Wordless Friday (A picture is worth a thousand stories)

creepy-sea-storm-pic

Photo credit: Stormy Seas by Phantom Power @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrHfu-HT2lM

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Nature Intervention

Ever gone through times when you think you were starting to get ahead financially and then…ka-blamo!  Nature intervenes.

Life (and goals) interrupted.

This past Friday started out normally.  I got up at 5am to help hubby get around for work, and sent him on his way.  Work for him was nearly 1 1/2 hours commute time, one way.  My son’s on his summer break so I let him “sleep” in ’till 7am.  We’d spent the past few days cleaning the house since my Mom and young nephew were flying in later that morning to spend a week with us.  The house was the cleanest it’s been since we moved in a year earlier (pretty sad, huh?) I was in the process of fixing breakfast for us when hubby called.

“Better get to the basement.” He said.  “A bad storm’s headed your way.”

I glanced out of the window.  Dark clouds were billowing in.

“Okay.” And I hung up.

I sent my son, Karl, down the basement with one of our cats.  I finished fixing a mug of coffee and proceeded to step down in to the stairway when out of nowhere these horrific winds (macrobursts they’re called) slammed into the house.

Whooshing sounds rattled all around us.  Before I closed the door, I glanced back at one of the kitchen windows and saw nothing but a sheet of whiteness.

We sat on the sectional couch in the basement, listening to the roaring outside.  It wasn’t 10 minutes before the power went out.

Oh, great.  (Not really especially if you have a sump pump in the basement with no back up power supply)

The storm was over 10 minutes later.

Karl led me, fumbling and all, to the other side of the basement where the sump pump was, and we checked the “well” in the floor.  The water was rising rapidly.

The next twelve hours were a bit of a blur.   First part of it was spent in the pitch blackness of the basement as I frantically filled the only two buckets we could find with icy water while Karl ran them up the stairs and out the sunroom’s door and dumped their content outside.   This cycle went on for at least five hours.  By this time, hubby had returned home (worried since he hadn’t heard from us).   Karl, exhausted from all the running; and me, in shorts and sandals, up to nearly my knees in cold water, shivering.   The entire finished basement floor now under water.

Hubby declared it “lost.”  We shifted gears and began pulling everything that could be saved out of the basement, and filled the sunroom.

Then my Mom and nephew arrived.

The cavalry.

A few moments later, the power came back on which brought on another set of problems for us.

With the sump pump now running overtime pumping water out of the flooded basement, the piping system became overwhelmed and there were leaks springing in several places.  The largest of them was in the laundry room up on the main floor.  Mom, hubby, Karl and myself worked in shifts baling water until the sump pump “caught up.”  Then the leaks ebbed until they completely stopped.

The ordeal began a little before 8am and finally subsided around 8:30pm.

Then, I went outside and oh…my…gosh…

Tree carnage everywhere I looked.

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I was in disbelief (still am).  I later learned that many farmers around us have sustained similar damages and worse.  Dozens and dozens of crop fields are under water.

Lost or at best, severely damaged.

I wanted to cry; but as I looked around and saw my family…

Safe.  Unharmed.

And I felt so grateful. In spite of the damages our farmstead had sustained, we were together.

And that’s all that mattered to me.

So, now the cleanup process has begun; and even with insurance, I can’t get over how expensive everything’s going to be.  It will wipe out our savings, and max the credit cards.  Hubby had promised to take Karl on a trip to see his cousins out in western New York but it’s looking like we’ll have to cancel that because everything’s being devoted to fixing the damages around the house and farmstead.  As a last ditch effort, hubby has set up a GoFundMe account to see if he could raise money to send Karl on his trip east.  We’ll see how that one works.

In the meantime, God Bless you all and have a restful and safe evening.

 

 

 

Books: Man’s Greatest Achievement (Short Story)

dean land

Gray clouds hung low in the sky as a group of teenagers clambered down the street littered with rusted and mangled vehicular bodies.   Houses on both sides of the disintegrating asphalt stood in various wretched shapes.   Woods warped.  Windows smashed or missing. Vinyl sidings bent like painful hang-nails.

