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First off, I'm okay. We're okay. The pets are okay. Our stuff is okay.

The surroundings, well, not so much.

Until pretty recently, we lacked the capacity to say we were okay, because we lacked phone and power (and thus water, because the pressure tank cuts out), and we've been in our little quiet safe house, going about our business. Here's what we found when we ventured out of our little den:

Roads have been swept away. Bridges are gone. The propane storage tanks that resupply our gas stove went bobbing down river. Our kid's favorite seasonal hamburger and ice cream hut has been washed away. One of my middle daughter's friends had to evacuate her trailer park last night via swift-water rope rescue, and several of the homes were washed away. When I was finally able to see on TV some of the scenes of flooding and disaster from other areas of the state, they almost all were familiar places. Two nearby towns are among the eleven "island towns" in the state, so-named because the roads in and out have been so damaged, that for the time being, they are on their own.

I went to do my usual 5 mile loop, and there were two bridges out, one of which sent two sizable concrete pillars downstream to wreck the road were the next curve lay. This in a stream that usually can be crossed by getting one foot wet, if that. After 4 miles I faced the choice of doing a little wading to get back to the main road, or turning around, going back up hill, and making it an 8 mile trip. I chose to wade, since the water was receding and not very deep.

Our little mini (but registered!) covered bridge acted as a dam on the small stream that runs behind our house, causing a major portion of our back yard to become fast-moving but shallow stream, but it was still sound once the waters retreated, unlike most of the full-sized covered bridges around here. The ones that weren't carried off outright, are taped off pending eventual repair.

Our house has a small stream in back of us, and a medium size creek across the road from us, and down a steep 15 foot slope. The creek began to rise, and eventually got within about 3 feet of the roadway, although if it had gotten that high, it would have had to go 1 1/2 feet higher to cross the road and get to the house, given the camber of the road. When the flash flood warnings went out, we went across to take a look at the creek and make our decision about whether we needed to evacuate. There was a rumbling which sounded like distant thunder, and a series of clicking noises. It was more than a little disturbing when we realized that this sound was not thunder, but the sound of big boulders rolling downstream.

The sport of the day was going around to all the various neighbors, checking to see that everyone was okay, and rubbernecking at the various repair crews at work. Around our neighborhood, there was sizeable property damage, but no damage to family, pets, or livestock, so everyone was in an upbeat mood. My husband's clinic had power and telephone, but the town had no water, so he didn't have to work Monday. Tuesday is his day off anyway, and hopefully by the time Wednesday rolls around, water will be restored. They had plenty of new silt deposited on their front lawn, though.

School was supposed to start on Wednesday, but it is now postponed until September 6th.

We are all ridiculously happy now to be able to do simple things, like flush the toilets, take showers, and refrigerate food, but basically for our family, this has been the equivalent of a run-of-the-mill storm-cum-power-loss, without the added joy of having to huddle under blankets to keep from freezing, or having to worry about the state of our pipes.

Please spare a thought or a prayer for those families in Vermont that were not as lucky as we were. At last count there were 3 dead, and one missing, presumed dead, and there was the expectation that that number could well rise.


Aug. 31st, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
Ugh. I hate both hail and tornadoes, hail because...well...it hurts!, and tornadoes because as an Eastern girl, they leave me feeling a bit out of my element. I had to deal with them when we lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a few years, but I never quite made my peace with them.

Earthquakes I got used to in Greece as a kid. When that quake hit in Virginia earlier, my daughter in Philly, who works in I.T. was in the office of one of the people she supports, working on his problem. He happened to hail from California, with a native Philadelphian as his wife. My daughter, who has never experienced an earthquake before, was too intrigued by the new sensation to think of being frightened, and the Californian was thrilled, because now at last his wife, who had never managed to experience a quake in all her visits to his family, would get to experience a seminal experience of his childhood. From outside the office, the voice of the secretary drifted in: "Not cool! Not cool! Very not cool!" she said.

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