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Monday, May 30, 2011

Half-masted, and there's a woman in the girls' bathroom

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I've added these pics from our drive into town where we saw this.
It looks as though the top of the spruce tree
was broken off by wind and fell on the flag
that was up for Memorial Day, 
then the treetop was blown up against the house.
I'd say both the flag pole and the tree are "half-masted".



Power winds of 80 mph tore 100-year-old maple trees out of the ground or broke them at the base last evening while we were shopping at Trader Joe's an hour from home. The drive home was safe, but the fields, driveways and roads were littered with fifty-foot trees and branches. Anxiety built as we approached the farm, wondering what we would find. But thankfully just one maple branch lay on the driveway, and sticks around the yard.

Power is out, however, until late Wednesday Thursday, because apparently a power station was hit. So we have to find alternate ways to wash (we have a well, which uses an electric pump), cook and power up devices like cell phones, laptops and the internet air card. The bottom photo is where I took a sponge bath and washed my hair this morning after working at home in the garden and getting dirt in my finger and toenails: the girls' bathroom at Don's elementary school.

The happy list:
  • No one in the state of Michigan was seriously injured in this rush of storms, though around 100,000 homes are without power.
  • Our home was not damaged, and there was little to clean up.
  • Having laptops so we could get online last evening and find out the estimated time to power restoration and be in touch with family and friends.
  • Being clean and getting my hair washed before going back to work tomorrow (today's a holiday here: Memorial Day, a memorable one).
  • There's power at work (yes, this is good, there is much to catch up on after spring term).
  • It's finally getting warm today, in fact HOT, around 90°F (32°C), but ha, no AC
  • Peter and Andrea are coming over to play corn hole to celebrate the holiday this afternoon, and they're bringing sushi; beer is chilling on ice in the cooler at home while I finish up this post at a fourth grader's desk.
  • A camp stove with propane gas for meals the next couple of days.
  • No doubt more will float in on the hot breeze . . . 

I hope you are safe and enjoying Memorial Day if you are in the U.S., and a normal Monday everywhere else.
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    66 comments:

    Maureen said...

    Wishing everyone there a quick restoration of power.

    Friko said...

    Glad you and everybody else are safe.

    Apart from that, have an adventure!

    We are far too spoilt by our convenient lives, it does us no harm to be reminded occasionally of how things might be very different.

    California Girl said...

    You're blessed. A few days w/o power will be Like a camping trip.

    Terresa said...

    Trader Joe's - I love that store! Went there just the other day for their dark chocolate cookies (forget the name but my tub is almost gone!!).

    It's been windy as the dickens lately here too, every end of May/beginning of June the plague of wind hits us, and hard. (sigh)

    Happy Memorial Day, we're celebrating that here in addition to other events, all good.

    The Bug said...

    I'm glad you're well & safe. We had large hail last week, but only lost power for a couple of hours & had minimal damage to our house. Definitely thankful.

    hedgewitch said...

    There's nothing like being without power to make you appreciate technology. Hope your holiday is nonetheless enjoyable, as it sounds to be.

    The Solitary Walker said...

    Fancy, till now the only storm we'd heard about over here was Cheryl Cole being ousted from the X Factor ...

    Cooking by camping stove! Cool.

    who said...

    You might have to wait for your neighbors to help you remove the logs that fell from the tree breaking in the wind. If you don't get enough friends to help you will just end up wasting an eternity trying, but getting nothing done which is effectively stopping the clock that measures time spent being productive.

    In other words, it's like that prairie dog blog clock blocking today's game of corn hole.

    who said...

    you know the folks are hard core where you live when they fly their State flag on the pole along with their Country's

    Oliag said...

    The weather in this nation has been so extreme lately that I am afraid that your stormy weather never even made the news here...even though the Red Sox were playing in Detroit! Glad everyone is safe and sound... I always find it an adventure to live without power for a while...hope you do too:)

    The Broad said...

    I'm so glad to have discovered your blog! I'm in the US for another week -- visiting my Mom in Connnecticut for another week. Goodness me but the mid-west has had a terrible time of it and my heart goes out to all of you fellow countrymen and women. I've lived in Europe for over 30 years now and such violent storms though not completely unheard of are very rare.

