Monday, July 02, 2012

Derecho Damage

Well, we survived the weekend.  The weekend we'll now know as the "Weekend of the Derecho." Don't know what a derecho is?  Well, trust me, I hope you never encounter one.  Basically, it's a very high powered thunderstorm with CRAZY winds that don't give you a whole lot of time to prepare.  When we've had hurricanes in the past, you have days of notice that something is coming.  Last August when Hurricane Irene hit, we'd had 3 days notice that we were going to get hit on Saturday.  On Friday evening, we cleared the deck of all the furniture and made sure everything was secure.  Aside from losing power with that storm for FOUR days, we didn't sustain any damage.  But this past weekend was different and while we miraculously didn't lose power, we did sustain some minor damage.

It was about 10:30 on Friday evening - Jason was asleep on the couch and I was watching a movie.  All of a sudden out of no where, it got windy. CRAZY windy.  Like so windy that I didn't even know what the sound was at first.  I got up to look outside to see our deck furniture being thrown around.  Jason woke up a bit disoriented but when I exclaimed that the wind was tossing the umbrella around (it was closed and tied), he ran out to pull it out of the table.  The wind was HOT and strong.  I was watching the trees behind the house just waiting for one to break.  He got it out just as the rain started and sat all the chairs on their sides.  At that point the CRAZY lightning started.  And when I say it was crazy, that's actually not really giving it justice.  Nuts is more like it.  Seriously, it was like a strobe light at some points.  I sat and watched out the window and it was more lit up than it was dark.  Just constant flash after flash after flash.

I looked at the radar and saw what an intense storm it was and how much red was coming our way.  I commented on Facebook that the winds seemed more intense than what Irene had dealt us - I wasn't wrong. I turned off the computer and was pretty much sure we'd lose power.  After an hour or so, the intense storm part passed and we were left with just rain (which we needed).

I think because we woke up with power on Saturday morning, I didn't realize how bad the storm had been for so many people.  Probably because we lose power fairly easily.  Jason called his parents and they had power too - they generally lose power easily too and were without it for several days after both Isabel and Irene.  I was seeing some things on FB about people being without power but figured it was just a bad storm.  How wrong, I was.  When Jay went outside, he found that we'd lost one of our shutters - it was completely split!  And because we can't just replace it without it being a complete mismatch due to fading of all the others, we'll be purchasing 7 sets of shutters later in the week.  Thanks Mr. Derecho!

Jason ran by my parents' house to survey their house because they were away for the weekend - no power. That was kind of odd because my parents rarely lose power during storms.  Thank goodness for them during Isabel and Irene!  Thankfully, the pool was okay as was everything else around their house.  But a huge limb of a tree had fallen on the power lines leading into their neighborhood and had taken out hundreds of homes.

And with the temps forecasted to be 100 degrees for the next two days, it wasn't a great time to be without power.  We figured at first it would only be a matter of time before it was back on and we waited around our house on Saturday to go back to my parents and clean up.  Plus, more storms were being threatened.  We kind of had a "do nothing" day on Saturday because it was so hot and no one wanted to go outside and we didn't want to take my kids to my parents' without power (the pool was a mess without the filter or way to vacuum it and the house was warm).  We would have taken my parents our generator that we'd purchased after Irene but because they weren't there and you have to be there to monitor it, it didn't make sense.   So we stayed at home, played Wii and kept the kids entertained....bedtime couldn't have come soon enough!

Sunday morning broke still without power at my mom's but they were coming home so we made plans to get the generator over there since the power company was now saying it could be several days before power is restored.  We went out and ran some errands - only spent $15.95 at Target, TYVM! - and had lunch.  We met my dad back at our house and he and Jason put the wheels on the generator and got it in the back of his truck.  He got it home and quickly powered up the deep freezer, the kitchen fridge, and the pool filter.  My brother came over and got to work on the pool.  The house wasn't terribly hot but not cool.  By the time we got there, Kevin had the pool mostly clean and the kids got right in.  Ahhhhh.  So nice.  I swept up the decks and the kids swam while my dad rearranged food in the fridge, freezer and coolers.  My mom was at a baby shower but by the time she got home we were all chilling by the pool.

We left to go home and eat dinner and then my mom decided to spend the night at our house since she would have the kids on Monday and could sleep in some A/C!  My dad was going to be there to keep the generator going and was probably going to sleep in the basement since it's always so cool down there.

I know a lot of people still don't have power and after experiencing a long term power outage twice (once with kids), I can completely sympathize.  It just totally sucks and without a pun intended, you feel completely powerless.  You have no idea when it will be back on and your life just feels so disrupted and unsettled.    We're supposed to spend the 4th of July with my parents and have an impromptu cookout.  Here's hoping there's power by then.  It was such a strange, surprise storm and it seems that so many people that are out are those that usually don't lose power.  I feel lucky to have been spared, mostly because of the fact that our grinder pump (sewage) needs power to get out of the house and while living without power is doable, living without being able to flush toilets is not.

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