Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Memories

Hurricane Iwa--see the small yellow Hawaiian islands?
Almost 30 years ago, I prepared for another hurricane, Hurricane Iwa, which hit the Hawaiian Islands 2 days before Thanksgiving.  A high school senior, I worked at Punahou's health center because I was a scholarship kid.  I didn't even know a hurricane was coming, but as we fielded calls from concerned parents, I got a crash course in hurricane prep.

Punahou released us early, and we rushed to Long's Drugs to buy extra masking tape, which we taped in criss-crosses onto our large picture windows.  Every room in our house had at least one giant picture window, which meant there was no safe place to huddle from the possibility of flying glass!

My family of 6 eventually spent the power-free, storming night huddled in sleeping bags by our front door, a door flanked by only 2 narrow panels of glass--the most glass-free space in our entire home.

As a teen, I was excited to experience Hurricane Iwa, and even a little disappointed when I awoke at 3 a.m. to silence.

Even though I'm presumably a mature adult, I still felt the same excitement about experiencing Hurricane Irene, even with my sister's family visiting--more for the adventure!  We made necessary arrangements including buying:
  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • $40 worth of dry ice for our deep freezer and fridge
  • canned corned beef hash and black beans (er, we didn't actually need them given how much food I always have on hand, but I always like having more corned beef hash!) 
We filled every big pot in our house plus our bathtub with water.  Scott shoved every outside piece of furniture into our little backyard shed, even tomato wires, and we rolled the grill behind it.  Because he's considered "emergency personnel" at his hospital, he got all the latest updates on weather-related issues and forwarded them to me.

We were set.  

Yesterday, we awoke at 8 a.m. to trees bending in the wind.  

"Wimpy storm," said Scott.

Church was cancelled, so I was able to make a nice brunch for the 10 of us.  As I cleaned up by the kitchen window, a huge gust of wind blew--enough for my brother-in-law to say, "Look at that gust!"

I looked out the window just in time to see our giant 45-50 foot blue spruce topple over with a "Whump!" and crush 2 of our fences.


Two hours later we lost power.  Did you know that losing power and a tree while hosting your sister's family with 6 house-bound kids isn't as fun as I thought it would be?

Despite it all, I'm extremely grateful to God that our tree conveniently avoided crushing neighbors/children/houses/swimming pools--even our neighbor's plastic playhouse!  If it had to fall, it fell in exactly the place that caused the least damage or loss of life/health/property.

All to say I think I can wait another good 30 years before experiencing another hurricane.


athanasius said...

It's always more fun to be the kids in these situations. :-)

Mary said...

I was reminded of Iwa also. Even used that to prod my young adult children to get themselves in gear and HELP with the preparations my sibs and I had finished before our mother made it home from her work at Queens.
Eat the ice cream. Boil the eggs. And then feast on everything that was thawing after two days without power. That was quite a Thanksgiving!
Just got our power back here this afternoon. Sorry to hear about your tree.