The group turned down a particular graveled pathway which led to a large, crumbling brick-laid building that stood three-stories tall.  A sign stretched across the middle of the structure with words etched in the marble slab: Esmond High

As soon as they crossed the threshold, they turned right and entered into a large room.  Inside the open room several long tables spread across the dusty tile flooring, each partnered with two deformed metallic chairs.   Large windows lined the far wall of the room, and like the others, many were either missing or broken.  They also provided the only source of lighting.

The younger version of adults sat at the three front tables, and waited in silence.

Moments later, a man shuffled into the room.  Long, wispy white hair hung long from his head.  White-black beard partially covered his face, its bottom touched his ragged red and black plaid shirt.

“Good morning, class.”  His hoarse voice crackled as he slowly hobbled to the front where a small wooden desk stood.

“Good morning, Mr. Pike.” The teens replied in unison.

He gingerly set down a plastic bag on top of the desk which wobbled with the weight being pressed on it.  Mr. Pike groaned as he forced himself to stand straight, and turned his cataract-riddled, hazel eyes to the classroom before him.

“It seems our number is ever growing smaller.” He sniffed.

“Marge’s parents have married her off to the Mableton’s clan so she won’t be coming back.” The only female in the room spoke in a quiet voice.

“Ethan, Sam, and Levi have been recruited to the front line.” The dark haired male in the center table said.

“Sal was killed with his parents last night by thieves.” The smallish boy next to the brunette female muttered.

“Madness.” The old man whispered as he rapped his arthritic knuckles on the wood.  “This is what we’ve been reduced to.  Constant warring with one another.  Servitude and slavery.  Mockery and misery all around us.  All due to stupidity.  Stupidity.”

“Mr. Pike?”  The girl’s voice drifted to his ears.  “Are you alright?”

He shook his head hard and blinked several times as he struggled to regain his focus on the remaining kids.

“Yes, yes of course I’m alright!” He snapped as his hands gripped the plastic bag.  “It’s a bit disconcerting when I see our future being ripped from us, that’s all.”

“What’s in the bag, Mr. Pike?” A petite oriental boy from the table directly in front of him asked.

The elder released his grip on the bag and began to pat it. “Ah, yes.  The bag.  I discovered the content last evening when I was rummaging through a building that was once a library.”

“What’s a library?” The girl asked.

“My dear Oona.” He smiled. “A library was used to house what we called books.  Books were once the foundation of which we built a great civilization. Books were what brought us out of the last Dark Ages.  They enabled us to become highly advanced and educated and enlightened.   They were the glue that held us together.”

“What happened?” The small boy next to Oona asked.

“Man grew stupid, Darrin. “He answered. “We grew so enamored with technology and all our wonderful advances, and decided to get rid of books, which contained everything, to rely solely on digital machines.”

He glanced across the room and saw that all eyes and ears were completely attuned to him, and continued. “Then the storm happened and wiped out all the technology, and with it our heart and soul as a specie.” He raised a hand into the air. “Hence, you see the result all around us.”

“So…” Mr. Pike reached a hand inside the bag. “For the next few weeks, we’ll be reading two of the greatest books ever written, in my humble opinion, by man.”  And pulled out two heavily worn hard-covered books. “Moby Dick and War and Peace.”

“Could we take turns reading them?” Oona breathlessly asked.

“I don’t read too well.”  The oriental boy moaned.

“Don’t worry, Mai, I’ll help you.” She smiled.

 

reading

 

Okay, questions for the reader:

1.  What message do you think this story is trying get across?

2. Would you want to read more of this particular story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowflakes (a haiku)

Snowflakes

Bright and icy they

provide the security

coat for the stranded

A haiku I wrote just for the fun of it.  It was inspired by a recent snow/ice storm where the highways of Raleigh became gridlocked for several hours, and hundreds of cars were abandoned.  This haiku was written (and dedicated) for all those poor mechanical things.