Saturday, May 7, 2011

After The Storm - Days Three and Four

Saturday morning, I got up about 6:30 or so and went home to my house to empty my fridge and freezer of all my food and condiments and throw them out. I cleaned the fridge and freezer with Clorox and threw away hundreds of dollars worth of food; again, only a small and insignificant complaint when so many people don’t even have a home any more. I am blessed to be able to afford to replace those items and so in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really that big of a deal.

What I was able to salvage from my fridge and freezer.
Sorry for the crooked picture.

After cleaning out the fridge and freezer, I swept and mopped the floors and opened a couple of windows to let in some fresh air. Then I gathered up a few things I needed and headed back to my parents’ house. I got there about the same time as my dad who had been out to Publix to get some sandwich and hamburger meat and a few other items like milk. Since Mr. Savis was kind enough to let us use a line off of his generator, we were able to plug in the main fridge and keep some things cool. My dad was also able to get some bags of ice, which was a blessing. He offered a couple to Mr. Savis who didn’t want any and so we gave one bag to a neighbor down the street and before he left the store, my dad gave a bag to a man in line behind him because Publix had run out.

I would like to take a moment to say what an EXCELLENT job Publix did during the power outage here in North Alabama. As you probably know if you have read this blog for any period of time, I LOVE Publix and do just about all of my shopping there. While the power was out, all the Publix stores were operational thanks to generators. They had plenty of food on the shelf. They brought in trucks of ice each day. They also had amble supplies of batteries, charcoal, propane, lighter fluid, flashlights, etc. If it weren’t for Publix, I don’t know what folks would have done. They did a great job!!

After taking a nap, we grilled out hamburgers at hot dogs and once again my brother and granddad came over to eat. The food was good, as always! Once my brother and granddad left for the night, we settled in for the evening, had our nightly Bible reading and prayer and played cards. I’m happy to report that I was once again the winner!

I got up around 6:00 on Sunday morning and went outside with The Tide to collect all the tree limbs and branches that had fallen in my parents’ backyard and took them out to the road. After a couple of hours work, I went inside to take a shower, listen to the 8:30 a.m. press conference and go to church. I went to church with my dad Sunday morning instead of driving across the county to Chase Park. Mother didn’t feel like going so we left her at home with the two dogs. Before we left, we tried to brew some hot coffee for the church folks, but the large coffee warmer kept flipping the generator and so I’m not sure how hot the coffee ended up being.

My dad had an excellent lesson – he really spoke from the heart, which I had encouraged him to do and I hope he challenged a lot of the folks in the pews. The lesson was about being content in whatever situation you find yourself in and it was obviously very appropriate for our current situation. After church, my grandparents stopped by to get some kerosene for their lamps and a bag of ice. I went home soon after that to get my work boots and some grungy clothes – we had plans to go out and work in the devastated areas on Monday and I needed some other clothes. I also grabbed some more Diet Cokes – there would have been a crisis for sure had I run out – and also got a pizza from Dominos. After days of grilling out, pizza was a welcome change, even if it wasn’t that good.

I then went over to my grandparents’ house to pick up their cell phone so we could charge it on the generator. I also stopped at Publix for something – can’t even remember what. I think it was eggs and Gatorade and a few other things. By the time I got home, Mr. Savis had turned off the generator for a while to let it cool down. I attempted an unsuccessful Sunday afternoon nap and when I got up, Mr. Savis was trying to start the generator back up – only there was a problem. He couldn’t get it to stay on. It would run for a few seconds and then shut off. My dad ended up going over there and so did a lawn boy who was working on one of the neighborhood yards. After an hour or so, the lawn boy got the generator to work. Something as wrong with the carburetor and the generator would have to go to the shop on Monday. This would be the last few hours with the generator for a while.

Working on the generator

I let my grandparents’ phone charge for a while and then took it back to them. On the way, I stopped off at Lowes to get some work gloves. I also noticed that Publix had an ice truck in the parking lot so I stopped there again and got some ice. My grandparents didn’t need any so we gave a bag to a couple of neighbors – one who was riding his bike down the street.

That evening, we listened to the radio while playing cards. This was the first night that we had listened while playing cards and it was the same night that various areas were getting power back on. The radio would tell us which areas were getting power and it seemed to be getting closer to us. I said, “It’s just like Santa Claus! It keeps getting closer and closer!” My house had gotten power around 8:00 that night, but because of the curfew, I stayed at my parents’ house instead of going home.

While playing cards and listening to the radio, we discovered that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I thought that to be a moment I would never forget – no power, playing cards by the coil oil light, and listening to the radio to find out about a big event in our nation’s history. Awesome! After the card game was over (can’t remember who won, but it wasn’t me), we listened to the radio a bit longer and then went to bed. About 4:15 in the morning, I woke up; I don’t know if it was because my dad was rummaging around or if I had to go to the bathroom or a combination of the two. At any rate, I noticed that there seemed to be street lights on outside and sure enough, I asked my dad if the power was on and it was. He had woken up because when the air conditioner came on, he got cold and he was getting up to adjust the thermostat. Our time without power had come to an end.

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