    By the way today is a holiday in the UK as well -- it used to be called 'Whit' weekend after Whitsunday, but is now known as the awsome 'Late May Bank Holiday Monday'! This year is so cold my husband has had to turn the central heating back on!

    missing moments said...

    We lose power every now and then. Ugh! Thanks goodness for a charged laptap! Glad you are all safe ... sushi ... yum!!!

    rosaria said...

    You were lucky! So much destruction out there for so many people! Hope everything returns to normal soon.

    steven said...

    i am so pleased that you're safe. beer in the cooler. books. settle back and enjoy some peacefullness. steven

    freefalling said...

    As I read your post speaking of Memorial Day, playing on the tv is a live press conference with our chief defence man speaking of two Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday.
    War sucks.

    Miss Jane said...

    Enjoy the Sushi and Beer and Corn Hole! Glad you are well.

    ds said...

    By now you are well into Corn Hole, beer, and sushi. Happy Memorial Day. I am glad that there was so little destruction around you (it seems somehow right for this day that although the flag pole was bent it did not break & Old Glory never touched the ground), and I hope that you get your power back SOON!

    erin said...

    i'm relieved you are all well and fine. and so i can play in these feelings that i have - isn't it fun to have your regular days pressed upon like this - universally so? isn't it like you and those around you who are forced to live differently share a joke or secret?

    there was a provincial wide power outtage here a few years ago. everything stopped for a good 24 hours. power. fuel. commerce. everything. and i'll be damned, neighbours emptied their houses and met in the streets. it almost felt like...hope.

    xo
    erin

    Babs-beetle said...

    Glad you are all safe, and at least had no damage. Sometimes we can find an amount of fun in these times. A break from the routine :)

    ellen abbott said...

    I too am glad you escaped damage. I understand about the camping out style of conducting your life. we get hurricanes down here that do the same type of damage.

    Margaret said...

    !! Crazy stuff, this weather as of late! One never knows what one will find in a public bathroom - driving back from Asheville today, I listened to a lady taking a cell phony call in the toilet stall - it was a prayer request. She said she would start praying immediately. LOL Sounds like you had a wonderful Memorial Day despite all the craziness!

    C.M. Jackson said...

    crazy weather---happy to hear that you and yours are well--enjoy the adventure--c

    Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

    Crazy weather all around. Living in the land of hurricanes we often have extended power outages. The rule is to have ice in the freezer, water, beer and propane. You can live high on the hog for about 3 or 4 days, eating all the shrimp and seafood out of the freezer, having block parties... It recalls some fine memories.

    (Sure hope we don't go through one this year -- hah!)

    Barb said...

    Sounds as though you can party even without power - my kind of person! Glad all will be well after cleanup.

    rauf said...

    we are quite used to power shut down Ruth, i am quite comfortable wearing clothes soaked in sweat, i like it and i keep drinking water, clean drinking water is a luxury too, specially in India. But in colder regions power is vital. A few years ago i think i suggested a university training programme for a minimum three months where students live without comforts and learn to survive without power and basic amenities, and learn to grow their own food.

    You were homeless for a day Ruth, but you had hopes to return home soon. But there are displaced homeless people, driven by natural disasters or war, who live without hopes and they have nowhere to go.

    i think this is a wake up call.

    A history of 100 years occupies one paragraph. In the next chapter there are no trees, no water, no food. And there is no one to write history in the chapter after next.

    Brendan said...

    To every catastrophe, a gratitude list like this should be added. How can we despair, when there are the simplest of comforts to be grateful for? - Brendan

    Deborah said...

    Ruth, that title was totally irresistible! No wonder good copywriters are worth their weight in newsprint.

    Over here, the weather extremes have resulted in the hottest weather in over 100 years, and all of France is officially in a drought situation. But when I read about what's happened in Joplin, I feel we have little to complain about. It's very good that you were spared such an extreme storm - and that you had a washroom to go to!

    Pat said...

    Glad you are safe. These storms have been wicked across the US!

    Loring Wirbel said...

    Yikes! But kinda fun, huh? We've been having all these 60-mph days, but we think, heck, it's not Arkansas or Missouri or Alabama or or OR!

    Vagabonde said...

