Taking care of business.
When we got home it was almost dark.
I think I missed my bed the most. I can’t sleep on hotel beds; they are so different from my California King wave-less mattress that a comparison wouldn’t do any justice. It’s like comparing banana slugs to coconuts, there is not point of reference. I would have dreamed of my bed if I could have dreamed at all. Yes my bed at home is that good.
So we are tired and grumpy after driving all day and stiff from sitting in the same position for the last 300 miles, and what is greeting us when we get home? We knew, on a logical level, that the power has been off since Thursday, but it really doesn’t hit home until we realized that we some ‘Leftovers’ from Monday inside the fridge. The leftover salad and chicken seemed to conspire together and recruit the bacon and onions into revolting. And revolting they were. Clean up started in the vegetable drawers, and moved upwards. At first cleaning from bottom to top sounds backwards, but the smell is what we were attacking. The freezer was quite colorful, all the ice cream seemed to seek level through the popsicles and form puddles on a pizza box. Well sometimes it good to take advantage of misfortune to do a real through cleaning. So clean we did.
The next chore was to get some hot water. I knew that the natural gas would be an issue because of the damage to the other houses. I had the foresight to turn off the gas going into our house, so if there were any pressure problems our appliances wouldn’t suffer. Anyway, I needed to get the water heater pilot lit so I started the hunt for a match. I quit smoking a good while back and don’t carry a lighter or matches anymore. I am however a pyrotechnicion and should have no excuse for not having some form of fire. I do I have a torch that I use to light fireworks. It’s tough to light a pilot light with a butane torch, so I found a Popsicle stick grabbed my torch and went down stairs to light the pilot. That’s when I found that the new water heater I installed less than a year ago has a button to push to light the pilot. I didn’t need a match. It is times like these that I have come to know the frosty bite of dementia. In a dozen or so years I won’t be able to find the floor.
Since the power is on, and hot water is available, it is time for a nice hot bath to relax my weary bones. I also need a nice beer to go along it. I found that there were two bottles of Bitch Creek left in the fridge in the garage. Mmmmm Bitch Creek. No paddle needed when you’re up this creek.
By the time we managed to pick up the trash that was blown in to the yard, take out the trash, inspect the damage to my lovely wife’s flowers, replace the windshield on my sons car, restock the fridge, work ten hour days, start summer classes in college, and generally get our shit together the weekend was here.
We spend Saturday with my son’s marching band and assorted band parents cleaning up a designated area of tornado damage in a neighborhood that was marginally destroyed. This weekend was the first time the community really had the chance to get together and clean up the town. It took over a week to assess the damages. Much like after a car wreck, the insurance company’s have to assess if some body work is called for or is it a total. Houses and businesses were marked with spray paint on the front door, if they had a door left, with an X of one of three colors. Green, if the house is livable and not too damaged. Orange if it is ok to enter but not livable and red if it’s a total. We were working in an orange neighborhood. We started early in the morning to avoid the heat. It is difficult to imaging how much crap gets tossed about until its time to pick it all up. I made about four trips to the slash pile in my RFT and one trip to the town dump and I didn’t feel like I made a dent. Luckily for our little town I wasn’t alone. It seemed that just about everyone in town showed up to help out with the cleanup. There were a couple of dozen people from the WHS marching band, the Optimists club, The Rotary club, Church groups, so many different groups I lost count. There were traffic jams getting to the slash pile, roads were filled with people and trucks, everyone seemed to have the same energetic work attitude, like they finally had a chance to help and make things right. It was an exhausting day. It was good to see everyone pulling together and cleaning up the mess.
Then FEMA showed up…..