Tag Archives: Hurricane Matthew

Man Angels~Part 3

14 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

On Saturday morning my son and I set out for Titusville in separate vehicles. He took his trailer so he could put the shutters back in storage. He didn’t get any breakfast because he planned to eat at a drive-through. All of those were swamped. So he decided to go on and though I had planned to get gas I decided I had enough because the lines were long.

We got home while the day was still young. The power was out, but I had my cell phone so I called my neighbor had been looking after my cats to tell her I was home. She came right down to deliver the house key. We’ve known each other for almost fifty years and our children played together when they were small. After I made our son a chicken-salad sandwich, (yes, I could tell the mayonnaise from the refrigerator was still fine because he didn’t get sick) he got to work setting up the generator. He had done his own shutters and generator for the storm at his house. So at my house he was an experienced starter-upper. As I followed him around and we casually visited, he said he was enjoying himself tinkering with the generator. He also said he didn’t envy the house-cleaning I had in store, which I assumed meant he preferred machines to dust-cloths.

 

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He finished starting the generator and taking down the shutters by noon. He took the shutters in the trailer and I drove my car so I could bring the key back home. He then took off in search of a fast food line he could get through. My neighbor told me later that he stopped at her son’s house to say hello.

Our power was out for five days. Dear son-in law-gassed up the generator and it ran another fifteen hours keeping the food cold and giving me places in the house where there was light as well as a room AC in our former garage. Our yard man came and set to work cleaning up after the storm. Our lawn men came. They did their work and asked if I needed any more help. One of them was getting married the following Saturday. He indicated that he’d much rather be mowing lawns than tending to his fiancé and her mother as they fretted over the wedding plans.

One of the neighbors came by and noticed the tire was flat on my car. Later that evening, I discussed it with my husband over the phone and he told me just what to do—get the yard man to help me fill it at the gas station I watched carefully and I now I can do it by myself if I have to.

 

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The next day, five houses on my side of the street had power, but I didn’t know it until my neighbor told me. I still had no power. I called my daughter and she asked if there were any line men around. There sure were…just across the street. I walked over to talk to them and apparently, it was the way the generator was permanently wired into the house and had something to do with pulling plugs and turning on breakers to get it on. He started to explain it, but sometimes my short-term memory takes a break, so when he said he’d come help if I had any trouble I asked him if he could come right then, before I burned the house down. I’ve had a fear of electricity ever since I was a small child. It’s my very first memory. I saw an electrical outlet in the wall and a bobby-pin on the floor. My baby brain said they belonged together. I stuck the metal bobby pin in the electrical outlet and va-va-voom. It fit. I got quite a buzz out of that.

 

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The linemen had come from Indiana which is where my husband was. I asked the lineman about his family and about the hours they were working. He had three children and was now working sixteen hours on and eight off. He was cheerful. He missed his family, but to all the men I met the challenges seemed as if they were welcome adventures.

 

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Today on my walk I heard the shrill screams of children coming from the school grounds up the street. When I got there, I saw a line of kindergartners looking small against a huge fire engine. They were watching a demonstration of the distance a fire hose could shoot into a retention pond. Every time the fireman who was hunkered down with the hose made an archway of water, the children cheered. The two men with the fire engine were as slow-moving and patient with the children as could be. Surely they were man-angels, too.

The End

Man-angels~Part 2

7 Nov

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

I appreciated my caring family’s offers to drive me to our son’s and wife’s house, but I knew I was perfectly capable of driving myself to Orange City. It turned out to be the best vacation I’ve had in a long time. Because we are all busy, active, and productive, we have not had much time to talk lately. Now we did and it was glorious. I see my daughter because she lives closer, but my daughter-in-love and I have enjoyed conversations since we first met, so we were glad of the opportunity to catch up.

The evening of the storm we three sat and talked after supper. That night in my absent granddaughter’s beautiful room, I heard the wind and rain and something flapping, but I had my earplugs in and I felt loved and safe, so I didn’t have much trouble going to sleep. The power went out the next day, so we had no electricity, but the shutters were off and we did have plenty of water. We made up a hurricane casserole, using cooked wild rice layered with spinach and turkey-roast chunks. The man-angel cooked it on the outside grill with the lid down. It tasted delicious and the man-angel finished it off after we two ladies were full. It was a meal to remember. Every light in the house went on after we finished it.