    I am sorry you had to go through all this – it’s not fun. We have had several trees fall in our yard – one fell on my husband’s pick-up truck and smashed it flat like in a Disney cartoon then we had no electricity for a week – had to throw everything out of the fridge and freezer as it was in the high 90s. I never get used to these storms. Nature can be so lovely but then it shows us its strength in a tsunami, a tornado, earthquake, etc. and we are left dazed as in a war. On another note I had not realized how long Michigan was. I was thinking about driving from Columbus, OH to a place in Michigan and saw that it would take at least 9 hours! So I’ll wait until I can get a cheap flight there. I saw your map of your cycling – that is really up north, but also that is a long time on a bicycle – you must have been quite sore.

    Ruth said...

    Thanks, Maureen. After 48 hours the power was restored last evening (Tues. 5/31) at 8pm, not when estimated Thursday at 11:30pm. We were giddy when it came on!

    Ruth said...

    Thank you, Friko. I was just getting into the groove when the power came on last night. But I wasn't disappointed, far from it. While I was carrying the pan from the camp stove to the bathtub bowl for a sponge bath I thought about all the people who have done that through history for someone's bath.

    Ruth said...

    California Girl, when the house started looking like the inside of a tent with stuff strewn about, I knew we were camping.

    Kamana said...

    glad you are safe. i am amazed at the flag pole.

    Ruth said...

    Terresa, every time I go to Trader Joe's I find out someone's favorite item that I never heard of. Now I've heard yours, and we're not even in the checkout line!

    I wonder if your winds are the same Santa Ana winds we used to get in L.A. (pronounced santana). They were hot and wild.

    Hope you had a great long weekend of fun and family.

    Ruth said...

    Dana, I remember seeing your hail and being grateful you didn't have much damage. I am starting to sound like an old geezer because I keep saying 'I've never seen a spring like this one.'

    Ruth said...

    Hedgewitch, thanks. Funny how these things become great stories looking back, and you're sorta glad they happened. This was definitely a memorable Memorial Day.

    Ruth said...

    Robert, I heard someone talking about that X Factor thing somewhere the other day myself . . .

    Morning coffee: water heated on camp stove, French press, et voilà!

    Ruth said...

    Dusti, thankfully we didn't have any big limbs down this time, though we did a few years ago, and luckily we had about five big burly lumberjack types visiting for a family reunion, and they made short work of that tree across the driveway!

    Prairie dogs, corn hole and the state flag . . . we sound downright homey!

    Ruth said...

    Oliag, apparently it was quite isolated, so I'm not surprised you didn't hear about it, though I did hear Battle Creek, MI mentioned on NPR about it. Last evening before power was restored there were just 7,000 of us households that had been without it that long. And yes, we "enjoyed" our adventure, though we were very giddy when power came back last night. :-)

    Ruth said...

    Hello and welcome to The Broad from abroad! I did not know there is a bank holiday the same day as our Memorial Day (and I may forget next year). We went from very chilly days to suddenly hot summer this week, which is of course the cause of these terrible storms. Such times! I wish you happy travels back home.

    Ruth said...

    Thanks, Reena, it was fun while it lasted, ha. We're awfully fortunate, and it's good to be reminded of what we have, and what someone has done creating this infrastructure for us.

    Peter said...

    Well, here it was just a normal Monday. Climate-wise, nothing violent really on this side of the Atlantic, but the issue here is the lack of rain. We have had full summer and not a drop of rain in May; nice for tourist buisness, but terrible for the agriculture!

    Ruth said...

    Rosaria, you can't help but remember images from the television in Joplin and elsewhere when these things happen. Their lives are still torn apart, it's terrible.

    Ruth said...

    Thanks, Steven. I was reading about Napolean scanning the Russian troops with a somber look on his face in War & Peace by the light of the front window last evening when the hum of power returned. I dropped the book in a flash and began celebrating by putting the camp stove away.

    Ruth said...

    Letty, yes. Yesterday I heard an archived interview with Kurt Vonnegut about his life's work against the stupidity of war, and how WWI was the beginning of the end of civilization, a war your Australian soldiers fought and were lost at Gallipoli. He wondered if we would ever have our civilization restored. I wonder too. A more important question than power being restored, and one that can't as readily be fixed.

    Ruth said...

    Thank you, Miss Jane. We were fortunate to play and frolic in such precarious times.

    Ruth said...

