Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008-09-14 and 15

We have had an exciting and somewhat challenging two days! Sunday began normally, with me attending services at St. Luke’s. It was Holy Cross Day in the church year and we celebrated with a special veneration of the cross and the choir singing lovely music from Cesar Franck and Palestrina containing cross-related texts.

The first clue that something was different came when Mick wheeled me back to the car after the service. The wind was quite high, soughing loudly and smacking honeysuckle branches against our car in he parking lot. As we got home, enjoyed our lunch and started watching a movie, the wind kept getting higher and louder. Soon after the titles ran on the film, our power went out.

We still had no idea that things would get really bad. Winds of up to 40 miles per hour had been predicted. That’s not too bad. Since there was no rain or lightning, we confidently expected to be back to normal in a day at most.

The resulting few hours put an end to that expectation! The wind speed rapidly increased to 75 mph. Fortunately it was a straight-line gale, not a tornado, but still the results were disastrous. When the winds finally died down, 75% of the Louisville area, over half a million people all told, were out of power. 80% of the local sub-stations’ transformers were either partially or totally off-line. And we had an immense mess, both in terms of trees, poles and limbs down everywhere and in terms of our coping with an extended power outage. The power company predicts that it will be up to three weeks before we have power again.

We assessed our situation: we have 120 gallons of hot water which will stay fairly warm for a few days. Mick and Gary stuffed our freezers and refrigerators with ice, which will keep our food cold for a few days. However Gary has no way to work for L/L Research at the Inbox and I have no way to work at my writing and editing. And Mick is faced with a stupendous clean-up job for every customer he has. Calls kept coming in for him, as well, from previous customers and friends of customers who also need clean-up. He has begun a waiting list.

Mick’s first priority was to go around to all of his customers and eyeball the situation in each yard. As he went, he cut up the large branches that had fallen in each yard and put them on his trailer. By dusk, he had cleared all the big pieces of storm debris except whole trees and came home happy, knowing he could get right on to his lesser yard clean-ups and mowing or gardening jobs tomorrow.

Mick stacked our unabridged dictionary and three Trivial Pursuit games to my left in the living room and placed our biggest, brightest, battery-powered torch on it so that I could read. He put new batteries in all of our smaller torches and we were set for the night.

This morning, Mick set out early to meet the challenges of his day and came home triumphant at eventide, having accomplished all of his work. How he did this, I do not know, since there was at least an hour of clean-up in every yard! But, he said, most of his people were on an every-other-week mowing schedule and not due to be mown, and this gave him the extra time he needed to do their storm clean-up.

We had agreed that I would obtain cheap motel reservations for this crisis, and by lunchtime I had found conclusively that there was no cheap way to go. The situation is complicated by the Ryder Cup’s being held in Louisville over next weekend. Most of the rooms in town were already booked before the crisis hit. I finally found a room for the three of us and made the reservation, but only for one night, since it was a $180.00 room and clearly, we cannot afford such accommodations for the entire time of our predicted outage here at Camelot.

Then I got the bright idea to wash by hand the dishes that were stacked in the now-useless dishwasher. In the process of doing this simple task, I somehow did serious nerve damage to my neck and the whole left shoulder/arm/wrist/hand process, meaning that I could not do anything which required the use of my left arm, like driving to my mammogram appointment or bathing.

And I was very uncomfortable, since from my upper spine down my shoulder and arm into my wrist and fingers, I was experiencing the nerve-pain equivalent of a toothache. I began the usual protocol for a rheumatoid flare-up, packing in a large amount of cortisone tablets. I will wean down from this dosage over the next few days and hope for the best.

In the evening Gary, Mick and I conferred. We cancelled the motel room, vowing to bloom where we’re planted. Our neighbors next door to the south, the L’s, offered us an extension cord which would run one refrigerator, one light and one computer. We gratefully accepted that boon, vowing to do a complimentary mowing and trimming of their sizeable yard as a thank-you.

Melissa called in with a storm report from Avalon. She is fine and so are the chicks and MG, our farm kitty. However there are multiple trees down there. She used her chain-saw to clear the trees which were across our access road, leaving the downed trees along the creek until tomorrow. She can get out fine now, and is able to cope because her power is solar and was not interrupted. That is a signal blessing of this emergency: the weather is idyllic, sunny and very mild, with lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s. Thank you, Lord!

I am experiencing a good bit of catalyst with the physical discomfort and loss of the ability to raise my left arm. This, only doubled to include both arms, was my situation years ago, for the time of approximately 1988 to 1992. It was in this period that all of my letter tapes were made because I could not use my arms. Mick had to bathe and dress me. We coped, but it was a tough time for us. And here I was, reprising that same degree of disability. And the pain level was acute. My shadow side loomed within me in strength and I could feel the tears, anger and frustration of having to ask for help to do everything come close to the surface.

Fortunately I knew to a nicety just what such indulgence in a private pity-party would do to our little family’s state of mind. There was absolutely no positive outcome for such histrionics. I leaned heavily on my stores of faith and will and remained cheerful and calm. This was my contribution to the crisis! It did not show, but I knew it was just as difficult for me to accomplish as Mick’s and Gary’s considerable efforts to cope with our situation were for them.

As we offered the Gaia Meditation, with me praying the closing prayer, we knew with relief that the worst was over. We could see our way to thrive for the duration of this extended power outage. Our mood was far lighter than at the beginning of this crisis. We are now facing cold showers and meals from the gas cook-top, but we are clean and fed.

And we have that one blessed light! Gary and I both stayed up a bit after our usual lights-out, enjoying the ability to read under the light! We eventually got sleepy, lit our torches and paddled off to our beds with thankfulness.

As to when this entry is posted, it depends on the Ro Man. He usually visits on a Tuesday night. Since he, too, is out of power and there is a severe shortage of gas her locally, he may not decide to come. And Jenny Traveller is not set up for a phone hook-up. She is set for phone connection to the internet from out of state, as I use the setting only in Nebraska, usually, when we are visiting Mom McCarty. I’ve left “help please” messages on his phones and have hopes of getting back on line with dial-up by the end of the day.