17.9.08

After the Storm

The morning after in our backyard

Houston, Tuesday September 16th, 2008

It takes so little to disrupt the flow of daily life. I think we have a tendency to consider only the major occurrences as existence disruptors, a sudden death, ill health, these kinds of events. And of course they do, they disrupt everything in one fell swoop but the small things? They too can unbalance life in a major way. They start out like little dominoes all lined up until one falls. And that’s all it takes sometimes… one little domino falling in a certain way…

We came through Ike in great shape. I’ll tell you that right off the bat so you won’t wonder any longer. The structure of our home suffered no damage and that was great luck considering the number of trees we have on our property. The day after Ike hit, we ventured out on the car. Curiosity prompting us to weave through the downed trunks and torn branches that chaotically redrew the landscape of our once manicured neighborhood. We didn’t have to go far to see the caved-in roofs of houses, the massive oaks several meters tall that had sliced through ceilings like so much butter under a knife. There were such a large number of homes in similar or worse shape that, I marveled yet again at how unscathed our own property was by comparison.

The night of the hurricane, we watched the news almost until midnight. Anderson Cooper waited in front of the CNN cameras for the windows of skyscrapers in downtown Houston to start shattering. In Galveston we saw the wind do its hurricane-best to suck all it could into the violent sea. There came a point however when the subtle shift from spectator to participant overtook us, when the hissing of the air grew very loud and the branches outside our windows swayed in such frenzied patterns that we had no desire to watch what was happening to others because, those others were ourselves.

Lying together, my husband and I cocooned our son until uneasy sleep extinguished the adrenaline rush of the previous hours. While waiting for Ike to arrive, we had exhausted ourselves beyond what our bodies could sustain and so we slept until the electricity went, taking away the coolness of our home, eliminating that final padding of machine made sound so that all the dissonance that was Ike in its fury, could take center stage.

M found me shining my flashlight out the windows of our master bedroom, captivated by the train wreck that was unfolding. “Move away from the windows!” And I minded his warning only to see him ignore it himself. It was hard not to watch. I daresay you would not have been able to move away either. Nature in a passion commands an audience, and we obliged her by staying. For the rest of the night in between short sleeps, we kept vigil around the rooms of our home to better take in the tableaus that Ike had set. It was gleeful destruction; a damaging hand that fell determinedly, intent on leaving its mark before the morning could come, all leaden and pale, to show what the darkness had hidden. About a third of our trees had fallen in patterns that had wrecked every inch of our half acre yard but that like dominos set in just a certain way, had mercifully, incredibly, spared us.

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My husband is doing me the enormous favor of posting this from his workplace. As yet, I have no Internet access from our home. For that reason, I include neither photographs nor links here but will add them later when I can. When you all read this, it will already be the 17th of September. Today is the birthday of my beloved cousin Ayleen (Féliz Cumple mi niña), my good friend Ron's - Happy Birthday Ron! and MINE! Yes, I turn 39 having survived my first hurricane. May it be the last one I have to ever experience… I mean the hurricane, not the 39. I’d stay 39 forever if I could.

Until next I post, I trust you all find yourselves well and before I go, I’d like to say thank you to my fellow bloggers and friends Nona, Thomas, Ron, Michel, Who’s B, Dr. Jay, Chesca, Barb, Andy, Robyn and Dori. Also to Beverly who is not yet a blogger, though we mean to rectify that. Thank you guys for thinking about me and mine. Finally, to Dr. Joseph Stirt, whom you will find at bookofjoe, a most sincere thank you for single-handedly keeping my blog statistics growing at a gigantic pace EVEN without my posting a thing. I owe you much Joe…

Goodnight from here in Houston.

Milena

18 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday!!!

    I'm so glad to hear you made it through the storm without any major catastrophes.

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  2. You talk of disruptions to life. But this IS life... the wonderful... the terrible... love, joy, pain, and sorrow. We need to make the most out of the love and joy, and not wallow in the pain and sorrow or be mesmerized by the tedious.

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  3. Happy shared birthday! (Now if only you would let me share your age.) Even though I have 9 years on you, it never occurred to me to brave out a hurricane as a means for marking the special day. Suddenly, all my celebrations seem so inconsequential in comparison.
    I'm glad that you and yours are alive and unscathed.

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  4. HAPPY, HAPPY birthday! I am definitely happy to celebrate the day that youwere born. I'm so glad you're on this planet with me, Milena :)

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  5. Happy Birthday Milena! You can stay 39 forever if you wish. After all, age is nothing more than a state of mind. I'm so glad to hear that your family and home came through the hurricane with so little disruption. And as always, I'm awe-struck at your talent for word craft.

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  6. Happy Birthday! Sorry about the devastation in your neighborhood and town - I remember buttoning down for hurricanes when we lived in GA, but we never got hit with anything worse than rain. Still, the waiting and wondering seem endless. I can't imagine what it feels like on this side of a storm. I hope your power and internet and way of life are restored soon. Our prayers are with you!

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  7. Happy Birthday! So glad you are basically okay. Between your birthday and anniversary, you get to pick any month of your choosing for real celebrating, because Ike wasn't a great party host.

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  8. ahhh, finally. I've been waiting to see signs of life from you Milena! I am so happy that you escaped with nary a scratch, and, I must agree a hurricane is an amazing way to bring in a birthday!

    Happy, happy birthday! May your year be filled with tranquil blue skies, gentle breezes and the loving embrace of your family.

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  9. I'm reading your post as the first rays of sunshine in days shine through my (dirty) windows!!! How appropriate... so glad all is well and your 39th will never be forgotten... I can't remember anything half as memorable about my 39th. Take care of yourself and family.

