Thursday, September 1, 2011

Earthquake and Hurricane- What a Week!

Well, I finally have a chance to catch my breath and write down what has happened. About ten days ago, Virginia had an earthquake! A fairly large one, it measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. This is a very unusual event in Virginia. It did a lot of damage in the county that housed the epicenter, but much less damage elsewhere. I went out to the farm where Buckshot lives the next day and learned that the horses on the farm weren’t upset by the earthquake. They just stood still in their pastures and didn’t run around in worry. The farm didn’t have any damage from it, either. Good news.

Last Saturday, Hurricane Irene hit the entire east coast, doing a lot of damage in Virginia (as well as in other states). The Richmond area, where I live, had massive power outages, tree and water damage. Luckily, my home wasn’t damaged, but I lost power. Such extensive power outages cause worries about other services. First, communications- will cell phones work? Will landline telephones work? Telephone service, by all means, was spotty and sporadic. A lot of land lines were cut off because the wires were damaged. Also, will gas stations be able to operate? Will gas become scarce? Are businesses able to operate, such as my employer? Will ATM’s be operational, allowing for cash withdrawals? And are my family members alright, with ice and water?

So the first few days were all about survival. I checked on my family. I drove very little, although I had made sure I had a full tank of gas before the hurricane hit. I conserved my gas for several days until I was sure gas stations were operating. That’s why I didn’t drive out to Buckshot’s barn to see him. I was pretty sure that he was fine; the horses had endured twelve-plus hours of rain and wind, but they all had shelter and usually will run away from a crashing tree.

Without power, I focused on the essentials. The company I work for had electricity and was operational. At lunch and after work, I searched for ice for my coolers. I ate shelf-stable food I’d bought in preparation for the hurricane. It doesn’t taste all that good, but it will keep you alive. I topped up my gas tank at every gas station I passed. I learned to read by flashlight and keep myself occupied at home. Don’t tell Martha Stewart this but on Sunday, sitting all day at home without power and bored, I washed my bathroom floor by flashlight!! I hate housework, so it really shows how bored I was. I tried to read a book about horses but my mind wasn’t really on it. I listened to the radio to learn anything about local conditions and repairs. I learned to do sponge baths.

It sure does require some mental discipline to survive things like this. Mentally, you have to be patient, as there isn’t anything you can do to hurry up getting your power back on. You have to be resourceful, to carve out places and times to get food that doesn’t need refrigeration, as well as ice, water, and gas. You have to be able to have your life turned topsy-turvy and keep doing the essentials, with grace and politeness. Even though you are grumpy, you have to hold it in and be as nice as is humanly possible, because everyone around you is also dealing with the difficulties of surviving and sorting out various problems. But then, when your power comes back on, you can let loose and do an actual little dance of joy! Oh, yes, a sense of humor is invaluable, too!

On Tuesday, I called the farm where Buckshot lives. Telephone service continued to be unreliable whether landline or cell phone, but I got one message from the BO: “The farm is fine, static, static, static…” And that was all I needed to hear; they were fine. I was sure Buckshot was fine.

I finally went out to the barn on Wednesday after work. Luckily, his farm hadn’t had a lot of damage. A few trees had come down, a few roof shingles had come off, and a lot of debris was everywhere, especially the woods and the trails, but all the people and animals had made it through the hurricane. I went to Buckshot and gave him lots of hugs, and told him how much I had missed him and how was he? He seemed just fine. Some of the gutters on his barn have come down, a lot of boards on the adjacent round pen are on the ground, but he and his pasturemate were fine. That made me feel just wonderful, to see him and talk to him and hug him. He was glad I came to feed him.

And after driving back home last night, I arrived to electricity!! Wonderful to have lights and air conditioning back! I did the “power back on” dance in my kitchen!! There are still many, many people without power here, but I am glad to have mine back.

So there will be a lot of restoration here. And hopefully, this next hurricane, Katia, won’t hit the east coast again. That would be just terrible to have another hit after just barely getting over Hurricane Irene. This weekend I look forward to good weather at the barn and spending time with Buckshot. And it’s a three day weekend so I will get extra time with him. Wonderful!!

I do hope that if you were in the path of this hurricane, you and your horses and loved ones are all doing fine. And if you were lucky enough to not be anywhere near this hurricane, I hope you and your horses had a great weekend! Now that my power is back, I’m looking forward to getting this post on my blog and going to your blogs to read what is new with each of you! Thank you so much to Kate and Juliette – your comments of concern for Buckshot and I were very kind!


Once Upon an Equine said...

That was a double whammy. I hope you don't get a triple. I'm glad you and Buckshot are fine.

juliette said...

You sure endured some not so great conditions! I thought of you after the earthquake. We felt it too and turned on the television to learn it was near/in Richmond. I didn't know you lived there, but I thought you and Buckshot were somewhere near there.

Hot water and electric are so wonderful! Hooray! So glad you and Buckshot and his friends were fine.