Monday, July 19, 2021

Side A-Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head/Side B-The Wichita Lineman

...just like the woman sleeping with a bucket in her bed

Oh no,

Crying's not for me cause

I've got insurance

and a pile of plastic buckets

Because that's meeeeee.

The weather station clocked a 90 mph wind before the power went out. Don't know if you can see it well in the photo but that tree branch is actually wrapped around the weather station. 

A week ago Friday, Omaha experienced straight line winds in excess of 100 mph. If it had been rotating we'd call it a tornado, but the impact on the city was more or less the same. We were without power for 48 hours, but some people were stuck for an entire week without electricity in the heat of summer. That large maple tree in back of the house? Yeah, the one the squirrels and birds live in. A good chunk of it came through the roof around midnight on Friday but the real excitement came the next day when the torrential rain started pouring through the ceiling. Drip, drip, drip, is not how I like to be awakened in the middle of the night. After a panicked 2 AM rush to get everything out of the water's path, the one thing I couldn't move was a king sized sleigh bed-so we employed the plastic buckets formerly housing my vintage clothing. The clothes are now in bin bags away from falling plaster and water. The dining room on the first floor leaked too-that was extreme and there's a giant hole in the ceiling now. The roofers came on Wednesday to remove the crashed part of the tree and patch the hole, just in time too as we had buckets of rain falling. So far it is staying dry, and now we wait for it to dry out completely and get re-plastered. The carpet in the dining room was cleaned on Thursday, and treated with an anti-microbial agent to prevent any nastiness from the water. It was quite the adventure. 
This is part of a tree that landed on our patio. 
Around the corner...
and down the street. It was amazing no one was hurt across the city. The warnings came in loud and early, with the sirens were going off just as Danny was calling in the last storm-spotter report to the weather service before the power blew. Power transformers were exploding one after another creating blue flashes in the sky that you could tell at a glance weren't lightning. It was frightening. I came downstairs (it hit around midnight and I was already in bed) because it was so loud as the gust front came trough I thought the roof might lift off. Fortunately, that didn't happen. 

My garden is on the south side of the house and was largely untouched by the storm, with delicate cherry tomatoes still clinging to plants. Go figure. Weather can be so strange. The next morning everyone was out picking up and our stronger neighbours cleared the heavy branches. After that it was just days of chainsaws cutting logs, sitting in our cars charging up telephones, eating the food in the fridge before it all spoiled (most of it had to be binned), and just trying to stay cool in the July heat. I really feel for the people that had to deal with power being out for a week. That happened to us during the tornado (I think it was 10 days if I recall) and that's not much fun, particularly if you have children. 
Look at that survivor! 
The sourdough starters had been languishing in the fridge, but I'm happy to report that all three survived. They've been fed a couple times now and I even baked a rye bread the other day. The starters are 12 years old and it would have been a pity to lose them. I lost a good starter in the 2008 tornado. 
This is the lemongrass plant. Still thriving but the stalks aren't thick enough to harvest. No idea how long that takes, but it is a beautiful plant to have in the garden. 
These tomatoes were hanging on for dear life in the storm, but they made it. 
And an abundance of chard, Nothing kills chard. Even 100 mph winds. 
As bad as it was for us, it was worse in other parts of  the city and it will be a long process of getting it put back together. We had line workers coming from all over the country (probably a few from Wichita) to help get the power back on, which is no easy task when power poles are snapped like toothpicks. The parks suffered horribly too and it might be next year before some of them have their trails useable again. There's piles of branches and logs at curbs across the city waiting to be picked up and turned into mulch, and one helpful local has offered to take oak logs for his mushroom growing operation. He's willing to  provide spores and teach people how to grow their own mushrooms ("When life gives you a shitstorm, grow shitakes!") which is a bit of a silver lining in all of this, I guess. 

So does this make me a veteran of two tornadoes if it wasn't rotating? In terms of damage it sure as hell looked and behaved like one. I'm so, so, glad there wasn't any loss of life or anyone seriously hurt-that feels almost miraculous. 

The city and county have asked the governor to declare a disaster so we can get some emergency federal money down here and FEMA help. Unfortunately, he hasn't done it because I guess Republicans aren't keen to ask for help from a Democratic president. This nonsense has got to stop. In years past getting a disaster declaration was a completely non-partisan issue. It isn't a partisan issue. So the city is stuck relying on the generosity of our neighbours but really, it isn't enough and it is short sighted. People left without power for a week are going to remember that when they go to the polls. I can't imagine too many people are happy to be sitting in the dark so the governor can look tough. After our tornado in 2008 there wasn't any hesitation for our then governor (a republican) to get on the line to Washington and get the ball rolling. It freed up a lot of money to start paying other power districts to come in and help out. This rubbish benefits no one and they really need to knock it off. 