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  10. Now you must follow Jack Benny's example and stay 39 forever. Which shouldn't be hard to do -- I know your type, when you're 89 you'll still look 39.
    It would take lots more than a hurricane to bring you down, I think, but let's not test out my theory with any more of them. Very glad you & family are fine. Stay that way.

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  11. Happy birthday Milena.
    I actually muttered a prayer for you while Ike was happening,
    I am glad you are all well.
    You described your experience so beautifully it made me forget it was a natural disaster.

    Love that your husband posted this for you.
    Great guy.
    And at 39--life is just beginning.

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  12. Robyn: Thank you ever so much. Yes we did. Thank goodness. And thank you for wishing us well.

    Randall: Just so and you are right. Thank you for the reminder.

    Ron: And to you! I know, I know, you shall never be able to top my way of doing things. Hey, even when I don't try to engineer events, they rearrange themselves to make it as memorable as can be for me.
    And thank you Ron. I'm ever so glad to be unscathed myself.

    Barb: You always know exactly what to say. You honor me deeply and I thank you for your kind words. I'm happy I'm in this world with you too. You have a way of restoring my faith in human kind just by being you.

    Melissa: I savored that compliment like you cannot imagine simply because it was you who uttered it and, if anybody is awestruck at word craft that would be ME as regards YOU. Thank you again. Off to visit your blog in a bit. I've missed reading you.

    Reluctant Farm Chik: Hi!!! Oh you are so nice. Thank you for thinking of me. You are not going to believe this but I thought so much of your lovely photo with the pond and the twilight sky right before Ike hit. I did. I kept visualizing it and saying in my head "this is what I want Ike to turn into... this is what Ike will fizzle into" Of course it didn't help but hey, I tried and I could not have chosen a better image than that which you took. As you can see, my internet has been restored but we are still without power. They are saying Tuesday of next week. I don't think I can bear it a bit longer to be truthful. Today makes a week that we have been without lights. I'm writing to you via candlelight by the way.

    Deb: I choose November (we'll be taking a vacation then) and you are so very right! I deserve a celebration big time after this. Thank you for your kind words and for worrying about me.

    Nona dear: Because YOU say it, it will become so. Thank you. I couldn't ask for anything more than that.

    Michel: Appropriate indeed. I'm trying Michel, I'm trying. I'm getting testy about the electricity factor but otherwise, I think I've been managing fairly well in taking care of the kid and the husband. And listen, pray for unmemorable. This kind of memorableness I could most certainly do without.

    Bev: Too kind, too kind. Unfortunately, I'm showing my age. I've been thinking of going in for an overhaul but I know how you will berate me about that and so maybe I won't. I'll just have to Jack Benny myself. We will! Stay that way! God willing! Always!!!

    Chesky baby: Your prayer was heard. Those trees didn't fall on us because of you. Aren't you a dear (that's a totally rhetorical question because of course you are).

    I know. Isn't he great. Never lost his temper with me as I guided him to the posting process. The guy's a saint and I don't deserve him.

    You think? I was feeling kinda depressed about the nearly 40 thing but if you say so, I'll take your word for it.

    Fwemails: Thank you. There's nothing like your blog to cheer me up by the way. I appreciate you stopping by.

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  13. Wow! An amazing experience - if not frightening. I'm sure you have a bit of clean up, but I'm glad your house came out ok.

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  14. Milena, happy, happy birthday! I wish you many more and better weather! What an incredible picture, thank God the tree fell there and not on the house, glad you are all safe and sound.

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  15. Happy belated birthday! :-) I am so glad that you and your family are safe after Ike. Hugs to you. :-)

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  16. birthday
    the beatles
    Composição: Lennon / McCartney

    They say it's your birthday
    It's my birthday too, yea
    They say it's your birthday
    We're gonna have a good time
    I'm glad it's your birthday
    Happy birthday to youBridge--Yes we're going to a party, party
    Yes we're going to a party, party
    Yes we're going to a party, party
    I would like you to dance (Birthday)
    Take cha cha cha chance (Birthday)
    I would like you to dance (Birthday)
    Oh, yea(Repeat Bridge)They say it's your birthday
    It's my birthday too, yea
    They say it's your birthday
    We're gonna have a good time
    I'm glad it's your birthday
    Happy Birthday to you



    birthday/Aniversário (tradução Português)
    the beatles

    Você disse que é seu aniversário
    É o meu aniversário também, sim
    Eles disseram que é seu aniversário
    Nós teremos um ótimo dia
    Eu estou alegre por ser seu aniversário
    Feliz aniversário para você

    Sim, nós vamos pra festa, festa
    Sim, nós vamos pra festa, festa
    Sim, nós vamos pra festa, festa

    Eu gostaria que você dançasse (aniversário)
    Dê uma cha-cha-cha-chance (aniversário)
    Eu gostaria que você dançasse (aniversário)
    Ooo, dance, sim

    Eu gostaria que você dançasse (aniversário)
    Dê uma cha-cha-cha-chance (aniversário)
    Eu gostaria que você dançasse (aniversário)
    Ooo, dance, sim

    Você disse que é seu aniversário
    É o meu aniversário também, sim
    Eles disseram que é seu aniversário
    Nós teremos um ótimo dia
    Eu estou alegre por ser seu aniversário
    Feliz aniversário para você
    Feliz aniversário para você

    ttttt

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  17. Happy Belated Birthday too Milena...thank God that all of you can made it through the storm. I like the way you write your posts, seems like I also involved in your experiences..really..you better write novel etc..

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