Hey, folks. In the interests of neither going mad nor doing the necessary work of rejiggering my syllabi to account for classes starting late, I thought I’d use the excuse of the coming storm to natter on about our lives in even more detail than usual. The likelihood is that we’ll lose power at some point, so you’ll be spared reading about the whole weekend.
A little background: As you faithful readers know, Chez Bionique is in beautiful Brooklyn, in an apartment in a large building. The building itself is tall, but we are only on the second floor, out of reach of water and not in danger of extra-strength winds, as higher floors either are or aren’t, depending on whether you read what the city’s Office of Emergency Stuff says about hurricanes in general or about this one in particular. We are outside of all of the various evacuation zones for storms of various severities.
Sorry for the epic pause. I spent the afternoon searching for this awesomely dorky picture of me and the aforementioned friend at the beach in NC, all too cool to smile for the camera, but I can’t find it anywhere. A profound disappointment.
We haven’t had much rain since this morning, and though there’s still quite a lot of wind in the trees, just now some blue started to show overhead. The clouds are going west-east again.
Parts of the city are flooded and without power, the trains won’t be back for a bit, and no promises on the airports, either, but it looks like we were on the whole very lucky. Hope that any of you whom Irene visited were, too.
Okay, now THAT is some wind. Goodness.
Also, either the health care place across the street lost the enormous
sail banner formerly tacked to its wall…or they took it in ages ago and I failed to notice.
I can’t believe the dead tree across the parking lot from us is still standing. It is just the height and size of a live tree directly in front of it, and as the live tree’s branches are tossed and bent, its remain rigid. (Aaaand now I have Ani in my head. Name that tune, for 15 lesbian points.) Ordinarily, the dead one is barely visible from our window, but today it is like an eerie crack in the sky.
We’ve had several very, very bad storms in the past two years, and its possible we won’t lose too many trees because only the strongest are still standing. The great Lebanon cedar in the botanic garden went down in a particularly nasty spring storm.
You might be able to make out the squirrel hanging from the hawk’s talons in the big size.
But it is also possible that we will be hit hard once again. Hurricanes are particularly dangerous for trees because they usually occur in summer, when the trees are heavy with leaves, and because they bring so, so, so much rain, which softens the ground until a wind the tree could have withstood at any other time can tug even a giant out by the roots.
Today I am concentrating my concern on my favorite tree in Prospect Park, an enormous and ancient beech beside Enfield Arch. Half of its crown went down last fall, but even so diminished, it has a majesty. I’ve tried again and again to capture it in a picture, and have never managed to get the sense of it into a frame. This is the best I have, from three summers ago:
Hi, there. We’re still fine. Have power, water, all that. No big leaks around the air conditioners, even. I have a bit of a headache, hardly surprising in a storm this big, but nothing awful.
I was up several times in the night (understatement), so I can report that things started to get wild between 1:15 and 2. At 1:15, heavy rain, moderate wind. At 2, big winds. I saw a large street sign go flying across the street. More of the same at 4 and 7, though it turns out the part where the attendant’s hut at the parking lot across the street ended up overturned in the road was, in fact, a dream.
Thunder! After not hearing any for a couple hours, a fair amount now. Pouring rain, but not very windy yet. The cat who hates storms is starting to look nervous. He did get some good cuddling in while we watched our new favorite distraction, Doc Martin.
Speaking of what the thunder said, a week after the first and only time I heard a “da” from Graham (his first very clear consonant), he has exploded in da’s and de’s and di’s today. Proto speech! His prolix Mama swoons, I’m sure you can imagine.
We are filling the tub and going to bed. Guess I’d better do the dishes,
as I don’t want to be stuck with dirty ones and no water because naturally we’d never go to bed with dirty dishes. We’re not animals.
Yum, watermelon cocktails!
Fill a large wide mouthed glass about half way with scoops of watermelon. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. Mash with wooden thing. Add 2 Tbsp of simple syrup, some vodka, some ice, and some seltzer. Stir.
