Saturday, October 15, 2016

From Hermine to Matthew!

Well, I'm happy to be home and able to report that there was very little damage from the storm.  One piece of metal trim was blown off the house in back, and this tree was precariously leaning over the driveway. The guy who does my yard was schedule to come the day after we returned, which he did.  He cleaned the debris, which was a lot, and removed the tree; so that problem was quickly resolved.

As you can imagine, evacuating is quite an experience.  To be honest, I was busy doing voter registration and had given the storm very little thought, until Camille passed by as we were registering voters and mentioned her concern for her husband being evacuated from the Brookdale facility, as well as getting herself, two days and a bird ready!  It was only then that I began thinking about it.  David called and asked my plans and I said I'd probably go to NC near my relatives.  He had already booked a room in Augusta.  I checked for rooms online and they were already filling up.  I then touched bases with my friend Rhonda, whose brother had already evacuated.  I invited her to join me, and the next day we left around noon.....with two cats and Rosie. Things went smoothly until we got to Wadesboro, where the motel would not accept animals!!  Undaunted, we headed toward Charlotte, feeling sure we would get a room.  One place after another was already fully booked, and those that weren't would not take pets.  I was amazed that no concession was made, knowing that we were evacuation a major storm and would not leave our pets behind.  As it is getting dark, Rhonda suggests she call her friends near Asheville.  They graciously invited us up.  So we proceed from Charlotte to Candler, NC, arriving around 10:30PM!

Dee and Rob have an idyllic little farm, which Rosie and I thoroughly enjoyed.  There were so many new smells for Rosie and she was like a little sniffing machine. I took her out often, not wanting her to have an accident inside, and we both enjoyed the scenery and the other animals.  Rosie was perfect, with one slight exception......the one and only time I let her out off leash, she went straight for the chickens!  I would be bad enough if there had been a flock of chickens, but Dee has only two chickens - Georgia and Carolina, that Dixie Chicks!!  I've never seen Rosie run so fast, and Rhonda, Dee and I were trying to round her up, with no success at all.  The episode was over when the chicken escaped and Rosie couldn't find her.  Rhonda rounded up Georgia and I got Rosie, who was from there on referred to as "the chicken chaser"!  I was mortified!

With the exception of one day, the weather there was nice, though much cooler than here. Since we did not expect to wind up in the mountains, I had thrown in only one pair of long pants.  So one day, both Rhonda and I had to go shopping for warmer clothes!  I also picked up lots of vegetarian grub so as no to be a burden at mealtimes. As you saw in the video, we had a nice day in Asheville, which I totally enjoyed. We had a pizza night AND a karaoke night which, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rob is into music and films and he had a treasure chest of karaoke music on his computer.  I insisted on being a backup singer, but it was lots of fun!  

On Monday, a neighbor posted on our neighborhood site that she would be happy to check on anyone's house.  So, I texted her and within 20 minutes, I know that my house was undamaged and a tree was almost down.  What a relief!!  Compared to the island, Bluffton was very fortunate.  As we drive back up Hwy 278 on Tuesday, I was surprised at how little damage we were seeing, after seeing terrible images of the damage on the island.  Sea Pines and Hilton Head Plantation seemed to take most of the damage. Two friends have tree damage to their homes and are not able to stay there at the moment.  Parts of the island are still without water, can't flush toilets, etc.  So, with everything involved, I am counting my blessings.  Things have gotten back to normal pretty quickly for me, but I know that isn't the case for many of my friends.

Feral cat update:  All 22 cats in three colonies are present and accounted for.  Kathy had just gotten all of their condos cleaned and replaced before all this happened.  Several weeks ago, after feeding Georgie he went back and laid down in front of the condo.  I couldn't resist taking this photo and sending it to the other caregivers.....thought it looked like he was sitting on his front steps!  The addition to this years condo is that they are elevated, which was a great improvement considering all that has happened.  With everyone surviving the storm, they have proven their worth!
This morning I awakened to the sound of a light rain tapping on the piece of metal trim that had blown off the house during the storm.  Those from the south can equate that to the sound of rain on a tin roof!  It took me no time to decide that today was going to be an "at home" day!  I do not plan to leave the house except to put Rosie outside when needed!  I did get out of my PJs but I'm into a more comfortable house dress!  Just what I needed!

Most other things pale in comparison to the storm and evacuation, but I was pretty busy before that took center stage.  I did three days of voter registration, which was very interesting, like people watching on steroids. One man with a thick Germanic accent said that he was registered to vote but didn't know where he was to vote.  He had his registration card in his wallet and I showed him his precinct number, with which he could go online and determine his poll location.  I felt very useful.  One day as I was in front of Petco, a lady got out of her car and sat a beautiful flower arrangement on the curb of the parking lot.  As she approached the store, I asked if she was registered to vote, and she said she was.  Then, to have something pleasant to say, I said, "You're going to make someone's day with those beautiful flowers!".. She then explained that they'd been given to her but had turned over in her car and spilled all the water.  She continued into Petco and did her shopping.  She then went to her car and brought the flowers to me, saying, "You seem like a nice lady and I'd like you to have these."  I was flabbergasted!  She then thanked me for helping with voter registration.  She really did make someone's day!!    

Chris, Sue and I also went into Savannah on September 18th for the closing ceremony of the Tibetan Monks' Mandala making.  I went in on the Thursday before just to see them working on it, which is amazing that they can create something like that in sand......and even more impressive that they destroy it!  The destruction (closing ceremony) represents the impermanence of life, which is a heavy thought!  The procession down to the river is very symbolic and I appreciate it more this time than last.  Basic Buddhist philosophy has so much to offer and having this ritual every couple of years is very comforting. I'm also happy to have like-minded friends....Chris, Sue....and this time we ran into David and Cheryl.

Then on September 24th I went up to NC for a family reunion. It was good to see everyone, though we did have a few political skirmishes, so I'm sure there was a lot discussed among themselves afterwards. I was expecting that as there were riots in Charlotte due to the police shooting of another black man.  Anyway, all seemed to go well.

And, if all of that isn't enough to wear one down, there is always politics!!  All I can say is that I hope level heads will prevail....but it seems that there are fewer and fewer of those around!! It's crazy out there!!  I will share one of my favorite tweets following the first debate where Hillary looked great in that red suit.  Some clever person tweeted, "I see Hillary is dressed in the blood of every man who has ever underestimated her!"  I love that!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this is enough for you to know why I'm having a day at home!!  My hope is that things will settle down for a while.  I am okay and I hope this finds you doing well.  Take care and keep in touch!