Last Friday, Hurricane Florence was kind of like a dead-beat dad.
Was she going to show? Was she not going to show? We seriously didn’t know.
We’d been sitting around the house off of school since noon on Wednesday.
Prepping a week’s worth of meals.
Stocking our freezer with bags of ice.
Visiting our local library and checking out 48 different books we could read over what we expected to be days without power and water. (Because truly, there is no mama death like death from bored, complaining kids locked in the same room.)
By Friday morning, when we were already supposed to be feeling the effects of the “hurricane of a lifetime,” we’d already built forts, created a Lego massage parlor, done every piece of laundry in the house and run the dishwasher three times.
Our flashlights were filled with fresh batteries, our bath tubs were filled with water.
We’d even deep cleaned the house in anticipation of the filth we might be living in for the next week with four boys in one room with no electricity and no running water.
And still, Flo was a no-show.
At one point, I posted this to the blog Facebook page:
I have pitched this whole ordeal as the Mama-son adventure of a lifetime. And if you don't start moving a little faster, we're going to be out of games, junk food, cooperation and sanity before you even make an appearance.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm totally good with avoiding the predicted 15 inches of rain for our area.
But if you have so graciously chosen to spare us, could you please just send me a signal or something?
I might need to cut off my own power to not disappoint the boys who've been promised backyard kayaking and a week-long campout on the family room floor.
Your boymom friend,
But Friday night, after we played “hurricane ball” and jumped on a trampoline as the storm began to approach (NOTE: No matter how bad the cabin fever, it is never a wise idea to play on a trampoline in a hurricane — because when a gust of winds lifts your boys completely off the ground, you may just regret attempting to be a “fun mom” and return to lockdown board games instead), the slowest dead-beat dad on the face of the planet finally arrived.
And turned into a stalker.
She may have been slow to arrive, but now, the woman just WILL. NOT. GO. AWAY.
If you had asked me Saturday morning what I thought about Hurricane Florence once it moved inland, I would have told you I was not all that impressed.
We live two and a half hours from the coast, but even so, she put up some mighty fine winds. Two boys were up scared silly in the middle of the night, and even I was wondering Friday night if I should have reinforced my windows.
We’d tied our trampoline to a tree, put our basketball hoop on its side and we’d removed all the patio furniture from your back yard. But out here on our land, we’re surrounded by massive trees, many of which are taller than the entire length of my house.
As I listened to the wind whip against our windows Friday night, I wondered how many of those trees would still be standing come morning.
But Saturday morning, after the wind died down to only 20 and 30 mph, the damage didn’t seem all that bad.
Two of our pines had downed, and the logs that make up the walls of our home were leaking.
My dear friend texted me pictures of her trampoline, which had been crushed in the night, and a few other friends let us know that they’d lost shingles and trees and small pieces of furniture.
Although we’d totally lost internet and cell phone service by mid-morning Saturday, we were miraculously blessed to maintain power — one of the only people we knew to do so.
Looking out our front windows Saturday morning, we would have told you the damage was akin to a bad rain storm, but not much more.
But now, more than 17 inches of rain and multiple relentless thunderstorms in our town later, Flo is making a statement.
Strength has nothing on steadfastness.
With internet back by yesterday morning, we read that two dams within an hour of our house were expected to breach, and cities we frequently visit and shop at were already under partial water with mandatory evacuation orders.
We were shocked by the pictures of water-logged streets we’d walked just earlier this month.
If the rain continued and more roads closed, we knew we’d need more supplies to feed four famished boys (who do nothing but eat all day long on this lockdown) throughout the week.
So yesterday afternoon, we tried to venture out to resupply on food and check out the local damage.
Although many of our local stores and restaurants had re-opened and many of the main shopping areas were clear, the back roads to access them were continuing to worsen.
We had to navigate around closed roads to get back to our house. One neighborhood had empty construction lots that looked more like lakes. Roadside creeks I had never noticed before looked more like rushing rivers, and many of the small ponds and lakes we passed were filled to the brim.
With saturated soil, new trees had fallen on power lines all along our route.
This morning, I woke to texts from friends whose rivers and lakes had overflowed with the pounding rainstorm overnight.
One of my dear friends, who’d been out of power most of the weekend, left with her family to shower at a friend’s … and, by the time they returned, could no longer access the road to their home.
This is what the road I drove on the day before the storm looks like today.
And our local officials tell us it’s only going to get worse.
Rainstorms are still on the radar until tonight, and tomorrow, rivers are expected to crest and dams are expected to breach all around our state.
About half of my local friends are still without power, and the local utility company reports that they aren’t even going to provide projections for restoration until later today — on Day 4 of outages for many of them.
And with new trees taking down power lines every day, there’s no real guess how long total restoration will take.
The boys and I are beyond thankful that we never lost power (a true miracle) and we live on a hill. Although our property is forming small rivers and lakes all through it, none of them are anything close to the REAL rivers and lakes that are flooding our friends and neighbors in this state.
We are safe. We are blessed. We are grateful beyond grateful for all the ways we have been spared.
But we would love to ask YOU, the Orphan Warriors who pray and fight so hard for these precious kiddos overseas, to please pray right now with that same warrior spirit for our state and so many of our friends and coworkers and neighbors and loved ones, some of them in the completely devastated area of Wilmington (a town we visited earlier this summer), who are facing flooding and new evacuation orders and extended power outages and severe loss today.
Flo may not have been the windy Cat 4 warrior we once were expecting, but she’s been a pesky and persistent little stalker … the kind who leaves a string of both physical and emotional damage in her wake.
Thank you for standing in the gap for all these precious people who have been assaulted by her rage and rain today.