I should have known when the tornado hit Anamosa, that this week would not be the best. It didn’t matter that there was a three day weekend coming up at the end of it. When your Monday consists of 80 mph winds and flooding throughout your immediate area, chances are the rest of the week is going to rather suck.
I had just returned from Cedar Rapids getting food and running errands when the skies started turning that lovely green colour you can only get in tornado weather. Ducking into the safety of home, I dropped the groceries on the floor of the kitchen and turned on the news to see maps of our area on doppler radar splashed with huge swaths of yellow and red across the screen and the robotic voice of the NOAA computer indicating what warnings and watches were in effect. Straight line winds of 80 miles per hour and more, thunderstorms, golf ball-sized hail, flash floods. Batten down the hatches and take cover.
Merissa, our Labrador Retriever / Pointer mix, was pacing about me nervously as I pulled in the wind chimes, the deck furniture and my life-sized mosaic peacock sculpture into the safety of the living room. She and I then went downstairs to the basement, into the safety of the herb / craft room because it is in the ground, has wooden shutters on all of the windows, it is the safest place in the house. There among the jars of herbs, the craft and painting supplies and near the heavy floor loom, I could see by cautiously peering out one of the shutters, that all hell was breaking loose outside. We lost power just as I heard the high pitched squeal and roar of tornadic winds rushing through, the logs groaned and creaked against the high winds. It was all loud enough that I didn’t even hear the cracking limbs of the elm tree by our driveway when it crashed to the ground. I remember praying to Shu and to any gods that would listen that we could weather the storm.
The winds finally subsided after about 15 minutes or so, but we were still without power, internet and cellphone service. The phone service came back in a couple of hours. However, internet and power would remain off until 2:30 a.m. the next day. In town, I am told that there are still homes that are completely without power. The damage was widespread enough that I am told we got a mention on the nationwide broadcast of the Weather Channel and I happened to catch a mention on CBS This Morning from Charlie Rose. Workers from Servicepro across the country have been dispatched to help deal with the damage. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured or killed this time around. By the time the 4th of July rolled around, the town’s fireworks had been postponed until August 31st and everyone was too damned exhausted from clearing away downed limbs and uprooted trees and debris that no one felt much like celebrating much of anything.
On Tuesday, the hard drive of Hemingway, my inherited desktop, decided to start handing out errors. It had not yet failed but its death knell was being sounded. I grabbed one of my 1 TB external drives and began the long process of backing up everything while I set up a brand new alienware machine. Don’t get me wrong. I love new computer toys. I dread setting up a new machine however because the OS is new and quirky and I have to spend time familiarizing myself with it. I also have to find all of the disks for all of the programs that I use in order to get the new machine set up to where it is workable. Those programs have to be loaded and licenses entered (Thank goodness I have a master file for this!) Not to do this means straddling two or more machines in order to be able to function in my home office. Every time I go through this, I vow I will have all of the disks in the same place so that all I have to do is open a drawer and the process will be streamlined. I confess, I am still working on that one.
Last night my trusty HP DV9000 laptop decided that the wireless network card needed to stop working. I just happened to have another USB network card on hand and loaded it. It is working now, but it has the nasty habit of making me retype my network password every time it loses its connection.
Hopefully, I will finish my client work by the time I have to toddle back down to the store and deal with being around people again tonight. So far the sky is clear and the birds are singing. Being out here, in spite of the storms and the occasional challenges is worth it all. To borrow a line from the Concrete Blonde song, “Take Me Home”, off of their ‘Group Therapy‘ album,
“Life is beautiful, & terrible & strange….”
In my experience and in this place, I have found it to be completely true. And to be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.