Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Not-So-Fun Monday

As you may have noticed by now, I have had to bow out of Fun Monday for this week. Normally, I do my musing and posting by Sunday night, but other things have been on my mind this weekend.

Old news now, but Fay played a huge part in my weekend. Schools were closed on Friday just in case, and mostly what we had was a little bit of rain. Friday night, however, was a different story. The rains came in earnest, soaking the ground and starting small rivers in other parts of town where there were none before. Still, we were in pretty good shape. As I've mentioned before, we live in an actual house, up a hill, and so felt somewhat smug in our ability to ride out the storm. What we didn't count on was our neighbor's lack of preparation.

The result was this:

This tree has been leaning precariously for quite some time. I asked him about it last winter, but being an old guy on a fixed income, he was relying on chance to keep that tree planted until he didn't live there anymore. The gamble caught up with him Saturday morning. With little to support it, the tree slid out of the mud and fell across the power lines.

Not only did it fall across the power lines, bringing them down, it YANKED our power box off the wall!

Now we had a gigantic pine tree lying across the road and halfway up the driveway of John the Drunk across the street. I imagine that must have been quite a sight for him... open the garage door, light up a smoke and settle into your lawn chair with the first beer of the day to watch the storm and get ready for a little Nascar and see this huge tree falling in your direction. I'm rather amazed that he didn't have a heart attack right there. Instead, he's pissed. How is he going to watch Nascar now?

Darling Man took the camera out to take pictures of the powerline carnage and didn't realize that ZBoy had left it set to video, so the pictures he took come with a sound track and some rather nauseating video as he waved the camera around while talking to some neighbors that came up to do their own inspection. The first clip is about 3 minutes long and the second about a minute. These are the kind of conversations that happen after this kind of "catastrophe" where everyone is okay, but majorly inconvenienced...

Shortly after these were shot, John the Drunk decided he would cut himself out of his driveway and go to L*wes to get a generator so he could watch his dang Nascar. He borrowed a chainsaw from a neighbor who didn't know better, and BlowerGuy (whose tree caused all the ruckus) set to trimming the top branches out and piling them up in the yard. It was a scary thing to watch as John was weilding the chainsaw and both BlowerGuy and "Helpful Neighbor" nearly had bits of them removed to be piled up along with the branches. Finally, the police showed up and made them stop. As you can see in the first video frame, the tree is SUSPENDED on the power lines. Can you imagine what would have happened if they'd gotten anywhere close to the line? Can you say SLINGSHOT? It would have been interesting, but definitely not worth the price of the entertainment.

It was starting to get dark, so the police decided to stay. We had no lights and there was a honkin' big tree lying across the street! It would not be a good combination for anyone driving up the street unaware. Helpful Policeman parked there with his lights going to alert anyone foolish enough to believe they could get through.

While he was sitting there, we noticed this:

Another tree in BlowerGuy's yard had toppled into another tree. They were still standing, but the rain was still coming down too - and if they fell, they would land right smack on top of Helpful Policeman. Several neighbors pointed this out to him, but he kept his car where it was. He did, however, get out and stand in someone's driveway - out of the path of the tree.

The mail came. When they pulled into our driveway to turn around, I laughed and said, "That must be some pretty important mail!!!!" Turns out it was - I got a letter from my grandmother in Wales that day. It gave me something to read and mull over while we waited for power to return.

Finally, it was hot enough that we needed to open windows. The cooled air held out much longer than I thought it would. Of course, once the windows were opened, it turned hot and muggy. And ZBoy, child of THIS century, was feeling the withdrawal of all things electronic and began whining. (I wanted to, but being a grownup, didn't.) Darling Man decided to take the blow up mattresses, some food and ZBoy and spend the night at the TV station - with it's lovely, brand-new, gigantic generator. I opted to stay home in case the power guys came so I could find out about the box problem. Also, the animals needed someone to stay with them. The guys happily headed out the door and I grabbed my book and began reading.

The rain was still coming down by the time I was ready to hit the sack, so I camped out in the computer room. That room had windows without roof under them, so I could leave them open and not have rain come bouncing back in. It was actually quite pleasant with the rain-cooled air and the occasional breeze. Then around 2:30am, the aliens arrived.

I never realized that aliens had thick southern accents and dayglo orange pants. They brought in re-enforcements, so there were two ships out there on my street. I pulled on my pants and went down to the front porch to watch. Two and a half hours later, they were done restringing wires and setting poles back upright and the foreman was walking down each line to the houses to make sure things were still attached. Turns out that we'd have to get an electrician to come and reattach our box, then call the city to come back and reconnect the wires and turn us back on. Bummer. I went back to bed while lights blazed in all the houses around me (except the couple straight across the street, who had the same issue we did with the power box).

