Friday, September 5, 2008

Gustav – Day 1 (Afternoon)

Of course, right after eating our nice meal, we lost power while loading the dishwasher. So we had a stack of dishes to do the old fashioned way. I was surprised to lose power so early in the storm. We still have water and gas. The gas stove won’t light automatically but we have a separate lighter for it.

Wind and rain increased steadily and peaked about 2 to 3 o’clock. We watched as three new trees in the back yard and one in the front were slowly but surely pushed over by the wind. These trees were part of the landscaping for our new house and had only those four years to establish a root system. I’m hoping that we can “un-lean” them and hold them in place with ropes and stakes.

In addition to the trees, a downcomer from the gutters blew off. That seems to be the extent of our damage. We are very fortunate. A quick look up and down our street indicates that most of our neighbors fared about the same.

My mother and sister as well as my son-in-law’s family – all on the Mississippi Gulf Coast -- came through Gustav without damage and with electric power.

I cranked up the generator about 5 o’clock and it has been running ever since. A light drizzle rain was still falling but the generator is sort of protected from it. First we connected the generator to our freezer and a small window air conditioner as well as several lights and fans. After a few hours, I switched the power from the freezer to the refrigerator. The generator will be turned off during the night.

The TV cable system is down. We’ve watched a bit of the news on portable TVs and listened to the news on the radio. It seems that Baton Rouge had more damage than I expected – especially loss of power. There is a curfew on driving until tomorrow morning.

Our old fashioned landline telephone still works but the wireless units do not. I could connect the wireless base unit to the generator but there is no real need to do so. Our cell phones work fine and I’m even receiving email via my BlackJack.

My son did a neat little trick. We had about a dozen solar powered yard lights scattered around the landscaping. He took those little lights, recharged all the batteries before the storm and now has them scattered around inside the house. Just that little bit of light really helps in getting around and they will stay on for hours.

Tomorrow I’ll get up early and crank up the generator again – kind of like going out for firewood and building the breakfast fire, I suppose. Of course, you’re supposed to gather the firewood the day before and my gasoline cans are indeed full.

I’m typing this blog entry by the light of a small flashlight and the glow of my notebook computer knowing that it can’t be posted for a while but also wanting to get these thoughts down while in the mood.

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