You wouldn't think people living in the midwestern United States would be much affected by a major hurricane hitting the gulf coast. But early last Sunday afternoon, Ike came to my state and mixed it up with a cold front moving in from the north. There wasn't much rain, but wind gusts were clocked as high as 75 miles per hour. That's hurricane force, folks.
No lives were lost and we didn't get much rain, but our historic neighborhood with its many mature trees was hit hard. Falling trees destroyed cars, damaged houses, and took out power lines. Since early Sunday evening, chain saws have been buzzing everywhere, but several of our streets are still blocked by huge fallen trees. And in front of every house --and I do mean every house--is an enormous pile of limbs.
Three days after the Big Wind, over one-third of the residents in our major metropolitan area (yes, I'm being coy about where I live) are still without power. The electricity was off at Chez Coulter for more than 24 hours, so we lost a refrigerator full of food. It came back on for a while, but went off again. Last night we got it back, to the envy of many of our neighbors. The power company expects it to be a full week before they have 90% of its customers back online.
Of course I'm grateful that our house and cars weren't squished by falling trees, but my garden was ravaged by the winds. One wood arbor (not the big one by the patio) was ripped out of the ground and smashed. A rose trellis was pulled up, but we might be able to repair that and we should be able to save the rosebush. Large pots of flowers were knocked over by the wind, including a poured-concrete urn that I can't even lift.
My hunk o' burnin' love has already dealt with the fallen tree limbs, but zillions of small branches still need to be picked up. Both fountains are full of leafy litter and need to be emptied. Several rosebushes need to have their broken canes trimmed...and so on. Unfortunately, the bulk of the garden cleanup will have to wait for more than a week.
Later this morning I'm leaving for Minneapolis and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I'll be away from my blogging desk until Friday, September 26. The original plan was to schedule blog posts to appear during my absence, but after spending the better part of three days "being Amish" (doing without electricity), I don't have time to organize that now.
If you're attending the conference or if you live in the area and plan to stop by the huge Mall of America booksigning on Saturday, don't look for me at the signing. Yes, I do have a book out this month. But the noise and confusion of a multi-author booksigning is a little too much for a highly distractible person who also suffers from chronic headaches. It's easier for me to just skip it! But I'm not a shy person by any stretch, so please hunt me down at the conference and say hello.