Living the Sweet Life:

“It was the best of times . . .in that we have come together to make each other whole. It was the worst of times . . .
in that we have seen and lived through such a storm that created devastating loss.”

Tornados came through and tore up Sienna Point, trees were snapped off and pulled up with roots half in the ground like a giant pulling up carrots from the garden!

Well my friends, it’s been an ordeal. Never when I went to the Appalacian Mountains as a small child and walked through the upside down house at the Wizard of Oz Amusement Park did I ever think that I would sleep through tornados and find my neighborhood turned upside down.

Never did I think that I would ever strip naked and bathe in a cold swimming pool about to turn green and consider myself “clean enough.” Never did I think I could survive for seven long days without power or running water, hauling buckets of green pool water into the toilets to flush like Game of Thrones  never ever never!

I also never knew I had so many guardian angels!  For many of us, there were a lot of first time – and we hope last time – experiences in August. We saw our friends lose their homes, their cars and heard of families even losing their children. Our uncomfortable situation seemed to pale in comparison. It was uncomfortable and at times, unbearable, but it made us stronger, and we can say we lived through it.

Our experience began Saturday evening as we lost power, and around 9 pm, our neighbors offered their generator. Had they not insisted we take it, we would have lost all of our food and not been able to stay through the stormy next few days.

The tornados had done significant damage to the roof, as evidenced by swelling sheetrock in the dining room that Brian promptly poked a hole in with a skewer to let it drain.  Eventually, it collapsed all over the hardwood floor but had we not babysat it throughout several days, it would have been a dining room filled with water.

Then, the pictures began crashing out of the sheetrock onto the floor! That was scary because ya’ll know I have some large portraits like everywhere, so I really did not know what was going to happen next! Then, I was sitting on the couch trying to get some light since my house is dark and with no power even darker, when I felt a splash! I looked up and the entire window sill was dripping water coming in through the wall onto the couch and floor. This water became a wall as the rains did not subside, and we funneled it into a tarp into a chest cooler and dumped it religiously every four hours. Again, had we not stayed, the entire downstairs would have been under water.

Sasha was so happy to sun bathe after the rain subsided.

My poor cats. They were on the side porch where the men have their Bible study and cigars, and it looked like the movie The Money Pit. We placed buckets everywhere to catch the water, but despite all of that, the furniture and beautiful wood paneled walls were damaged beyond repair. You see, what Sasha did the first opportunity to see sun; she stretched herself across the patio without a care in the world thankful to not be cooped up in the soupy porch.

After seven days, the power came back on and Saturday night, when I went to take a bath for the first time in a week, there was a rather plump spider in the tub. I called Brian in to relocate it. However, around 10:30 pm while I was in the kitchen, I felt something go by my foot. I looked down onto a well-lit floor to see a snake slithering past me into the dining room! Brian was asleep, James Edward was called to watch it so I could strap on my boots and grab a rake. Y’all, I beat the life out of that snake. He did not stand a chance! I don’t normally kill things, but I had had enough.

St. Catherine filled to the brim on Sunday after the storm. Father Mike (another Guardian Angel) helping bring us back emotionally and aiding those who lost their homes in the storm.

What I have not had enough of is the kindness and beautiful spirit of humanity that I have witnessed during these trying times. My neighbors offered their homes for us to bathe and did our laundry. The generator donation saved us losing so much more. Countless friends texted and called and offered to come get us, to house us and feed us, and we will never forget their generosity and willingness to help. Father Mike texted me every single day and checked in on us. On Sunday, he explained that when we come together like we have, it’s actually Jesus showing up through us. Like a band of guardian angels, Kelli Brown, Ryan Karnowski and Terry Saenz dropped in with notepads in hand and assured me that in no time things would be right again and new.

Before all of this started, Brian quoted from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities when the first drops of rain began. Little did he realize just how appropriate these words would become for each of us. You will recall it begins with: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” I believe I speak for all of us in saying that prior to the storm, we all seemed to be bickering about senseless stuff. Now we have come together and shown a goodness that we all have deep inside to care for each other. Let’s keep the best of what we are inside close to our hearts and with thanksgiving try to always remember how to treat each other even when things are all going okay.

Take Care of YOU!

P.S. I’ll be sending you Auntie A’s full-proof Hurricane Check List very soon!

Auntie A’s Team of Guardian Angels: Terry Saenz, Ryan Karnowski and Kelli Brown. These guys came out on Labor Day to let me know they were going to get everything put back. Kelli kept checking on me before the power even came back on. Call me if you need their numbers!