Sunday, ZBoy and Darling Man woke me with their arrival. They brought breakfast and a cup of coffee with them (bless them) and we had a newspaper - wet, but there. The dog was going a little stir crazy, so Z and I took her for a walk, heading for BB's house and another cup of coffee. On the way, I noticed a turtle in the middle of the road. Turns out that it had been hit by a car and about a quarter of his shell had been knocked off, but was still attached by tendon or skin or something. He was still alive though, so Z grabbed an old planter basket off a trash pile and put grass in it, then I carefully lifted the turtle and its shell piece and put them in the basket.

We continued on to BB's for my coffee and playmates for Kida. BB has two dogs and an open back yard, so they raced around like maniacs while Z watched the weather channel and I downed two cups of coffee in quick succession. Then the rain hit again - and BB drove us all back to my house in her tiny pickup truck.

Not long after, electricians showed up across the street. I grabbed DM and told him to go get them to come to us after they were done because the electricians WE called didn't know when they'd get there. Kareem & Monday came over after they finished the neighbors' and fixed our box too. Good thing - the other company called back and said they weren't going to make it. Now we just had to get the city to come back out and reconnect us. Yeah. Meanwhile, more trees are coming down all over the place and the city's busy restringing power lines and chopping up trees. No joy on Sunday.

The rest of town was pretty much back in business though, so we went out to dinner. On the way, we stopped to check out Lake Ella. It hasn't been this high in 30 years! Lake Ella is just a little pond in the middle of town with ducks and the occasional alligator. It's a popular spot for walking and just hanging out. There used to be a little motor hotel there, and the cottages have been converted into stores. Very wet stores now.

The Methodist church has a little outdoor service area - now in the water.

Yield? To what.... kayaks and ducks?

Darling Man and Z headed back to work for AC and sleep. I settled down in the computer room again, but this night was still and warm and muggy. Sleep was nearly impossible. There were occasional showers that passed by, and their cooling power allowed me a couple of hours anyway.

I went to work Monday. ZBoy went to school. Darling Man went home to wait - and finally, the call. Power has been restored!!!! Late Monday afternoon.

Last night? SLEEP!!!!!


SwampAngel65 said...

Wow!!! You really DID get it bad up there! I'm glad you guys are ok, though...wowowowowowow!!!! I haven't seen water like that since Andrew. crazy.

That turtle is beautiful! I've never seen one with a shell like that before. Is he still ok? You can glue the shell together with glue, you know. Just be careful not to glue any of his flesh.

Thanks for your comment about Indy. She's fine now. Just hard to imagine her not being able to go out and run around like a maniac anymore. Poor old girl has the mental age of 2 and the physical age of 12.

Jan said...

OMG, glad you and yours are OK.

Sayre said...

Just so you know... we took the turtle to St. Francis. I thought about doing the glue thing myself, but there was a bit more damage to his insides than you could see. His prognosis is good though!

stepping over the junk said...

OH my goodness! I havent even been watching the news! This is crazy. I hope you are okay! Great photos by the way, good job documenting!

nikki said...

So glad you are all okay! I was worried about you!

Anna said...

Wow, glad you're all okay!

ablondeblogger said...

Oh wow, Sayre!!!! My goodness!!! I'm so glad you all are okay!

What a PITA, though, huh? We had a tree fall into the road behind our house in our old neighborhood and two cars hit it before the police got there.

One of the men was injured pretty badly. I had to call his wife and tell her he was out behind my house hurt. :(

I'm glad the police got to your place and stayed there to protect everyone.

judysteapot said...

My word how scary for you all but I'm glad that you are all OK and hope that everything will soon get back to 'normal' love and prayers, Judyx

Patience said...

And now . . . here comes Gustav! Hopefully he'll continue due west and go into some of that uninhabited northern Mexico area! But I'm afraid he'll head to the middle Texas coast instead. Speaking of generators . . . best get ours out of the garage and tested!

Sandcastle Momma said...

What a mess! We got lucky with Fay and didn't see any wind. We got rain two days after she passed us but it was less than an inch.

It sounds like ya'll got lucky with how fast your power was restored. And the good news is that now the problem tree is gone LOL

cinnkitty said...

whew...that's one heck of a time you've been having! Glad you've made it through safe and sound and have POWER again! Yay, we likes our power! ;)


karatemom said...

LOL never a dull moment at your place eh..good your all okay .take care.

karisma said...

Wow that brought back memories for me of the floods we had two years ago! Lucky the tree chose the road and not a house! We had many houses and cars squished in our storm! Great pictures!