“Goodnight, Irene, goodnight, Irene. I’ll see you in my dreams . . .” ~ American Folk Song (1932)
Sunday afternoon, post Irene. Sunny and hot.
We were very, very fortunate. Irene blew through here and left downed trees and power lines, crushed cars, upended swimming pools, downed fences and sheds, street flooding, and loss of power for over 800,000 homes.
Even though we live mere feet from an inlet, we did not have any flooding. We lost power for about six hours, with intermediate flickers for a minute or two. We have power, water, and minimal tree damage. Our biggest loss was a picnic table that my former father-in-law built for us in 1988. I count us very, very lucky. No one in the family suffered any major damage, and as far as I know, none of our family friends or acquaintances suffered losses.
Here are some images of the area and the devastation in the wake of the storm (pulled from the wavy.com site) :
“Rainstorm Over the Sea,” John Constable (1824-28, oil on canvas)
“a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand. I think i too have known
autumn too long” ~ e.e. cummings
Well, we’re in the middle of a massive nor’easter here. Heavy rain and strong winds gusting up to 50 mph. Our electricity and cable were knocked out at 7:20 this morning, but the electricity is back now.
Do you want to know how I know exactly when the electricity went out? Well, it’s because I was awake. Well who isn’t awake at 7:20 in the morning, you might ask? Normally, not me because I go to sleep so late, but you see, once again, I have not been to sleep. It’s now going on 11:30 a.m., and I have yet to close my eyes for more than 30 minutes or so. I’ve decided that I’m going to try to stay awake as long as possible so that I might be able to go to sleep later—really go to sleep. Not this minute-by-minute crap.
So I’m writing my post now, hoping that my eyes will start to get heavy soon.
I enjoy listening to a good storm. The wind chimes are playing wildly as the wind whips around and through them. Luckily, the wind gusts aren’t enough to move things about the yard. That’s always scary.
“Only those in tune with nature seem to pick up on the energy in wind. All sorts of things get swept off in the breeze—ghosts, pieces of soul, voices unsung, thoughts repressed, love uncherished, and a thousands galore of spiritual ether . . .” ~ Drew Sirtors
I remember when I used to live in Willoughby Spit a long time ago; we lived on Lea View, the last road in Willoughby, right next to the Chesapeake Bay. Willoughby Spit, as the name implies, is a neighborhood that was actually created during a hurricane. The area, which is a peninsula bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, and Willoughby Bay, is approximately 7.3 miles long. Major storms, including the huge Ash Wednesday storm of 1962, which lasted over three days, further eroded the spit.
Anyway, we (my ex and I and our dog) woke up one morning to a brutal nor’easter—so named because the winds come from the northeast, hitting the East Coast of the Atlantic U.S. and Canada. Nor’easters can cause as much and sometimes more damage than a hurricane, mostly because they can last through several tide cycles, dumping more and more water on land. Depending upon conditions, snow and/or ice can accompany a nor’easter.
What at first appeared to be another storm soon became cause for evacuation. Apparently, the storm caused a gas leak in one of the homes, and the entire neighborhood was evacuated in amphibious half-tracks. By the time we left, the water level on our cars was half-way up the doors. It was pretty incredible and more than a little frightening to watch the water continue to rise unabated.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, but many people traded in their water-logged vehicles. We, however, did not, and the floor panels of my ex’s old Toyota rusted through. One day they were there, and then our feet went through. Unlike some of our neighbors who lived on the waterfront side of the street, we did not end up driving new Saabs and Audis after the storm, but that was okay because we all made it out.
After that storm, whenever a nor’easter was forecast, everyone parked their cars out on the main road.
“No one but Night, with tears on her dark face,
Watches beside me in this windy place.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
So right now, the wind is still at work outside. In our current neighborhood, we do not border the water, but half-way around the block, the houses abut Little Bay. Our neighborhood has flooded, but nothing like what I saw in Willoughby.
Just a bit of trivia: The movie The Perfect Storm is based on the true story of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat that was caught in a nor’easter in October 1991.
Earlier this morning, I spent a bit of time on the phone with my health insurance company (such a pleasant representative . . . not), and then with my pain management doctor’s office. Apparently, my health insurance was cancelled at the end of May, which is why my doctors have not been receiving payment.
Now, how can that be, you ask? Well, I don’t know. I do know that we have been paying my expensive premium each month and that someone was getting the money, but Blue Cross/Blue Shield claims that it wasn’t them. Have I mentioned lately how much I intensely dislike bureaucracies.
As a result, 13 claims have to be reprocessed, and most of those are with my pain management group. Unfortunately for me, I cannot make an appointment until some money changes hands between my provider and my insurer. This really sucks—being at the mercy of individuals who control the fate of my health and welfare. I mean, we make that payment every month by the grace period due date; as it is, I still cannot use my prescription coverage, but you would think that ADP might have wondered why I was still paying them for a policy that had supposedly been cancelled . . . you would think.
“Once more I am the silent one
who came out of the distance
wrapped in cold rain and bells:
I owe to earth’s pure death
the will to sprout.” ~ Pablo Neruda
Think being the operative word here. Anyway, more hurry up and wait, and in the meantime, my back is full of knots and spasming like a crazed Tasmanian Devil. And then there’s that little problem of not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t have to get up and drive anywhere in the morning because I don’t know if that would be possible in my current state.
I do know that I woke up in fits and starts, one time singing (yes, singing . . .), and another time because I was certain that I had heard a rustling sound. I have no idea what I was singing or why, but I do remember scratching my chest a lot. Don’t ask me why I do any of this because I really don’t know. I mean, my personal hygiene is just fine. I think that the scratching that I do in my sleep is probably another reaction to one of my medications, but who knows which one.
One of these days, all of my medications will be straightened out. My insurance will be fixed, and I will have no problems with my doctor’s offices. I will no longer be hounded by social security, and I will be able to pay what I need to pay when I need to pay it . . . one of these days. But until then I suppose I will continue to sleep in multi-minute interludes as opposed to hours as other people are able to do, and I will continue to have wild dreams that cause me to awaken singing, scratching, and screaming.
By the way, Corey can sleep through most of this, and the dogs don’t even wake up any more.
I actually ventured beyond the confines of my bedroom to watch the returns last night (amazing, isn’t it?). We joined fellow volunteers, staffers, and other Democrats in the renovated Granby Theater in downtown Norfolk to watch the returns last night after we left headquarters. I left early, around 7 p.m., with another from out of town who wanted to go to the bash but not alone, while Corey was finishing up some line work at the polls, so we managed to nab a table in a prime spot before the crowd arrived.
It was a nice set up, but I kept getting aggravated because their feed kept breaking up, and whoever was in charge of their video at the theater would just blast loud music instead. I wanted news, no “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” fifty times, but I digress. We watched the states turn blue, the close margins. I was freaking when Virginia looked as if it was going red, but then we realized that they didn’t have any of the info from the south. Even when it became obvious that McCain couldn’t win, couldn’t make the right Electoral combinations, it still wasn’t enough for me. I wanted Virginia. We had to have Virginia. It had become personal.
Then, right when I was ready to give up and go home from utter exhaustion, they called Virginia right around 11 p.m. The room was mayhem. People were cheering, hugging. Strangers were shaking hands. It was just a microcosm of what was going on all around other rooms just like it in Virginia. The ground work had paid off. The phone calls had paid off. All off it, the numerous headquarters, especially throughout Hampton Roads, the strategies, had worked. It was very close, but it had worked.
And the best part of all was that we were a part of it. More later. Peace.