Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Place of His Own

I sat down next to CFM today to eat my lunch. He has a table on either side of him and it seems I never have a place to put my drink. Today there were two books, one he'd finished, two pairs of glasses, two - TWO - nail files, assorted papers, a wooden monkey pen holder, and two extra remote controls.

I said, how about it you maintain this area a little better. Aren't you finished with this book? So he scoops everything off and puts it on the floor next to his chair (where it will probably remain until I mention that it's on the floor). He says, "With all these tables, I should have one I could keep like I want without you complaining.." and he walked outside.

Hmmm. I thought about that. When he came back in I said, "So you're saying you should have a spot you can leave just like it is forever and never have to straighten it or clean it. Is that what you're saying?"

He said, "If I want."

I said, "Not gonna happen. Just wash that thought right out of your head."

Cave men. I'm telling you they'd be perfectly happy living in a dusty old cave.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Redskins vs Saints

Well! I didn't know WHO to root for yesterday. I finally just decided to root for the good plays and boo on the bad ones.

In case you missed it, thee Redskins won. Yeah!!!


Sunshine at last! Ike came through west of us so we didn't get anymore rain. Thank God.

Beautiful low 70's today. It would be a gorgeous day to sit outside if it didn't stink so badly from the dead fish. When the water comes up like this sometimes you get a low oxygen situation and the fish die, what they call a fish kill. Doesn't help that there isn't enough sunshine to make more oxygen. And with the water going down the bank is all fawnky with dead fish and smelly slime. Just lovely.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

All riiiight! Football!

One of my favorite days of the year, the first day of the new football season and our Saints have just scored a touchdown. My heart was in my throat when Brees stepped back anc threw to the end zone when all they needed was three yards.

And my other team - the Redskins - lost Thursday night. Next Sunday will be good and bad, both teams on the same field but I'll have to root for both.

Go Saints! Go away Ike!

ADDENDUM:: I'm sitting in front of the bad TV watching the Colts on Sunday night football because CFM insisted on watching a movie. Heard of football widows? I'm a football widower. During hunting season I'll have to watch football by myself! Sheesh. We women from the Washington, D.C. area take our football seriously...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hurricane Ike - no, no

Nope, I don't wanna talk about it.

On my first website I had a picture of the bayou at its normal level in Fall.

This is now after Gustav.

Water has dropped a couple of inches today so if we don't get any rain, we may gain a few steps before we get another hurricane. I thought I saw a beaver a while ago. That would be okay but I'm keeping my eyes closely peeled for alligators and snakes. Usually there's about 30 feet and a hill between me and an alligator. Now the water is just a few feet away.

Yesterday, it was cloudy and rainy. The sound of chain saws was everywhere. It's so beautiful out today though. Low humidity, 77 degrees, a light breeze. The only disturbance in the fresh air is the occasional smell of smoke from burning limbs and debris. Seems like all of nature is relaxing, breathing a sigh of relief.

I truly hope and pray that this isn't the calm before the next storm. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I'd like to see Ike go to Mexico..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gustav - fourth day

4 Steps out

September 4, 2008

I can't remember when sunshine looked this good! As you can see the water is high, looks eye level with the bottom of the umbrella. (Putting my umbrella up at my little writing space made things seem back to normal.) Ironically, during a year when the river was the highest ever, flooding was caused by a hurricane dumping so much rain that the tributaries filled flooding areas for the first time since 1973.

Finally, we have lights and phone! I'm telling you one job I wouldn't have for the world is that of an electric or utilities service person. There is no way to appropriately express our thanks for their tireless efforts and perseverance in the worst of circumstances. They have done a tremendous job.

We are so thankful that all we lost was a couple big trees, a couple thousand limbs, lol, and, unfortunately, a $1000 deductible on the truck. CFM keeps going over and over the wreck. Somebody said hey, that hindsight is a great thing. You can fix anything but going over and over something really doesn't make it turn out any different.

We play that 'what if' game everyday as writers but in real life you just have to take things day by day. I don't know about you but I have a hard time doing that sometimes.

Looking back though, except for all the inconveniences we're healthy and the house is whole so it wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav 3rd day

7 steps out
Wednesday, September 3
We got up early to go to town to get gas. Joe was driving the Tundra. It was very dark, raining. We came around a curve and a tree was laying in the road. A large truck was approaching in the other lane so he couldn't avoid it and we struck it. I had just put my seat belt on about a minute before that. Then I looked at the insurance and we have $1000 deductible! Sheesh.

No lights yet and the TV Dish may be under water by tomorrow or the next day. They do have lights on the main highway but the gas stations are just starting to open. No one has any ice. The few drive thrus like Sonic and Burger King that were open were packed and lines at the gas stations.

More weather coming through tonight. Hopefully the last round. Water is really rising and all the water around us ends up in this water system. I'd thought we couldn't flood here with exception of a levee break but we're thinking of going and getting sandbags.

I'll update again if I can tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gustav afterward

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
18 steps out
5:00 am

A long, hot, humid and uneasy night. Might as well get up and call to see if we need to go run the mail. Of course we have no phone service now.