 

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On Friday afternoon people began coming out of their houses and driving by in their cars. We heard chains saws revving up and trees protesting as the half blown-over ones came to rest on the forest floor. I talk to myself sometimes, so I asked myself: “What shall I do now?” I had some writing to do and a good book to read and daughter-in-love had a puzzle. But she came right into my self-talk and made the wonderful suggestion that we go for a walk now that the storm was over. We got the dog’s lead and ventured out. It is a semi-rural neighborhood and the pastures were green and the fresh air smelled of cedar and pine. We discovered we had two more miles worth of talking to do.

 

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Laika

 

We saw a large herd of domestic Alpacas that came right up to the fence, to say hello to Laika.

 

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Alpacas

At another property, something ran down a small incline from the house to greet us. We thought, from the way it trotted, that it was a small black and white dog, but it turned out to be a little pig instead.

 

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Tuxedo pig

We then saw two sand-hill cranes in a field and our menagerie felt complete.

 

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To be continued

 

 

Man-Angels Part 1

31 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

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I would like to present a new word, unless somebody already has come up with it. The word is man-angels. It means earthly angels who happen to be men of the human race. Now, I imagine there could be all kinds of theological discussions over this. I wonder if God’s angels from Heaven have any similarity to us, but let’s imagine they do.

The name came to me during the recent hurricane which, strangely, had the same name as a book in the Bible: Matthew. The media announced that a terrible storm was on its way. Everyone took it seriously. In the fifty years we’ve lived in Brevard County, we have never known such destruction as was predicted for the night of October 6, 2016. We were given a mental picture of a blitzed and destroyed land.

Because my husband was away at the time, I became a woman alone. Might I say elderly woman alone. Bill knew he had made our house safe enough for 150 mile an hour winds, and frankly neither of us was worried about it except for one thing: I knew I would be scared in the house alone when the big one struck in the middle of the night. Our daughter hoped I wouldn’t be so frightened that I would get sick. Our son reckoned I could get hurt, especially if rain got under the shingles and the roof lifted off, a very real danger with hurricanes.

Our daughter was at home with her husband, looking after a family member who has dementia. She called her brother and asked if he could drive to Titusville from Orange City and put up the shutters. He asked his grown son to meet him here. They came at night because the next day, they were both expected to work, at least from home. The put up the shutters in the dark Wednesday night. They were soaking wet from the humidity even though it wasn’t raining yet. Fortunately we had repellant for the hungry mosquitoes and flashlights to see by. We also had light-weight, clear, shutters. They left here close to midnight for their respective homes an hour away. Man-angels.

I really did plan to stay. I’d be with my two cats and we’d get through it. Besides, I most definitely did not want to pack a suitcase. On Wednesday our daughter texted that she thought it would be good for me to go ahead to Orange City because the threats were dire. Then our son called and asked me again to come.

Then he set up a group text. Dad, Mom daughter, son, and son’s wife. We started texting like crazy. My husband who was in Ohio, was needed for lots of advice about where things were and what actions he had set up in case of such a storm. It was family communication par excellence! We even laughed a bit. Our daughter came to the house and helped me prepare for the storm.

After the warnings became even more threatening, our daughter and son each called me and insisted it would be better to go to Orange City for the duration of the storm. They answered all my objections calmly and reasonably. No one became impatient. They are negotiators and diplomats. I heard their concerns and decided to go. Our daughter offered to drive me and our daughter-in-law offered to come and get me, an hour each way for either of them. A mom loves to be so looked after and I was no exception.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

Getting my Ducks in a Row~Part 2

13 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

We remained inside most of the day after the winds of the hurricane began to die down. Traffic lights were not working and we didn’t want to deal with the hassle driving would be. So Saturday we decided to venture out. We visited a friend and helped take down her boards and later in the day we drove to the marina. There were four sailboats that had washed ashore, but I only took pictures of two as the others were further away.

