Our power went out around 4 pm on Friday. The storm came on hard around midnight. We had the kids bedded down in a half bath with no windows. They slept through it. Ruth and I kept watch in the living room, occasionally sleeping a little. The room is full of windows. We did it to be close to the kids.
I remember the raw fear of being awake through the night for Hurricane Elena in Pensacola back in the mid-eighties. This was better and worse. Better because I had experienced severe weather before and didn’t face the unknown. Worse because this storm just went on and on for hours. I kept wondering when the assault would compound into serious damage to the house. Kept waiting for that shower of broken glass.
At about 3 a.m., I realized water was blowing in under the back door. Didn’t seem to be enough to worry about. By 6 a.m. it was beginning to accumulate somewhat impressively. We stuffed towels and saran wrap under the door before my wife decided one of us needed to go in the backyard and remove leaves from the path of drainage from the porch. I put on a hard hat and went out into the storm, largely to keep her from doing it.
At first, it was a little thrilling. The wind gusting hard. Rain hitting like b-b’s. I scooped wet leaves. Then I looked up in the pale blue light of early dawn. The landscape of my backyard was different, but I couldn’t quite make out why. In the space of seconds, I realized most of my wooden fence was missing and that a whole section of it was hanging precariously from another section. In other parts, the boards had simply exploded. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was not a safe place at all.
The storm has passed and I’m now happily watching the NFL at a friend’s house that amazingly has power. I’m grateful, since my house has become hot, dark, and BORING for children. My two little ones were beginning to act out The Lord of the Flies.