The handyman cut a square out of the ceiling to re-direct the rainwater. It worked, so we had a central place to put the buckets. He also helped us move the giant, heavy, china cabinet out of the rain's path. We're climbing around out of place furniture and buckets at the moment but that's better than having it ruined. The china cabinet still has plaster that melted off the ceiling during the last tornado forever jammed into the crevices.
The lion looks worried. He stayed dry though. 
Roland the Snowman's head survived in the freezer. He's basically a block of ice, so 40 hours without power didn't even begin to touch him. He also kept my Italian ices slushy enough to consume the next day which I was grateful for because I was sick. I mean, SICK. I mean, worse than that time I had dysentery sick. Trying to use the bathroom in the dark, one hand holding the torch the other grasping my stomach. In the dark. Praying for death. Or power, whichever came first. Those Italian ices and Gatorade probably kept me out of the hospital. I won't elaborate-we've all experienced similar at one time or another though that was a godawful time to have it happen. Anyhoo-Roland survived. 
Shitake happens, eh? 
I haven't been getting dressed much beyond shorts and tee shirts because it is hot here and my clothes are all in plastic bags in various dry parts of the house. It was such a rush getting things out of harm's way that I wasn't terribly careful about keeping things accessible. My shoe closet (yeah, I have a dedicated shoe closet) is now housing everything that was on my dresser as well as handbags (and the shoes). Until the plastering is done (scheduled for the second week of August) there's no point trying to find anything or put it back, so I'm wearing whatever I can grab easily from the dry closet and things packed in the basement. I also had to remove everything from the dining room cabinets so we could move them and I'm climbing around buckets of dishes, glasses, etc. That's a long way of saying, "Here's a dress you've never seen on the blog" because it hasn't been worn in forever. No time like the present though! 
I like 80s does 50s dresses because you get the easy care fabrics of the 80s with the look of the 50s-and without the requirement for girdles or bullet bras. Teal and brown is an under-appreciated combination, but simple enough to accessorise. Brown shoes I can manage. 
The vintage handbag is something I've had for years, but the belt is recently thrifted. It is a beautiful two piece buckle that can be worn with other belts. I've been very selective with my thrifting after a year of not shopping, so unless it is quite special, it isn't coming home with me. If anything, the storm reminded me that I have much too much stuff as it is, even if I can't get access to any of it at the moment. 
I'll leave you with the fantastic bath mat I purchased from the creator of Pterrible Dinosaur Drawings. Link to redbubble shop is in their profile. I'm saving up for the matching shower curtain. It makes me smile every morning when I go to take a shower and anything that starts your day smiling is worth it. I also get to support an independent artist, which has been something I try to do when possible. I grew up spending a lot of time at the Art Institute of Chicago looking at the original pointillist masterpiece and I have to say, I prefer the dinosaur version😁

Hopefully, next time I post we'll have the plastering completed and I can start putting my wardrobe back together. 

See you later. 



bahnwärterin said...

holy cow.
i´m so very very glad nobody was hurt! and that the roof got a fast fix - and the damage in the house is manageble.
dont know if it was in your news, but in the most western part of germany more then 150 people lost life in a giant flood caused by un-normal heavy rain - some are still missing. and here in the east we had a rain caused flood 2 days later - but thankfully only water & mud on streets, in basemets and gardens and on the railway track a few miles up the valley.. nobody was hurt. our roof leaked a bit.
but the garden is fine..... and yours looks like nothing had happened - strange but comforting in some ways i guess.

sorry to hear that your stomach played up - all that stress needed a way to come out - or?

but finally: you look fabulous and very glam in the 80s does 50s dress!!!
love the belt and your long wild hair - and the bag is a beauty. perfect colours too.

Bibi Maizoon said...

Glad to hear everyone (and almost everything) is safe. The 21st century is really exposing the incompetence (and asininity) of government everywhere. The Ganges is currently up to 51.56 meters, courtesy of the unusually heavy & persistent Monsoon rains up here in the Himalayas. 75% of the Indian states Bihar & Uttar Pradesh are flooded.Those are 2 of the poorest, most populous states that were hit hard by Covid. Climate change, anyone?
What a time for your tummy to start up, eek!
That 80s dress looks fab on you. I recall having quite a few 80s does 50s sundresses from shopping thrift through the 90s - the cabbage rose prints so popular then were my faves.
Your hair is so long! It looks amazing!
Stay safe,

Polyester Princess said...

Oh that sounds absolutely horrific! And what a shame that it hasn't been declared a disaster too. We've been having the floods Beate is writing about in the south of Belgium too, and the government is actually working together with the insurance companies so that people can get their money really fast.
I'm sorry to hear you've been plagued with stomach aches on top of everything else, but hey: Roland the Snowman's head survived! Plus, you got to wear that fabulous forgotten dress! xxx

Emily said...

Omaha must have some really strict building codes to have endured all that wind without any loss of life. I hope they fix all the leaks quickly so that you can get your apartment back in order. Your garden looks incredible, though. How that tall sunflower survived the wind is anybody's guess. And the sourdough starter, wow!

