Darkness, Sweat and Fears

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
~ Edgar Allan Poe

My only light during the hurricane.

The past week has been long. Too long for a supposed minor hurricane. With all the preparing we do it still turns our lives upside down.

4 full days without power in the Louisiana heat. To me this is living primal…I got to live like a cavewoman for 4 days. Even though I had a few modern necessities like texting (although I had to charge the phone in the car) and a flushing toilet, I took my Paleo lifestyle to a new level.

I prepared my Paleo survival food and cooked like mad before the storm came…it was coming a half day earlier than expected. Burgers, beef jerky, cut up vegetables, bacon, Paleo pancakes  sweet potatoes, pork roast and lots of water. Got the food cold knowing power would go off. I guess our hunter gatherer ancestors would have prepared what they could or consumed what food they could knowing they would be without for a few days.

Survival mode sets in. The hurricane came by overnight. Howling winds shaking the house. Up all night I tried to see the rain and watch the streets. Watching for flood…calling our tugboats on the Mississippi River to see how much it’s rising. It’s a little unnerving. Katrina didn’t hit us direct so what would Isaac do? He stalled and moved North. Thankfully.  On Tuesday evening, when the wind barely started, the power went out. Flashlight broke so I lit a few candles. Total darkness and I mean the scary boogeyman type of darkness. Alone with the dogs and cats in the dark.  One time at night I sat in the car charging the phone and getting some air with the dogs and a knock at the window by a neighbor, drunk and scaring the shit out of me.  I felt very alone.  Note for next time: Get a gun.

Rain and wind continued until the next day then it stopped. Then no breeze and the sun came out. Then the heat set in. Topping 100 degrees and extreme humidity. It was too hot to even go upstairs in the house.  I can barley function. I tried to exercise in the house but too hot. Walking the dogs was all I could do other than picking up debris and tree branches outside.  This is just what you do.  Ice was melting quick; so I stand in long lines to get ice. Throw out food going back and eat what I could. I still had to work…Grace had power, she took us in to her nice cool home to work for a few hours, then Ken did the same. I worried about the dogs and cats in the heat, and I would rush back to my hot home.  It’s still home so I don’t want to be away long.

And sleep, boy did I sleep. I slept as soon as the sun went down. Too dark and hot to stay awake. It was a little scary. I wait for a comforting voice to call. And after I would sleep more.

By Saturday with the sun and heat, although unbearable, it almost seemed normal and hoping this new “normal” would end.  Sweat is just pouring down me; standing under a cool shower feels wonderful.

And just as the sun is setting and the Michigan football game begins, the power comes on!  Glorious air conditioning…close the windows and make it cold!  Sprawl out on the couch and celebrate.  Just in time.

Out of cavewoman mode to recovery mode.  Work, clean, work.  The stress experienced after almost makes you want a little of that primal life…just without the scary parts.


The Second Line Rolls

As we wait for the storm…This is no Katrina…she couldn’t even stop us.  New Orleans survived.

Nothing will take down this City.

The horns will keep blowing

The drums will keep beating

The Indians will keep dancing

The parades will keep rolling

The Saints will keep marching in

Hurricane Isaac…Prepare…Ride Out the Storm.

Tweet via DJ Soul Sister of WWOZ in New Orleans @djsoulsister

I see there is a hurricane water in effect for NOLA.  Not this again. 

The only Isaac I wanna hear from has the last name of Hayes.

As the direction of Hurricane Isaac creeps closer to us there is that instant unsettled feeling of turning your life upside down for a few days or as in Hurricane Katrina for weeks to months and for some people for years.  And Isaac is to come on that very same day, the 7th anniversary of Katrina.  The reminder is hitting us in the face.  When a hurricane is in the gulf all bets are off for anyone along the coast.  Almost half the coast is affected in some way.  And we are now under a hurricane warning.

Anxiety…knots in the stomach.  The storm has made its turn and making its decision of where exactly to go.  Make a list.  Crap no one has water left…glad I have that Brita pitcher.  Clear the gutter.  Fill anything with water.  Make ice because no one has ice…good thing I don’t eat bread because they are out already.  Geez no one is prepared?  Make food, enforce the plan.  Gas tomorrow…there are long lines now so maybe 0600 before work will be better.  Need an oil change…scratch.  Got plenty of dog and cat food.  I think…how long were we without during Katrina.  Crap, no alcohol…must save what little money I do have.  Charge phones, iPad, laptop, camera…charge everything.  Where is that boom box I never used…batteries, need batteries, what kind?  Do I even own a flashlight?  Throw out anything in freezer not needed.  Remember that horrible stink of fridges after Katrina.  Move the flying objects from outside tomorrow or tie it down…could be a category 1, 2 or 3 we don’t know.  Geez when is that next update.  Can it make a turn elsewhere please!  Relax…it will all be okay.  Accept the process and know you are safe.  Safe.

I am not evacuating this time at least not yet.  With 2 dogs and 3 cats it’s very difficult to evacuate.  But I am a survivor…I will be prepared.  I live 2 blocks from the levee which is the highest point in New Orleans and I have an upstairs in a 100-year-old home. Also I work in the marine industry.  Surely among 60 boats I can find safe harbor if needed.  Also, I have friends riding it out also in New Orleans and my old boss Louie at Matassa’s…he won’t leave.  And my dear friend, Erin, she will make sure I am safe…her door is always open on the Northshore.

I feel pretty secure.  Anxious, but secure.

I will be cooking today…cooking Paleo/primal seems fitting for this.  Burgers, beef jerky, banana pancakes, pork roast.  I will have plenty of water, ice, pet food…the essentials.   I worked out today, feeling good and feeling strong.  Instinct takes over.

Be safe Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.