Wednesday, May 04, 2011

One week ago

One week ago today, this is where I was, hunkered down as the civil defense sirens wailed and the TV weatherman was telling everyone to take cover. Lots of people were in basements. As you can tell, this is my bathroom, the innermost room of my first-floor apartment. I like to weather storms comfortably.

And this is what the sky looked like as the first of three supercells moved through our area.

And this is the back entrance to my apartment complex. Multiply this by a couple hundred thousand and that will give you an idea of the level of devastation in this state.

I am writing this on Tuesday morning from a Starbucks where I'm charging my laptop, cell phone and Kindle. I'm not sure when I'll have my power restored. I was able to get charcoal and have been grilling the contents of my freezer. I bought bread, peanut butter, Kashi bars and fresh fruit at Publix and have not starved.

Actually, I have had some pretty nice dinners -- a steak and corn on the cob and grilled chicken. Last night I fixed "hobo dinners" with hamburger patties, sliced onions and potatoes and shared with two of my neighbors. It was grill it and eat it or let it spoil and throw it away. There have been a lot of steaks on grills around my apartment complex during this.

The devastation is beyond description, but I'm sure you've seen it in the papers or on TV. All I have is minor inconvenience and a lot to be thankful for. I've managed quite well during this, including having my morning cuppa thanks to a can of sterno and a coffee-can stove.

If I can, I'll pop in here and reply. But if the power's not been restored or it is and cuts off again, think of us and keep us in your prayers.

Here are a few photos of the destruction.

Power transmission towers doing a one and a half twist in the pike position.

An area about five miles west of me. Scenes like this -- and worse -- are all over north Alabama.

And what else do you have after six days without power? A mountain of garbage!

I'm just waiting for the t-shirts to come out. You know -- the ones with "I Survived the Big Blackout of 2011" emblazoned across the front. I'm gonna get me one because just like the old Loreal commercials used to say, "I deserve it!"

P.S. Tuesday, 5:45 PM. I have power! It came on while I was gone to get a haircut and pick up a few things to eat. I almost bought another bag of ice but decided to wait and see if perhaps I had power. If not, I could zip round the corner to the grocery and get a bag. Good thing I didn't because the fridge was humming away as I walked in. We must be careful not to overload our very delicate electric system, though, because there are no back-ups. So I won't be washing clothes or taking long, hot showers any time soon. Patience and conservation are still the order of the day. But squeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can watch Castle and the wedding online!


Angel said...

Lord, I've had enough grilled food to last me all summer. We grilled everything -- steaks, hamburgers, fish, veggies, potatoes. Thursday we even reheated leftover pizza on the grill before we got a generator to hook up the toaster oven. :) But I must admit, we didn't lack for food! We ate good during the storm aftermath.

I've learned all kinds of cool trick! Setting out solar lights during the day for candleless light inside your house at night. Using a turkey fryer to heat water for baths. How to keep the contents of your freezer from thawing so quickly. We even hung laundry on the line -- which I hadn't done in years!

Go, southern ingenuity! :)


Vicki Batman said...

Major award coming your way! I went four days one time. LONG AGO.It is very hard when your town is torn up. I'm happy you are fine.
Good post.

Judy said...

We are so blessed. Both our homes are intact. We have one tree down near our home in Madison. It is a small tree and is a few feet from our bedroom and master bath. The tornado that started on Balch was just yards from our home.
We rediscovered the joys of board games. Now we know why they're called board games, you play them when you are bored.
We loved sitting in the car late at night listening to news updates, gazing at the stars through the sunroof.
We were without electricity from Wednesday until the following Monday afternoon.
Our home in Birmingham was also protected.
We learned we had electricity there on Saturday. We "hi-tailed" it down and had a warm bath Saturday and Sunday.
While we were shocked at the damage on the way to Athens, it did not prepare us for things we saw in Birmingham.
While traveling to visit my sister-in-law's family on Sunday, I got a call that Pleasant Grove Police needed a sign language interpreter. WOW! My efforts made me feel good that I could help a bit but so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
We cooked on the gas grill. Man that sausage smelled GREAT cooking in my iron skillet. And you can put your griddle on the gas grill and heat Eggo's. We've had more picnics in the last few days than we have in the last few years.
Corning Ware worked well on a gas grill, too. Oh, the things we learned. Most importantly - we learned we were not prepared. We've heard the weather media cry "Wolf, Wolf" so much that we were desensitized. We learned we will make preparations for the next big event.
I couldn't believe I was burning "decorator" candles but I was grateful I had candles and matches.
Our losses of food were minimal.
All in all, we used our time to reconnect and rest. We also got a few things done that we had been putting off.
Blessed, blessed, blessed - that's us.

Playground Monitor said...

ARGH! Blogger ate my reply. What, what, what did I say?

~ Neat about the solar lights!
~ I can't have a gas or charcoal grill on my patio (fire code) but was lucky to have one at the end of my building, complete w/ picnic table and shade tree.
~ I feel blessed too.
~ How neat Judy's signing skills were helpful. To lose everything is bad enough, but to not be able to communicate would add to the stress.
~ I have a list of survival gear I'm going to buy including a power inverter for the cigarette lighter, a crank/solar emergency radio, better candles (tapers light a room better than a pillar candle), more Sterno, a folding Sterno stove to replace my coffee can, and a battery lantern.
~ Weren't the stars gorgeous????

robertsonreads said...

I so glad you all are ok. In my area, McCalla, last Wednesday morning we got it bad, lots of trees down and power out. However, I was truly blessed to have no damage and my power was on when I came in that evening - 5 pm.

And there is so much devastation everyone that's it is heartbreaking. But what is truly amazing is not just the people here in AL helping each other but the outpouring of help around the US. Yesterday evening I passed a truck that had come in from Illinois - how awesome.

word verification - preti, yes we will be again soon