Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comcast Sucks, Hurricanes Blow, and Other Assorted Woes, Part 4 - The Storm.

Did I mention that my temp spiked Friday morning? It was barely noticed in the midst of the impending hurricane, but it was in the back of my mind. A small jump on temps, but a jump right into my normal post-O temps. And sure enough, my cervical fluid was drying out, becoming more scant and more sticky, and my cervical position was changing too, though more slowly than I am accustomed to experiencing. Throughout our preparations, my mind would pop back to that and laugh ruefully about the fact that I would be unable to confirm ovulation anytime soon, since the storm was to hit us in full force about 3:00 and I temp at 5:30. But, we had batteries for our clock radio, which was to be our link to the outside world, so I comforted myself with hopes of checking on Sunday. DH and I joked about a hurricane baby and promised to have sex again before the storm, but in the end, I was far too keyed up. We joked about Valium being the only way I could deal with the increasing tension and storm advice we were receiving.

About 6:00, we stopped working on the house. The dining room table, and the room itself, had not been totally cleared and none of the house dusted, but the bathrooms were sparkling, and the floors done (for the most part) and the final preparations of moving our patio furniture inside and tying up the trashcans had made any more work difficult. I conceded when DH pointed out that for something to come through our dining room window, it would have to leap the carport and hit at a very odd angle. We also knew that people were starting to lose power and we had dishes to do, dinner to eat, the dryer was still running, I wanted to fill the washer with water for washing ourselves, and we both needed showers.

As the wind began to pick up a little, as the storm was moving towards Galveston, we did these things. I now realized it was only a matter of time until we lost power, though I'd vaguely expected to have it until the hurricane itself hit us. We ate, we fidgeted, we talked about sex and a movie, though we made no moves towards either. DH told me he was proud of me for staying so calm, even though I was scared. I told him I loved him. I called all my family, intending to tell them I loved them, and that we would turn our phones off when the power went out, to preserve the batteries as long as possible, but somehow, I didn't manage to say 'I love you' to any of them. Nor did they to me, though we normally end conversations that way. The conversations were short and somewhat grim, reminding them of preparations we'd made, telling them we were ready, and trying to reassure them and me that it would be fine, that our house had been through more than one hurricane with no damage and it would be fine. I think if we'd said 'I love you' it might have seemed too big and too scary and it would have admitted what we were trying not to say, which is that this is a scary, dangerous thing over which we had no control, though we'd done all we could.

DH took a shower, and in a scary moment, slipped and put his kneed through the side of the tub. He was ok, except for a lot of bruising, but the tub is pretty much destined for replacement as soon as we can secure a loan to cover that. The dog had had a very, very long walk earlier in the day, as a guard against needing to go out when the edges of the storm came in. Whether he was tired from that or simply picking up on our tension or something in the air, he was unusually subdued and quiet, occassionally seeking affection, and then returning to the nest of couch pillows he'd created. I took my own shower and cursed myself for not getting conditioner at the store, and wondered how long it would take before I could shower again. I was not eager to linger though; the news station near us had suddenly lost power because of a downed line and I was feeling jumpy that it could happen to us at any time.

We continued to fidget and sit and look at each other; we were glued to the news, which hadn't changed in three hours, except for getting darker. The wind began to pick up and I noticed that the gusts were registering at near 30 mph. This really frightened me, because I could see the tree outside our window and how it was blowing and I thought we would surely not have windows in the morning.

DH was tired and talked about bed, but I was scared. First, my side of the bed is next to windows, so that was not comforting. Second, if we went to bed, I feared I couldnt' sleep without being drugged (just Advil PM, nothing hardcore, but that shit knocks me the fuck out, kwim?), and if I was drugged, would I be able to get downstairs if things got bad? There wasn't space under the stairs for one of us to stretch out, let alone both of us. But stretching out on the couch, near the two story windows I was expecting to be shattered at any moment was hardly reassuring either.

In the end, we waited until 11:00 pm, when the power went off, and we took our flashlights upstairs. We had tried to move the dog's crate from the living room to the kitchen, where we felt he'd be safest (we'd also intended to shut the cat upstairs in the bathroom, so we could quickly get downstairs into safety and not have to worry about herding animals). However, this disturbed the dog like nothing else. It was outside routine, and we were keyed up, and the lights and sound were gone and the flashlights distracted him and he yipped short sharp yips until we put his crate back where he felt it belonged. Then not another whimper from him all night. We went back upstairs where we got into bed and I clung to my flashlight, trying to read a book for an hour or so, but being distracted by the suddenly very loud sounds of the increasing wind. DH was snoring beside me.

I was exhausted, but I could not sleep. I could hear the wind and rain and see the trees blowing and was waiting for the moment - as if it would be clearly defined - the actual hurricane would hit.

Nevertheless, I must have dozed at some point, because a boom awoke me (we now think it was the massive oak tree in the courtyard splitting). It was about 3:00, according to the cell phone DH checked, and the storm was in full force. The rain sounded like someone throwing gravel against our windows, there were crackes and thuds and at one point, I thought I heard the sound of the door opening, and the alarm beeping, though I assumed it was my imagination. I lay in bed, rigid, listening to the wind howling, swirling, cackling, occasionally wondering if that were the sound of a train engine or tornado. I was desparate for a radio, but we found when we had gone upstairs that the radio was out, despite the battery - it was back-up only. I felt isolated, tucked away from the world, and though DH tried to comfort me and hold my hand, he was soon dozing again and I just lay listening, listening. Eventually, there was a bit of regularity to the sounds of the howling and the gravel and I dozed, only to be awoken just before 5:00 with flickering lights and the sudden sound of voices. It took me a moment, but I realized our power was back on!

I raced downstairs, turned the AC down, turned the fans on, and realized I could smell wet - the mingling of rain and churned earth. I looked and sure enough, the back door was wide open. I shut it again, made sure it was locked and went into the living room to watch television. The wind still howled, and I was surprised. I had waited for the eye, hoping for the respite, but the radar image showed that the worst of the storm was still over us, and time-lapse showed it had been since about 3:00. I don't think the eye ever passed over my house, just the storm lingering over us as the eye turned a bit northward. I turned on the computer, and was lucky enough to get an unsecured connection, but every time I attempted to post anywhere, the power would flicker off, then back on again. The computer had battery power, but the wireless signal would fade then return. I did post one message on one board before we lost power for good, thirty minutes after it came back.

We were disappointed to lose it again, but I could sleep now. I knew it would be over soon, and the house had stood this long, I figured we'd be safe. The locked door blew open again, and DH secured it with the deadbolt (which we still need - otherwise, a hard push swings it open). It was still raining when DH got up for the day around 9:00 and still dripping when I got up around 11:00.

We had survived the storm, and now we had to survive the aftermath.

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