QNZ has been on 24 hrs for days and they are saying power is out in 100% of the area. But the postal service number still says things are 'normal' in our area and we should report to work. So as soon as daylight, such as it is, comes, we'll take the big truck and head toward Natchez. I'm not crazy about crossing the Ms River bridge with the high winds that are coming through.

The good news about WQNZ is they are keeping us up to date, instructing people not to get on the roads – which they are ignoring – about toll free numbers to call for early claims submission – if you have a phone – numbers to call if you have trees over the lines.

Our little bayou block has several trees on lines. Of course, some of our smart neighbors have generators. Yeah, I'll have one within a month, whether CFM says yes to it or not. He's been putting it off every time we have an emergency for more than a decade.

The bad news is – I'm sick to death of country music. Sorry. But it's the truth.

We headed out and a large tree was across the road. Had to call a friend who has a big chain saw but he was out of town so had to hunt down his son to get it for us. Finally, we got to Vidalia – way too many non essential cars on the road, including us, but it wasn't my choice.

Homeland Security is telling everyone to stay home, do NOT get on the road. Called the postmaster and he said they had people everywhere but no lights. Plenty of mail – heaviest day for my route is today – but no light to put it up. Jackson is sending a generator but it would be this afternoon before any mail could be delivered. He said he didn't think they'd be going today. I said well, do I need to cross the bridge and come over there? He told me not to worry about it.

So we came back home to try to assess the damage to our property – another tree down since last night, that makes two – and countless, countless big limbs, branches, water filling the ditches, culverts, and bayou. CFM is a little concerned that the bayou could fill up enough to actually flood us. That should actually be impossible in my opinion unless a levee broke since we're on a ridge. But we definitely might be surrounded by water right up to the slab and not able to get out. The bayou would have to come up 18 more steps to be at the top where everyone here would be flooded. I'll check this this evening to see how much it's risen today.

The water comes from runoff from the lakes around here. When the water is high in the rivers around us they have to shut the pumps down at the end of the bayou and ours starts backing up. On our way back from Natchez we saw all the ditches were slam full where the water comes out of the fields and crawfish ponds.

Two of our friends called us to get their stuff out of their freezer and fridge here so we ate deer sausage and eggs and grilled toast for breakfast since that's the only thing working – the gas stove.
10:00 am
I found my old car adapter inverter and finally made it work so I could recharge my laptop. My macbook will run for five hours so I can get a lot of writing or editing done. This should be a good time to start writing forward on something, huh, since I can't work, can't get on the phone and can't watch tv.

11:00 am
Our neighbor has an extra generator and is going to let us borrow it so we might even get some internet or tv or lights or how about a fan so we can sleep tonight. Right now I have what few windows I have open with towels to catch the rain coming in. Too hot with them closed.

Amazing how your priorities change when they have to.

Gustav arrives

Labor Day, Gustav arrives

21 steps out

Monday, September 1, 2008
This morning Gustav came across at Cocodrie, Louisiana – our favorite speckled trout fishing spot – not to be confused with the Cocodrie Bayou that runs in front of our house. We have 26 brick steps that go down to the bayou. We have 21 out at the start of the storm because of a lot of rain in August.

You can ask my critique partners, I've been sure this was coming directly at us since before the hurricane got to Cuba. I'm just glad the thing started getting smaller. The reason we're looking for the worst now is that the northeast quadrant and the area next to the eye wall has the worst wind and threat of tornados. We were in that zone as it passed to the southwest of us.

9:30 am
We lost our lights for the first time, too soon for a storm of this anticipated length. They've said we should be prepared for a long week of torrential tropical rain. The lights did flicker back on.

Ironically, I was working on revising my WIP – FIMB for the request from months ago AND the contest I plan to enter by Friday, Sept 5. With the new job I haven't had time to work on it and create the synopsis.

2:00 pm
I'd just sent my print jobs – four copies of each WIP and synopsis for the contest – to the printer. Four pages printed and the lights went out again, this time for good. *#>!

Well, what better task wth a hurricane approaching and no lights than to prop my feet up with a notebook and write my synopsis for FIMB.

50% of our area is without power. Really getting bad, limbs blowing out of trees. A really big oak twisted off and fell within a foot of the garden tiller but, fortunately, none near the house have come down. They are saying on the radio that the reason so many trees are coming down, oaks in particular, is that they have shallow roots and the ground was already wet around here from unseasonable August rains. I've made great progress on the FIMB synopsis.

The Natchez country station WQNZ 95.1 has done a fabulous job of informing the public from the bluffs of Natchez, Ms to Alexandria, La. The little battery powered radio I dug out of a drawer was our only contact with authorities, for weather updates and closings.

Gustav is still a hurricane and is midway through the state. That's amazing. The wind gusts are upwards of 60-70mph. The airports little wind measuring thingie is broken so we don’t actually know how high the gusts got. Power is out to 95% of the listening area.

Almost everything in the area from Natchez in Missisippi to Alexandria, La is closed. But the postal service still says on their 800 number that everything is normal and you should report to work in the morning. I'll call again in the morning..

The worst of the winds and tornado threat is supposed to be over by 2am so we're going to bed. Can't bury under the covers because it's too hot.