On the way home from our friends home we drove through a neighborhood where we once lived. It is an older subdivision with a lot of oak trees. I was fascinated with the moss that covered yards and the road, The hurricane stripped the tress so that some yards appeared to have gray snow on them. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the moss as husband felt a tad odd taking pictures while people were in the yard cleaning up.

 

On our way home from the marina, we drove down “river road.” It has a name, but it has always been called this by locals. There was far less damage than I expected as the news had been warning of a storm surge. Thankfully they were wrong. When we were almost at the end of the road, we saw it was blocked by a tree and back tracked.

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On Monday, we went to the local Target to get away from the house.  The third day after the storm passed, freezer cases remained almost bare.

I was nervous before the storm about not being able to board up. We were fine, no wind damage alt all.  I do think it would be a good idea to order some of the plylox to have on hand in the future.

One of the heart warming and encouraging results of the storm is the way churches reached out to help people, especially widows, single moms and the elderly prepare for the storm . We are blessed to have young pastors who have a heart of love for the community. On Sunday, instead of holding a service, they are meeting to go out into the community and aid in clean-up activities.

Monday afternoon was a big day for many of our residents. Power crews were able to restore electricity to homes that had been out since Thursday night. I was visiting with a friend when her power returned and there was a lot of whooping and hollering going on. Power company linemen are heroes in our community and we are thankful for every single one who left their families and came to our aid.

One thing was missing in the midst of this disaster. No one asked who one was voting for in the Presidential election. Neighbors talked to each other. They shared information and acts of kindness were the norm. This is who we are. This election period has brought out the worst in our country, but Hurricane Matthew a force of destruction,  brought out the best in us.

 

Getting my Ducks in a Row

6 Oct

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

UPDATE 10/8/2016

Waiting for Hurricane Matthew to arrive was making the whole family edgy. We spent Thursday morning picking up a couple of items  like extra snacks and a tote in which to store photo albums. Aside from rain, the weather did not deteriorate until around 10 pm.  By then I was worn out and decided to try to sleep as the worst winds were expected after 3 am. Friday morning came and the storm was still growing strong but thankfully, we still had electricity and air-conditioning it. I will write more on this in my Thursday blog

I’m writing this on Wednesday night instead of my usual last minute on Thursday post. It seems preparing for a hurricane spurred me to be more organized and “get my ducks in a row.”

 

I have found the retirement life,with flexible plans and few deadlines, feeds my procrastination gene. However, this week I discovered a remedy and its name is Hurricane Matthew! We have been steadily watching the path of the large storm and feeling safe since it was predicted to move east and away from Florida. On Monday it became apparent that Matthew might not agree with the projected track and Rebekah and I decided to top off our hurricane supplies. To be honest, I was feeling a bit smug that we were being proactive and not waiting until the last minute. That night we discussed the pros and cons of boarding up windows as they are relatively protected by a porch and the side walls of other townhouses.

We decided to board two windows that might be vulnerable and headed out to the home improvement store early the next morning. When we arrived at the store it  was busy but  without the craziness one sees when a storm is imminent. We planned to look first for Plylox, clips to hold the plywood in place over the windows, then grab a piece of plywood and hopefully have it cut to make it easier to carry home.

Plylox clips

Plylox clip

On our way to locate the clips, we passed the area where a large saw is set up to custom cut wood. To our dismay, a sign stating the saw was out of order was taped to it. Oh well, we should be able to find a way to get the wood home on top of our car. We hung a right and went to the far end of the aisle where a large container for the Plylox clips stood…empty. To be honest, we were irritated that the home improvement store was so unprepared.

Do you see the humor in that? We were upset that they were unprepared. Our daughter has owned this home for eight years and this is the first time any of us gave thought to purchasing supplies to board up for a hurricane.  I guess the best plans can have a flaw. Our flaw could be a major one, but I have a peace about our safety even though Hurricane Matthew has tracked further west and may make landfall in our county early Friday morning.

hurrican-im-here

Since the hurricane will be passing over us during daylight hours, I hope to get some photos and will post them here as an update when power is restored. Prayers for the safety of everyone in the path of this storm are appreciated.

Luke 8:22-25 The Message

22-24 One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.

25 Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!”

 

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