Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thar She Blows!


It's hurricane season here in the good ol' Bahamas, the Lesser and Greater Antilles and any other specks of land between Africa and the west side of the Gulf of Mexico.  We are all at the mercy of Ma Nature.  I say "specks of land" because, considering the size of say, a continent, we island folk worry that the little bits of Earth that we exist upon will be sucked up out of the ocean and hurled into some unknown place, much like Auntie Em's house did.  Of course, landing in the Arctic would be a nice refreshing break from the oppressive heat right about now.

The first hurricane I ever experienced was Frances in early September, 2004.  She was a very slow moving, "take your time" kind of storm, island hopping to almost every "rock" in the Bahamas.  When she finally reached our island, she was a Category 2, moving westward at the brisk Bahamian pace of two miles per hour, with an eye of about seventy miles in diameter.  Slow and steady gets the job done, so they say.  There was about a six hour break during the eye of the storm where we could safely go outside, let the dogs out  - oh, they were so relieved to be relieved - and survey the damage.  Then the other side of the storm wall came.  Another twelve or so hours of howling winds.

Since I had never experienced a storm before and I had no idea what to expect, the days preceding it was spent making window shudders, stowing and securing everything and anything that could blow away, making drinking water, buying supplies - basically running around like a nervous wreck.  I was so hyped with adrenaline and trepidation that, as soon as the storm hit,  I promptly went comatose.

Several hours later - don't ask me how long it was, the entire ordeal is kind of a blur - my stepfather (a.k.a.Satan) wakes me up in a panic.  This time I know he isn't shitting me.  "She's getting sucked out of the door!", he says.  "Muwha?", I respond.  I jumped out of bed, ran upstairs and found my mother holding onto the hinged window that was attached to the remaining part of a door.  Had Mom been wearing an old fashioned hoop skirt, she would have been sucked up, spinning in the air like a whirling Dervish.  The wind was howling through the soffits like a freight train.  It was all too surreal.

I secured what was left of the door and plugged up the hole with some corrugated plastic sheeting we had lying around (we don't throw anything out), and pieces of plywood that were, thankfully, in the house.  After checking the other doors, I went back to sleep.

Almost two weeks had passed before we got power and the Internet back and just in time to see Jeanne pull a "Crazy Ivan", diverting her projected northerly safe path to a south then westerly destructive one.  I guess she didn't want to miss out on all of the fun that Frances and Ivan had.  Being a woman, it was her prerogative after all.

We didn't get the full brunt of Jeanne's wrath, but just enough to knock out the power again for a couple more weeks and to re-deposit all of the debris that was gathered up after Frances.  The two trees that were uprooted during Frances remain where they fell, but are thriving.  The sea grape produces sweet grapes and the coconuts still bears its fruit - it's way easier to grab one at ground level than trying to shimmy up the twenty foot tree.

The hardest thing to deal with during a storm is the boredom.  There's no power so there's no television or Internet, but we did have a radio and could listen to "Air America" with Al Franken and friends.  The worst thing, for me at least, was being locked up in the same house with Satan for what seemed like an eternity.  Twice.

It's been six years since a major storm has hit, but I am now getting that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach once again.  There is a storm brewing just above Hispaniola and it looks like it is headed our way  and the westerlies don't appear to be strong enough to steer it northward and away from the islands.  The hurricane centre isn't going to do another fly by until tomorrow, making it unclear as to where it may be headed.  So, I may be away for a bit, making my chore and shopping lists, checking them twice, for I know if the storm comes, it will be naughty, not nice.  And her name will be Bonnie.

"Bonnie lass", my ass.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did You Know...

... that wasn't a  UFO flying over China just recently.

It was the original cap BP used in the Gulf oil spill.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Siren (Epilogue)

It taunts me no more.
Sitting there,
Liberated from its box,
I cannot help but look.
It beckons me with its speed.
Like the caterpillar from its cocoon,
It is as elegant as the butterfly.
It surfs the web
Like a knife cuts through butter.
The Siren has hooked her lover.
The ship has sailed.

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Note to reader:  This is a follow up on my Magpie tale, The Siren .
(And, if you haven't guessed it, both were about my new laptop.)
*doin' the happy dance*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kids Can Do The Darndest Things

The following is a true story (really, I can't make this shit up):

My mother and my maternal aunt and uncle all had kids, and I am one of seven grandchildren.  Like all grandparents, ours had the unfortunate job inevitable joy of looking after us at one time or another, not all at the same time of course, while our respective parents were at work.

My uncle was quite an athlete when he was younger and would watch and involve his sons in many sports as they grew up. He has three boys, the eldest, Kevin (not his real name) being about sixteen years younger than me.  All of his kids would follow in their father’s footsteps by joining hockey and baseball teams at very young ages.  They all played extremely well, I might add.

Before his brothers were born, my grandmother would look after Kevin for a few days a week.  Kevin was about two years old during this time.  When Granny had to run errands, Kevin would be loaded into the obligatory car seat and taken along for the ride.  These trips were usually uneventful.


Like most toddlers do when you are not watching them, Kevin would get into mischief.  So, after returning home one day from shopping, Granny left Kevin in the back seat so she could keep an eye on him while unloading the groceries that were, in those days, still packed in brown paper bags. This would take a few trips back and forth from the car. On her final trip, she was horrified to discover the entire interior of the car had been egged:  it was all over the back seat, the front seat and Kevin was covered in it.  The last and final grocery bag had contained a carton of eggs which had been placed right on top and which was located right beside Kevin in the backseat.

Apparently, Kevin got bored while waiting to be liberated from the car.

Now I'm not sure exactly what was said, but from what I understand, it went something like this:

Granny, not normally known to use expletives, yelled at him, “What in the HELL did you do?”, to which Kevin excitedly cheered, "Baseball!!"

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 Theme Thursday is having a "Ball" - check out the others!