9/8/2020: Miss Laura
I have been away from social media for the last eleven days. I hope John and Jane Q. Public enjoyed their little reprieve from the bombardment of, The Flip, posts from yours truly over the last month.
In the pre-dawn hours of the 27th of August, I awoke to find our little piece of heaven in central Louisiana being violently thrashed by the infamous Laura. I walked out onto the back patio in my birthday suit to watch the splendor of the Mother Nature weave her wrath. Note to male readers, “do not urinate off the back porch during a hurricane, just saying.” The trees bent, tin flew away from my shed, the utilities went dead, and my beautiful bride of thirty-eight years told me to get my butt back in the house.
Day one: Fired up generator and ran extension cords all over the house. Cleared the fallen debris from my drive way to be able to get on the highway. Went to my next-door neighbor’s house and cut a large oak tree from his driveway. Highway out to the interstate was blocked with trees until after dark. Laid in the sauna that formerly represented my bedroom that night. Arose at the bewitching hour to fill the generator with gas.
Day Two: Enormous pines and hardwood trees laid over, power pole snapped in two like twigs, powerlines on the ground, but our little two-lane highway was cleared to interstate, five miles away. I made my way to a larger town about twenty miles south on the interstate. The devastation was unheard of in central Louisiana. The town was without power with only five major gas sellers operating with generators. I waited in line, could only buy premium and credit cards didn’t work – cash only. My little wifey, saved me again. She told me to bring some cash with me. Had a repeat of sleeping in the sauna and another late-night gas refill.
Day Three: Against my wife’s better judgement, I took the 110v air conditioner out of her outdoor exercise room and installed it in the bedroom window. I’d had enough of the sauna. Helped with my neighbor’s generators. Me and the wife went to our little church, cleaned out the refrigerator, unplugged it, and left the doors open. My little bride started assisting at the volunteer fire department handing out tarps, cases of bottled water and sometimes ice. I worked on cleaning up the debris from the yard and the swimming pool. Our generator went kaput and I was shocked, it was only fifteen years old. Went to my daughter’s house thirty miles away and got hers. They had their power restored, lucky devils. Another 25 gallons of gasoline. I could only run the 110v A/C at night with the freezers unplugged.
Day Four: Succumbed to the fact that the power would be out for an extended period. Wired the generator to the breaker panel and removed the extension cords. Could only use 110v outlets and lights. My elderly neighbor’s generator went kaput. We pulled the trigger and took our place in line at Lowes. Bought two new ones and brought them back. Cleaned up more debris. Run daughter’s generator on pool pump to clean the pool. Another day or two and it would have been, “shock it” time. The new generator will run all night if you fill it up around nine-thirty. Filled mine and elderly neighbors’ generators.
Day Five: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. Yard getting better with the big stuff but still a lot of limbs down. Working on the place and helping others. The wife still helping with the fire department. She spent the night at my daughter’s house so she could watch the grandbabies while my daughter worked the next day. Another gas run for another 25 gallons. I cranked the little A/C down to Eskimo and slept really well.
Day Six: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. My wife brought the twins out to swim in the pool. I helped work on the neighbor’s roof where some big limbs had punctured the shingles. Report from utility company said we should get power back on the 12th of September, another ten days. She took the twins back home and stayed the night with them again. Filled mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators around 9:30, took a cold shower and cranked down the little A/C again.
Day Seven: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. My wife brought the twins out to play and swim in the pool. I went to my elderly neighbor’s house with my saws and tractor and cut up the big oak tree and hauled it off. Cut the big limbs inside the yard and got them away form the house. My daughter came and got the twins after work. My wife and one of the fire department members wife started delivering hot meals and child care supplies to the community. The national guard had made it to the fire station and had taken over there. Filled mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators around 9:30, took a cold shower and cranked down the little A/C again. Couldn’t make it as cold cause maw-maw was back home.
Day Eight: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. Installed sheets of tin back to the sheds that had been damaged, serviced the generators, fetched another 25 gallons, cut the grass. Hooked generator straight to the water tank for a one-hour period. That is enough of the cold showers. Maw-maw handing out meals from various disaster relief charities. Filled mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators around 9:30, took a lukewarm shower and cranked down the little A/C again. Power company now stating the 9th for electricity to be restored, five more days.
Day Nine: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. Raked the yard from the remaining leaves and the grass clippings, serviced the generators, cut and cleaned up limbs behind the shops building. Maw-maw handing out meals from various disaster relief charities. Rain storm came through and cooled things off a little. Filled mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators around 9:30, took a lukewarm shower and cranked down the little A/C again.
Day Ten: Up at daylight to fill mine and my elderly neighbor’s generators. Neighbor’s roof still had leak in one spot. Did some more patchwork to the shingles. Worked on the limbs beside and behind the shop building. Around 4 o’clock that afternoon, my lovely bride came running down to the shop and said a text showed our power was restored. Hallelujah! Spent the rest of the evening powering down the generators and setting up the restored service to mine and my neighbors houses. My daughter came out and dropped the twins off so she and my son-in-law could have a date-night. Me and the boys cranked the A/C down, ate burgers, hot-dogs and fries, and watched several episodes of T.O.T.S. and Puppy Dog Pals. A great time was had by all.
If there were any positive aspects from Miss Laura, our community embraced each other for the greater good. I got to reacquaint with some old neighbors and meet some new ones. The volunteer fire department supplied food, tarps, child care items and ice to the needy citizens. Chainsaws, tractors and people came forth to help each other with special emphasis on tending to the needs of the elderly. It did my old heart proud to witness it.
I would like to send a “shout out” to the Louisiana National Guard for maintaining the community needs twenty-four seven once they arrived. Another special “shout out” to the tree cutting crews and electrical linemen that left their loved ones for a few days to come and assist us. One last, “shout out” to Jackie, who never stops smiling and caring for her fellow man. Thanks.
My lovely bride acknowledged the fact that I did a good thing by putting the little A/C in our bedroom window. It was a “gold star” moment for me; however, she made me put it back in her exercise room on the 11th day.
It’s the 12th day. Mother Nature has hopefully earned a little rest and relaxation after this little weather event. For years, we spoke of the devastation of Rita in central Louisiana fifteen years ago. Miss Rita now plays second fiddle to the maestro Miss Laura.
It has been an eventful venture since the morning of the 27th. Me and mine are all breathing, we haven’t missed any meals to speak of, and we still come together as a family unit.
Life is good here. I hope that it is where you are, too.
Now, I will have to get back to slinging ads and posts for my novel, The Flip, at you again. www.doyleweldonknight.com