Saturday, August 27, 2011

hurricane Irene punishes the wicked and innocent alike

Hurricane Irene bearing down on us
Well, I lied.  Not intentionally of course, but Irene did get in the way of Annie's visit, so she is going to come down next weekend instead.  Since we were going to have an entire weekend of rain and high winds I decided to take the day off Friday anyway because I have not had a chance to get any gardening done in the past 3 weeks with all of this rain.  I had every intention of going mountain biking yesterday, because I knew that as it was after Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the Wissahickon would be in bad shape after the amount of water and wind we were getting this weekend.  But there were just too many chores to get done before the storm including getting compost from the Fairmount Park Recycling center and spreading it in the gardens (humping heavy trashcans full of black gold in and out of the Infiniti and up my front steps) making kombucha, taking the pups to the park, and going to Home Depot to get supplies to fix my leaky shower The Depot was packed and it was 2:30 on a Friday; they told me they sold out of generators at noon.  There was hours of gardening and clean-up and Colin came over and helped me move my trees and plants in the front to a safe location out of harm's way.  Then I had long beans, Asian eggplants, cucumbers, peppers and herbs to pick, and I had to grill them up along portabello mushrooms and zucchini from the market.  One can't grill in the rain, so of course this all had to be done on sunny Friday.  The long and short of it is I never did get on my bike, or even out for a quick run.

So this morning I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and lo and behold, it had not started raining yet. I did a lap in the park before it the sky even broke.  I was a little disappointed at how tired my legs were today, considering I took Thursday and Friday off, but I did do a lot of physical labor yesterday.  There was already a good amount of  damage in the park from all of the storms we've been having this August.  I counted three large trees down, and the trails were really rutted and all the rocks were greasy; it made it tough in places to get your wheel over stuff if you couldn't dig deep.  I was worried that maybe I was not really feeling better after all, and this chronic lethargy in my legs would continue into the fall.  And because my body felt tired,  I did not feel confident riding in those conditions, and this pissed me off a bit, but I reminded myself that it would all come back, it always does.  Christ I was riding some of this stuff on a borrowed cyclocross bike with screwed up gears just last Saturday at the Cadence Cyclocross Boot Camp.  Riding the Yeti was a definite improvement.  Mainly because my wrists could not handle the lack of suspension.  As I was leaving the park I ran into Jeff Schalk and a female pro whose name escapes me, I guess they drove up from Virginia to get a ride in before the Hurricane caught up with them.

I finally got home, showered, had my chocolate recovery shake and took the dogs back to the park for a swim in the creek, which was swollen and muddy from all of the prior rain.  It started to rain before we got there, but I didn't care.  We did get a swim in, and Madison and Chloe discovered how hard it is to paddle against the current in those conditions.  At one point I was standing in the middle of the stream pushing each dog from the root of the tail through the strong currents until they got to the other side.  Then when I commenced swimming for the other bank I almost could not make it; it was that angry in the water.

So we got home, I gave us each a bath, cleaned the entire house, did seven loads of laundry, and placed candles everywhere in case we lost power.  By early this evening the wind was really whipping up and I had to go outside in my PJs at one point  to take down the large umbrella on the back patio which I thought would be protected by the 7 foot fence.  65 mph gusts are pretty extreme and I did not like the way it was flapping as if it were a helicopter rotor about to spin wildly up and out of its base.

 I assembled and pan-fried some bean and mushroom burgers and stir-fried my chinese long beans with peanuts with home-grown english cucumber and purple cherokee heirloom tomato salad and sat down to eat and enjoy a glass of pinot noir while the dogs munched on their raw chicken and beef liver approvingly.  They were pretty content as after their jaunt in the park and mandatory bath they had been lounging around chewing beef marrow bones all day while mom toiled away with the vacuum cleaner.  What I would give to be reincarnated as one of my dogs.
It's almost 11 now, and I know the worst of the Hurricane will arrive while we are sleeping.  So far my bilco doors are not leaking, but the roof in my bathroom is weeping a little. Oh well, it could be worse.  I'm just hoping if and when we do lose power it's not for long, because my fridge and two freezers are brimming with food.

Not sure if we will have power tomorrow, but if not I will have to venture out in the storm and plant my fall crops: mostly lettuce, some radishes, carrots, and beets.  If they don't get washed away the tenacious little sprouts will taste even sweeter, I imagine, because they were sewn in the swirling winds and driving rain of the worst hurricane to hit the east coast since Floyd in 1999.  I will keep you posted if anything crazy happens.  Like the worst earthquake to hit the East Coast in seven decades?  Yeah that was Tuesday.  I'll get to that post too.

Hurricane Floyd caused massive damage back in 1999.  Irene could do the same or worse.

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