Putting the baby to bed (no, he never did take that nap: an evil confluence of my failure to notice a dirty diaper and his tendency to get hyper when overtired), I can see low clouds scudding across the sky, from east to west, the opposite of the usual pattern and a sure sign of a counter-clockwise spiral storm. On the weather map, the first green and yellow fingers are brushing against us.
When I stand up, I notice red flashes on the wet pavement. There are three fire trucks outside. Firemen carrying hoses are climbing up our front stairs. Another one is cranking open the hydrant. I trade my flannel pajama pants for the first substitute I can find that fits my current body, an old pair of velvet sweat pants. NOW I don’t look like I’m sitting around in my pjs. I start to unbutton my (unmatching) pajama shirt and then decide I’m being ridiculous. I run down the stairs to find out whether I need to grab the baby and go out into the rain (please say no, please say no — and in a really convincing way).
The super is there. I love our super. Turns out someone got stuck in the elevator and hit the fire call button. He’d already solved the elevator problem when the firemen arrived; by the time I get back upstairs, the last truck is pulling out.
The news has pictures of the parts of North Carolina where Irene made landfall, at the islands off Morehead City. I went to the beach there every summer. The pier where we fished for crabs, where I first saw a real shark (a hammerhead someone had caught by mistake) was destroyed.
…but perhaps sentiment is making me foolish. There are a lot of hurricanes in North Carolina, and my pier may have collapsed years ago.
In 1991, I was there with my best friend’s family when Hurricane Bob swung this way while my parents stayed at another house a few miles away. An evacuation was ordered. Police drove up and down the island with megaphones; there were signs everywhere. We left first thing in the morning. Traffic crawled down the one main road, over the single bridge across the sound. We were home by noon, and I sat in my friend’s living room for hours, alternating between terror and rage at my perpetually late parents, who blithely didn’t even leave the island (with the friend of my father’s sharing the house, whom I never could stand) for hours afterwards. And of course, they were right. There was plenty of time to get home before the storm.
Now they are the ones worrying, I think. They live in Arkansas now, where tornadoes are frequent but sudden, without the days to worry that hurricane warnings provide.
I just heard thunder. Sugar is scooping out watermelon for drinks. We’re having meatballs, made from all the ground pork and beef we could find in the freezer. If we lose power, we’d have lost the meat anyway. If we lose gas, it will be nice to have some food that’s cooked already. If we lose power and gas, we’ll just gorge on the meatballs quickly, right after the ice cream.
The Bean refuses to nap. After lots of crying from the crib, I nursed him for a million years. Now he’s in there chattering to himself. Oh, well. It’s kind of cute, and no rules on hurricane weekend!
Drinking water supplies now all set up. Filled pitchers, pots, nalgenes, and the odd tupperware. If Irene doesn’t take us out, the BPA may.
Cracked open the first of the adorable little cans of coke I bought in yesterday’s supply run. Don’t worry; there’s beer for later. And if the power does go out, we’ll have to eat that ice cream up with a quickness.
Hung out yesterday with a friend who was here on 9/11. She said that immediately after the attacks, she went to the store and bought lots of canned beans and also coffee, because she remembered something about coffee being a useful currency during World War II. We contemplated buying cigarettes.
Holy shit. The Bean crawled forward. Not very effectively, as he was on a slippery blanket, but still. This development will definitely wreck more havoc on the household than Irene could.
Sugar is unpacking all the toys her parents sent and surrounding him.
Raining a bit, sometimes heavily. Despite the fact that I laid up important stores yesterday (batteries, coca-cola, ice cream), we decided to head out to the nearby store, more for the experience than for much else. Besides, if the power DOESN’T go out, we will need milk. I splashed out on all kinds of new kinds of canned beans. Also coffee, watermelon for cocktails, and chocolate chips. Just in case.