breath. Will it stay on or will it go off? Your favorite TV show is coming on in 20 minutes, of course.

This storm hit with a sudden, huge gust of wind; its rain had barely dampened the patio when Bam! The power went out, no flickering lights of hope, just stark, dark, harsh reality.

Luckily, I was prepared. I had filled a 5-gallon bucket with water and placed it in the bathroom to use for flushing. Because if you live out of town, when you don’t have power, you don’t have water. That’s the extent of my handiness in extreme situations.

I was feeling all good about myself for doing what I could when I looked out the kitchen window. It was an unnerving sight. The trees in the backyard were pitching about in a wild manner I had never seen before and the rain was going sideways. The limbs were being pulled out and away from each other, and one tree looked like all the branches were about to be thrown off the trunk.

Time to go to the basement. Meantime, Joe is now standing at the kitchen window apparently looking unconcerned. “Go to the basement,” I ordered. I already had my essentials — cell phone, iPod and Kindle — because you can’t have enough rechargeable devices in an emergency situation, and I headed downstairs.

Every man and woman for themselves. I want him in my life, but if he gets taken out by that storm, I can’t drag him to the basement.

Turns out he wanted to grab his cell phone and iPad first but had been having some vision issues lately and needed help finding them. He was feeling abandoned. One thing was clear: He was going to die upstairs and alone after his wife bailed on him.

Things got better though. Because when the power goes out, Joe is in his element. His life now has a single purpose, and that is restoring power to the house. That ugly red lantern that has been hanging forever from the door of my beautiful oak hutch is now a beacon of hope guiding us safely around the house.

Out comes the battery-operated radio. We’ve got extra flashlights, rechargeable lanterns that last for days and even a battery-operated fan. He rolls out the generator and hooks it up. It doesn’t run the whole house, just the essentials, but it makes it much more livable.

The generator doesn’t run our electric water heater, but the heater is well-insulated, so if you take a camper shower by getting wet, turning the water off, soaping up, then turning the water back on for a quick rinse, you can take several showers, although they get colder each hour the power is out, and, of course, cold water is going into the tank as the hot water goes out.

With our power out for nearly two days, we were about at the limit for a semi-comfortable shower experience. We were almost at the point of a wet-wipes sponge bath, but thankfully it didn’t come to that this time.

Once when our power was out for three days, I decided to wash my hair in a sink full of cold water. It was not fun, and about 15 minutes afterward, the power came back on to add insult to injury.

Joe is outside in the yard, surveying the damage. This time we are lucky. A large branch dropped off the last remaining tree near the garage, and it miraculously missed the structure. We are feeling fortunate.

There used to be four healthy trees behind the garage, and over the years each one has succumbed to a storm. It’s like a straight-line wind secret portal back there. And the next to the last tree to go a couple years ago damaged the garage, but even worse, it landed on my favorite wheel barrow I like to use to do yard work. My handyman straightened it out as best he could, and I still use it.

Joe is wonderful to have around in an emergency. That rugged survivalist guy who once spent a week canoeing waterways to reach the Ohio River is back. Mother Nature isn’t going to get the best of us.

We are going to make do until the power is back on. We are tough. We are invincible. But not when it comes to cooking meals. That would be crazy. The tough go for take-out.


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