Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Need to Go Seeking for New Experiences

Good Morning!  Well, I must say, you just never know what will come in a day.  I grew up about 40 or so miles from where I currently live and have spent my whole life (from about age 3) in this area.  I remember when the northern limits of the city were at the college and Shipyard Blvd. was the last interesting thing to see going south.    Monkey Junction used to be this weird intersection in the middle of nowhere that only those going to Carolina Beach would actually see.  I remember when they built 90% of the malls and shopping centers currently in existence.  I remember when Laney High School came into being.  Forty-some years of watching a quiet southern town degenerate into a large, bustling, mock-up of a northern metropolis. 

But the one thing that has remained relatively constant has been the climate.  Oh yes, some years were colder or warmer than others.  I remember big snow, little snow, and no snow years......the certainty of the humidity during the summer......and the possibility of ice storms in the winter and hurricanes in the summer.  I've seen a lot of both.

Hurricane Irene's current threat to make landfall in our vicinity is leading to the inevitable clearing of shelves of water, batteries, and bread.  The fact that I've become a "prepper" has made Irene's forecasted appearance much less stressful since most of what I need is already on hand.  There is the "battening down of the hatches" which will need to be completed by Friday AM at the latest, but even most of those supplies are already on hand and simply require installing.  As I said, most of this is "old hat" to me, having grown up here and experienced quite a few hurricanes.

Tornadoes are a different story altogether.  The only time that I can remember tornado threats being issued was in conjunction with a hurricane's landfall.  We grew up making jokes about not wanting to live in the midwest because of the tornadoes and how at least with a hurricane you had plenty of warning.  But as of about 5 years ago, the possibility of a tornado accompanying a thunder storm has become more of a recurring reality.  And one for which my area is woefully unprepared.

The first problem is that our abundance of trees makes the sighting of a tornado almost impossible.  We can only depend on the appearance of effects (such as wind, hail, and debris) to give us warning that one is imminent.  There are also no sirens in place to sound.  If you are not glued to your television in the first place or have a weather radio, you are unlikely to know that there is any possibility of severe weather.  And finally, no one around here has a basement or underground storm shelter.  There is, of course, a good reason for this.  Our water table is so high that any attempt at building a basement or storm shelter would lead to a very muddy swimming pool.  (I remember when my parents put in an in-ground swimming pool and the contractor had to spend a couple of weeks pumping water out of the hole before they could install the lining).  We are looking at building a concrete block building and covering it with earth which would serve as a type of storm shelter/root cellar, if we can figure out how to keep out the snakes and fire ants.  But, while less so than with a hurricane, our area is still capable of the basics in dealing with the results of tornadoes such as power outages, downed trees, etc.

Today, however, we experienced something which I have never been through earthquake!  A friend had come to visit and we were sharing a moment of quiet conversation when my house began to.......wobble.  Sort of like when my washing machine is on spin with a large load.......only much stronger.  At first neither of us said anything and then she asked if I was washing clothes.  When I replied no, we both just kind of stared at each other.  Finally we decided to get up and go outside.  The fact that my house is 100 years old and had weathered numerous hurricanes and storms made the shaking, seeming from out of the blue, extremely unnerving.  The fact that my house is built on brick pillars that are also 100 years old just added to the uneasiness of the situation.  We did return to the house after a few minutes, but it wasn't until one of my daughters found out from facebook that a 5.8 earthquake had occurred in Virginia that we both relaxed.  While the occurrence of the earthquake itself was a new and unsettling experience, it at least made the fact that my house had shaken a little easier to take.  Trust me, any logical reason for your house to suddenly begin shaking is welcome.

So, another thing has been crossed off my bucket list.  Of course, experiencing an earthquake was never on my bucket list, but (as with my to do list) adding it was easy and immediately crossing it off gave a sense of satisfaction which comes from having completed a job.

Well, it's time to start another day.  Life here is never boring.

May Yahweh bless you in this new day!


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