I just spent half an hour admiring the dinosaur blog and the Redbubble store. I see so many great gift ideas for my dinosaur-loving husband, so thanks for the tip.

You look marvelous in this dress. Stay safe and be well.

Beth Waltz said...

"When life gives you a shitstorm, grow shitakes!" I'll lift a chilled Gatorade in salute to that sentiment!

The dino bathmat is also a marvel of refusal to roll over and submit to unkind fate. Looking forward to seeing the shower curtain.

As for the partisan issues adversely affecting public services -- coverage of the floods in Europe included interviews with several German and Belgian government entities trying to explain how they'd done their best within the constraints, etc. There was also a look at the Dutch water boards. The water boards are non-political, have been since 1255. There was no loss of life in the Netherlands.

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

I am so glad to hear that you, your family and other people were not harmed during the winds and rain. The pictures are astonishing and what nature is capable of never ceases to amaze me. What a terrible upheaval for you but thank god you are all safe.I'm glad the plants survived even if the tree didn't.

Loved that 80s does 50s dress on you and what a lovely colour combination.

Stay strong - and cool!

Miss Magpie said...

Oh my word you have been through it and then some. Here's hoping the plastering goes smoothly and you are back where you want to be very soon. Politicians can't live with them can't kill them without a hefty sentence, let's hope the locals do remember come voting time!

I LOVE brown and teal such an underrated colour combo. I had a gorgeous brown dress with teal polka dots back in the day I'm always looking for a replacement.

I hope you are feeling better now, love to you all xx

Anonymous said...

What a mess !!! So sorry you are really getting wacked. I have a small understanding of your situation having endured a rare tornado, in Pennsylvania no less, a few years ago. We found photos and garments of strangers less fortunate then us hanging in our trees afterward along with a mass of other debris. Really weird to see your world change in a instant. Thankfully our house was not damaged.

Nature is so remarkably powerful. It is truely humbling.

I hope your house repairs are accomplished swiftly . You earned extra credit for finding and wearing such a pretty dress in the aftermath of such turmoil.

Best Wishes Always,
Gail from Pa.

Vix said...

Jon lives in perpetual fear of high winds with all our trees, that tornado must have been terrifying.
I hope you feel better now and that the plasterer sorts out the mess quickly.
That dress looks fabulous! x

JanF said...

How frightening for you all. I am so glad that you came through unscathed, could obviously haven been so much worse. Once the damage is fixed it will become an interesting memory.

Goody said...

I did see the news, it is awful. What happened to us was really nothing in comparison.

Yeah, you'd think if it was ever time for people to grab the pitchforks and run out the bums this would be it but looking around the news it seems like no one has the desire so these awful leaders get to keep ruining things. Sometimes it really feels like we're all doomed. Maybe we are.

Finally, yesterday they asked for an emergency declaration-talk about taking their time. I guess there was enough outcry that it was starting to look like it might cost someone an election if they didn't get things moving. How sad it has come to this.
I have to say, my stomach hasn't exactly been good but it has been worse since the surgery. I did a search for "Can laparoscopic surgery cause IBS" and well, yeah it can. And does quite often so yay, something else to deal with now.

We have a flat roof, which probably helped with wind but was less protection against something falling through it. You win some you lose some :)
If you spend enough time reading the dinosaur tumblr you'll start saying things like, "A meal should be foodful". I find myself using dino speak and then having to explain it!

Take your chilled Gatorade up a level and make slush. All you need is a metal tray in the freezer and a fork to give it a stir every 30 minutes. If it gets too hard you can always add vodka!
The lack of cooperation is disgusting.
I hope you're feeling better too.

The main body of the tree survived and appears healthy which almost feels like a miracle. I do think it needs some serious limb trimming though. The tree is old, so it would have been a shame to loose it. The garden surviving was pretty lucky. It is on the south side of the house and has a very sheltered spot. Most years it gets hit with hail in our spring storms, so this was unexpected.

@Miss Magpie
You'd think they would get voted out but the American capacity to vote against our own interests is really something! I don't know what it would take to vote out Republicans in Nebraska.

Isn't it wild how storms/tornados can hit one house and leave another untouched? When we had our 2008 tornado it blew out my dining room windows and brought down plaster atop my table but left the depression glass bowl and plate sitting in the middle alone. It was mind boggling.
Our damage is annoying but not too bad. The people across from us have their entire ceiling sagging into their living room.
The plastering is scheduled for the second week of August so fingers crossed.

Hopefully you never experience a tornado or similar-it is so fast, you barely get a chance to take cover. I've lived here a long time but I can't say I'll ever really get used to the extreme weather.

I'm thinking I have enough interesting memories now :)

Anonymous said...

So sorry you had to go through that terrible storm and also while being sick! OMG Glad to hear no one was hurt. Also glad to hear your roof got fixed quickly. Water damage sucks! Hope you get things back to normal soon. Take care, Arlene from NJ

JanF said...

Don't you just!