Friday, September 12, 2008

Battening down the hatches

(I just love that expression, don't you?)

So, I finally found it. The ONE good thing about summer spilling over, in all its 95-degree glory, into September, where it has no business being. Yup, just when it starts to get really depressing, just when you think you might drive off an overpass if another LL Bean catalog arrives proclaiming the arrival of Autumn with its lovely Fair Isle sweaters, you look out your window and you see this:

This called for a major post-dinner Oxiclean fest on the back patio, while the evening sky glowed strangely with the anticipation of something big coming. The setting sun reflected pink off of the huge clouds that had been quietly amassing all day. Tim was up on the ladder removing dead branches that could fall on the house during the night, and the kids watched for fireflies from their tree fort as I tried to remove potential projectiles (like water guns and Tonka diggers) and scrubbed the clothes.

It's very surreal, this Hurricane Ike thing. I know it's a big deal, and the poor people in Galveston, if anyone's left, are probably watching their leather recliners float down the street by now*, but here in Austin, easily in contention for Most Paranoid City in the Country, it's been hot and sunny all day. Because the roads were supposedly so incredibly clogged with evacuee traffic from the coast, all the schools were let out around noon today (some towns had no school at all), and the libraries and city offices closed at 3 p.m. Theoretically, everyone was preparing for the storm and trying to stay off the highways, but I can tell you as an eyewitness that an awful lot of them were at Target cleaning out the flashlight section and stocking up on Wine Cubes. Or at Costco, desperately hoarding water bottles, giant jars of jellybeans, and bottles of spinach-parmesan dip. You know, the bare necessities.

We've gathered our flashlights and candles in case we lose power tonight or tomorrow, and then there's the supply of games and books to help ward off the panic brought on by the loss of electronics. We might play this game, having learned it today and loved it and even sneaked in some math skills:

Eliza asked at dinner, "Will there be a storm while we're sleeping tonight? Will it be LOUD?" to which Ian responded, "But that will be cool! Because we can all cuddle up in the closet in one giant ball that's flourishing with blankets!"

Indeed, we -- the whole giant ball of us -- shall flourish. But in the meantime, I'm off to watch the local news media salivate over this real! live! disaster!

(Edited to add: I'm not trying to trivialize the very real possibility of losses of life there in Galveston, just to clarify. It's hard to understand why someone would stay there under those circumstances, but we're praying for them nonetheless.)


Jenny said...

Those photos totally stress me out just looking at them! You're a WAY cooler mom than me for letting that happen!

Hope everyone stays safe in the storm...having been through countless hurricanes in my life, they just aren't a whole lot of fun!

Oh...and for hurricane supplies, my dad always insisted on buying SPAM. Why??? We never could figure that one out, as the rest of us insisted we'd rather starve than ever eat it. ;)

Margo Cousins said...

We were kind of frustrated with the dramatic warnings too. Bastrop was under Tropical Storm warning - they had nary a drop of rain. I agree, not to say it's not a serious situation on the coast, but PAH-LEASE people!

On the other side of the coin is the apathy that gets a lot of people in big trouble during storms. So I'm glad we're not in that situation.

Ok, I'm just mad that we had no rain out of this whole ordeal!