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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane - Part II : The Aftermath

Hurricane Irene reared her voracious winds and bountiful rain in my neighborhood beginning the evening of August 27th.  She made landfall in New Jersey sometime the following morning, moved back out to sea and then hit the New York Metropolitan area somewhat weakened as a tropical storm. 

My wife, Aimee, told me that she would stay up Saturday night and wake me in the event anything needed my attention.  So I went to bed on Saturday evening and went right to sleep.  Our three children slept in the room with me.  Fortunately power remained on all through the night.  I heard some of the rain which was pouring down and was worried about the gutters working properly. 

On Sunday morning, I woke up at about 6:30 am and looked outside.  The view looked okay, the rain seemed as though it was easing up, but the winds looked strong.  I brewed some coffee and watched the news coverage.  At 8:30am, the power went out and as a result our TV coverage was over.  For the remainder of the day, I listened to postings on the radio, both the battery powered and hand crank radio we had on hand. 

By the evening, the skies looked as though it was clearing, the raining had stopped and the wind was less threatening.  The coast was clear to go out and assess the property.  Thank God, there was no damage to the facia of the house, the gutters and fences.  Aside from tree branches and assorted twigs, everything was okay.

That evening for entertainment over a glass of Merlot, I came upon a program from the "Golden Age of Radio."  The program was called The Hurricane and it starred Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre players.  It aired on November 5, 1939.  As a student in High School and College, Orson Welles and the War of the Worlds scare of 1938 was always facinating to me.  In particular, its influence as a mass media tool certainly holds a historical place in our society.  The program was good and it really made me listen carefully and appreciate the work these people did to create the drama.  The drama was also made into a movie directed by John Ford in 1938.

The next day was a gourgeous warm day filled with blue cloudless skies.  Aimee and her sister were off from work.  The picked up ice from the store to keep some food from spoiling as the refrigerator was powered down.  Aimee made breakfast on our propane gas grill.  I made lunch and dinner from the grill as well.  The kids did fine without any tv by playing games, running around outside and riding their bicycles.  On Tuesday, it was my 8th Wedding anniversary to Aimee, who also returned to work.  In the morning frustrations began to mount with the prospects of cold showers.  Additionally, the news we were hearning mentioned that power could be out thru Friday. 

I took the kids to Grandma's that afternoon and enjoyed lunch with Grandma and Grandpa.  She called the house phone at one point after lunch and mentioned that the voice mail picked up.  I drove over to the house to see if power had returned and it had.  What a nice anniversary gift.  I don't think my kids would have been patient for one more evening under our blackout conditions.

Aimee and I went out as Aunt Thania watched the kids for us.  Happy Anniversary Aimee

I hope you all survived Irene and that you each have a restful end of summer and a very  Happy Labor Day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Part 1...

Hurricane Irene, which is to make land at any moment in North Carolina, has caused a great deal of stress for the 65 million Americans or more who reside in its expected path.  My family and I, are just five of those citizens who will be affected by Irene as it approaches New York beginning late tomorrow thru all day Sunday.

As for my previous experience with the fury of a hurricane, I recall flashes of Hurricane Belle in 1976 and Hurricane Gloria in 1985.  During Gloria, as the eye of the storm passed over Long Island, I delivered Newsday which was once a great afternoon newspaper.  My memories of these two events are clouded by the great deal of time that has passed.

Today, I spent a considerable amount of time placing most of our outdoor furniture into my shed in my backyard.  Unfortunately with three children so close in age we have amassed a large amount of toys, childrens vehicles, and other assorted items which take up space which I could use at the moment.  Tomorrow, I have to secure some of these items I intend on keeping outside during Irene's visit.  To make matters more problematic, I have several large items in a garbage space outside as they will be picked up by my town's Sanitation Department on Tuesday, August 30th.  I hope the space I have left these items at will be okay during the hurricane.  We'll see.

Aimee and I have enough water and food to last us in the event of expected power outages.  Small shopping trips were made today and yesterday.  Today, there seemed to be many people at the grocery store stockpiling items such as water, canned foods, eggs and breaf.  Our cars have gas in case we need to get moving, although we reside in an area which didn't require an evacuation.

Despite all this late flurry of activity, I pause and pray that the damages to property and any inconveniences experienced to my neighbors, friends and family will be minimal.

Fingers crossed, stay safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going Going Gone

I just realized that I haven't made any postings for August and there are only a few short weeks left in the month, I better get busy.  My summer vacation began last week and I spent a few days with my kids, cleaning up around my house and tending to the grounds.  In my garden, my tomatoes have produced a nice yield and I plan on expanding my garden to include other vegetables next year. 

In the news, it has been realtively quiet, since my last post.  After much back and forth between the President and the Congressional majority, there was a debt agreement in Washington DC which kept the government open and those Social Security checks to be disbursed.  Following this agreement our political leaders went on summer vacation, so at least no more damage can be inflicted by these men and women until after Labor Day.

Right on cue, the stock market index dropped quite a bit since this debt agreement was reached and this is a bit troubling for everyones 401K portfolios.

In Iowa, the Republican Party candidates for President were up for a straw poll with Michele Bachmann winning with 29% over Ron Paul's 28% of the 17,000 votes cast.  Naturally, the media made a big deal about Bachmann's win and downplayed Paul's showing as the entire straw poll was eclipsed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, announcing in South Carolina?, that he was entering the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.  Personally, I think our country has had enough of Texas governors running for President.  Don't you agree?

Iowa Straw Poll

Finally, I wanted to close giving some "props" to some folks I've been following in the "twitterverse."  First follow @podtourage it's a fun podcast where the core four: Axel Foley, Heath Solo, Donald Jr and Alex Hahn all contribute their views on one or several topics.  It's kinda what I think this blog would be if it was a podcast.  The podcast can be found on I-tunes and their latest is a Pt 1 discussion of the JFK assassination.  Currently streaming on Netflix is a series produced in the late 80's called The Men Who Killed Kennedy and I have watched the four parts available on Netflix.   While the JFK killing occurred well before I was born, its effects have reverberated throughout our country my entire life. 

Also follow @timfinnmusic he was in the New Zealand-Australian band Split Enz and briefly a member of Crowded House which is led by his younger brother Neil.  He and Neil also put out two exceptional Finn Brothers albums in 95 and 2005.  Tim has been working on a new album which will be available at the end of the month, hopefully in the USA soon after that.  His Twitter posts have offered unique perspective into the creative process.  Additionally, he has been pretty cool responding to my tweets.  Thanks Tim. 
Here's a link to a video of the song: Going, Going, Gone.

Going Going Gone - Tim Finn

Please drop a line, I would love to hear from you with any suggestions or comments of your own.
Bye for now.