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After the Storm

All the sections on the floor. Chris standing and waiting for me to get started.

We’re still playing catch-up after the late winter hurricane that hit our area. Personally, I think we were lucky. There are tons of trees lying on houses. One woman had a tree fall on her head. The only thing that happened at our house — mostly a huge outburst — was related to our fence. Almost every single panel fell down. The posts stayed put, so that was a plus. My husband and I put everything back together. It was a bonding experience! And I am proud to say that there was no yelling or attitude. I can’t say the same for the day before, though, when we lost the lights and an outdoor spigot. When the fence blew down it took the spigot with it. We discovered that at the height of the storm when we went out to try and fix the fence. (Stupid idea.) And no, I wasn’t calm.

Slipping and sliding — and in my case falling on my knee and forearm — we went outside to try and assess the damage. There is a six-foot plume of water shooting out of our house. Chris, hoping to stanch the flooding, crawled under the house to turn the water off. It’s a dark, narrow crawlspace. Very scary. I stayed outside in the howling wind and driving rain. And yes, there was screaming and whining. I was terrified. Terrified that something would happen to one or both of us. Terrified we wouldn’t be able to turn the water off. Terrified that we’d leave those two little girls without someone to raise them. So yes, I screamed. A lot. Like, as Chris would tell me later, a crazy person. Actually, I think he may have added an adjective at the beginning that rhymes with “trucking.” So here he is trying to ask me, from under the house, if I can see if the water is moving. (He’s trying to shake pipes to identify which was which.) All I can see is windblown water spraying everywhere. And I panic, telling him to PLEASE come out. PLEASE. We’ll call someone, I promise. I am going inside, I warn. I am scared, I cry. I don’t remember much else because I was truly losing it. I do remember following his direction to go inside and turn a handle in the downstairs guest bedroom. Thankfully, his hunch was right. That valve controlled the spigot. Water off. Calamity averted.

When we got inside, though, I was still a madwoman. Really. We’re both soaking wet. As wet as if we had been thrown into a pool fully clothed. We’re both filthy. We’re both cold. And I lost it crying. All I could think of was how terrible it would have been if one of us got hit by a branch or a downed wire or a flying object. (Just to give you some perspective: Big Girl’s Step 2 Welcome Home playhouse was lifted into the air, smashed through one of the fence panels, and ended up on our front lawn. It weighs 188 pounds, according to Amazon.) And that took me back to my childhood when my dad left for work and never came home.

I calmed down eventually. I explained to Big Girl that I was very scared and lost control. That I was okay and not to worry. That she was safe. We were all safe. We put the kids to bed. Then Chris and I played Rummikub by candlelight. I finished reading my book club book, The Help. And then we went to sleep. All of us piled into the den since — naturally — I was afraid of the large trees surrounding my home. I figured if they fell we would escape harm if we were on the first floor. And the next day I redeemed myself by helping to fix the fence. Was it my best moment? No, but we made it through that storm, right?

How was your weekend? Hope it was less eventful than mine!

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