    DS, thank you, and your wish was our command apparently, as we got it back much sooner than expected. Yes, I was quite taken with that bent flag pole and its metaphors.

    Ruth said...

    Thank you, Erin. It really was a shift of presence I felt, and yes, we turned to one another here more, and talked more, and shared. Our neighbor was pulling a branch down that was broken, and it swung around and hit him in the back, breaking a couple of ribs. He should have waited for help, but we didn't know about it. We got to thinking about what life would have been like had he been a farmer 100 years ago, and how Don or Peter would have had to help him farm his land while maintaining our own. It's just what you did. But we don't have to rely on one another the same now. You're right, this really connects with hope. Funny how things like connection can get stronger in harder times.

    Ruth said...

    Thanks, Babs. Definitely a break and a wake-up. I'm glad it's over though. :-)

    Ruth said...

    Ellen, thanks so much. Yes, I was thinking about you folks in TX and FL and how often you have to face weathery onslaughts.

    Ruth said...

    Margaret, ha! The places we hear people talking, eh? Be safe down there. Let's hope we're past the worst of it.

    Ruth said...

    Hi, C.M., thanks a bunch.

    Ruth said...

    Genie, that's a great way of looking at it, license to party! I was annoyed with myself that I didn't have water at hand the way we usually do, had to run out to the store Monday morning, where thankfully they were stocked and had power from a generator.

    Ruth said...

    Barb, we used to be big campers, so it comes pretty easily once we adjust. Thanks so much.

    Ruth said...

    rauf, I had just talked about your idea for summer programs for young people to learn survival with Don before you commented! It's a brilliant idea. We may have to do it out of necessity one of these days, if the ways of the world keep going as they are.

    I also thought of you immediately when the power went out, because of your way of life in Chennai. As you always say, humans adjust (especially Indians).

    Ruth said...

    Brendan, our lives are replete with good things that sometimes need others to be cleared away before noticing them afresh.

    Ruth said...

    Deborah, the title was going to be even more titillating: "There's a dirty woman in the girls' bathroom" but I decided against it. :-)

    The images of Joplin, and too many others this spring, are in my eyes, and we can only be grateful not to face that.

    I have heard about the lack of rain there in Europe, it's so tough. As Peter says, it's nice for tourism, but bad for farmers. I will do a rain dance for you, I only hope it won't misfire and bring us more rain, which has prevented farmers from planting. If only we could transport it to France.

    Ruth said...

    Pat, thanks so much. You keep safe in your traveling home now, and don't take any chances.

    Ruth said...

    Loring, there is nothing like the greater tragedies to make us grateful for our own lot, however much it tests our character. Keep the homestead battened down!

    Ruth said...

    Vagabonde, you had many times in early spring when you had to take care from tornadoes. I did not realize your husband lost his truck and that you had so many downed trees. It's a lot of work to clean up, but thankfully you and your husband were not injured, but I'm sorry he lost his truck.

    Yes, Michigan is big. I do hope you will look me up if you will be close.

    Ruth said...

    Kamana, thank you. At first I thought the flag pole was bent in the wind. I was taking photos of it, then Don noticed from where he was sitting in the car that the whole top of the tree was off and must have bent the pole.

    Ruth said...

    Peter, rain in Paris would be like the scaffolding to clean the Notre Dame one year I was there: bad for tourists and pictures but good for cleaning things up and replenishing the ground. I hope you get rain soon.

    Susan said...

    Those winds can get pretty crazy sometimes! So glad you're both alright. Love your happy list! :)

    Jeanie said...

    Yikes. So close and yet so far away in terms of experience. I hunkered down in the basement during the tornado warnings and storm; then the rains came and apparently the basement window isn't well sealed, because it was running down the wall like a wall fountain in a cheap Vegas hotel. I was going through flannel sheets and dirty laundry, trying to stuff it up, faster than my spin cycle could handle the wet ones. Fortunately I was down there, so no harm done. Glad you didn't have damage, but oh -- those trees!

    Ginnie said...

    This is why I need to stop by at least YOUR blog more than once a week, sister! I had no idea you were going through all this till just now. Sigh.

    I remember the frustrating days in Atlanta when the internet was out (even though the electricity was on) and how it would really throw me for a loop. Those were often days when my only contact with the outside world was via my laptop. I assume everything is now back to order for you and stays that way for a long time to come!