27 August, 2007

And on the seventh day... We Got Current!!!

This post is in progress. I'll be posting more today, so you may want to check back later on - d

Welcome to Hurricane Dean.

 and After
Yahoo! Fans work, fridge works, lights work, cell phones recharge... Just all manner of wondrous things occur with current ("electricity" to the profane). We can make ice cubes! Yay!

Thanks and big ups to everyone who commented on the blog or emailed or phoned their concerns, wishes, and prayers for those of us who went through Hurricane Dean. It was an experience. Our first category 5 hurricane.

I think we really lucked out. We only had winds of 181 miles per hour (only, he said. Ha, ha, ha.) And we had about 10 to 12 inches of rain. Could have been a lot worse. Our biggest damages in the area were trees and power lines - sounds a lot like the Northwest!

Oh sure, there was building damage, but all in all, very little - and NO loss of human life! In fact, the most severe injury I've heard of was a friend of ours, Annie, who had to go to the hospital the night of the hurricane, to be treated for a rather good bite from a wild cat.

The cat was staying at Nigel and Jennie's, and was waiting papers to be shipped back to Minnesota to go to a wildlife rehab place. Annie was trying to move the cat from an outdoor cage to inside shelter when the bite occurred. Unfortunately, later in the storm, the cat died of a heart attack.

Ok, so what happened during the hurricane? Well, first, we got one of the leading bands of storms that came through with tons of lightning and thunder. We thought that was going to be the story for the whole event. I think that was it however. As far as we could tell, that leading band was the only thunder and lightning throughout the whole event. Of course with the way the wind was howling later, we wouldn't have been able to tell if there was an atom bomb going off, much less thunder and lightning!

We were afraid for Cody and his family since their house is located in a fairly low area. So, we invited them to come up to our place to weather out the storm. They came up around 4:30 PM. We had Cody, his wife Rosie, their daughter Monique, his brother Anthony, Rosie's brother Cootch (not sure what his real name is), a friend of Monique's, Betsy, and Rosie's father, Joseph. Along with Dianna and me, that was nine folks in this little house for the storm. Cozy and comforting.
Rosie and Monique During the Storm
The power or "current" went out periodically for a couple of hours, then it started doing so rapidly around 9:30 PM. Each time it went out, there was a transformer on a pole across the field from the house here, that would send a huge shower of sparks. Then the power came back on. This went on for about 15 - 20 minutes, each time with a big shower of sparks - till the last time. The shower of sparks stayed imprinted on my retina for a few seconds till I realized it wasn't coming back on.
Dianna Prepping Candle Holders Before the Storm
We fired up candles and our kerosene-fueled lantern and waited. We had our handy battery, solar, dynamo, AC powered, multi-band radio to help us get information. That little radio was on virtually the whole time till yesterday morning. We kept it tuned to Love FM, a country-wide station that played the role of Emergency Alert Station, Message Center, News, Warning and General Information center all rolled into one throughout the whole event. They were great. If we ever get another hurricane (I know, it's really, really unlikely) you can go to Love FM's website ( and listen to the station and keep up with events, even when we're incommunicado like we were.

We hunkered down for the night. Anthony and I were about the only one's who stayed even remotely awake through the whole night. As the evening progressed, wind and rain came and went, increasing in strength throughout the evening. But it really seemed anti-climactic till the main storm arrived about 3 AM.
Me and Anthony Keeping Watch
Howling wind, stuff crashing around outside, you'd think we'd have been terrified. Maybe we were. For the most part, we stayed dry and secure in the house here, so there was little for anyone to do but sleep. So that's what everyone did. Till about 7:30 AM or so, when it began to slack off enough to venture out onto the front porch once in a while to see the wind still really whipping the trees. Then we'd hustle back inside to the safety of the house.

We got the all-clear around 9:00 AM. A little after that I went around the place and snapped a few shots of the trees. Most of them were in terrible condition.

Later in the morning, Cody and his family went to see what state their house was in. Surprisingly, it was dry and in good condition. Great news for them.

We spent that day just figuring how to do things with no current, and no running water. At least we have cisterns here, so we were able to get filtered water from the cisterns for drinking, bathing, and flushing toilets.

Wednesday, I went to the New World Market and bough a couple of five-gallon jugs of water for drinking. A couple of days before the storm, I had bought a dispenser for the jugs from the beer distributor here in town. Perfect timing.

I went to D's Market to find kitty litter (always with the litter). I swear, these cats generate far more than they take in. How do they do it? Anyway, no litter, but I did score a few bags of food for them. They weathered the storm like pros. Slept through it all.

I always wondered when we'd read the reports at work about hurricane Andrew, and Katrina and others, that one of the big items they needed down in Florida or Louisiana was ice. How could they need ice so much? Anything in their refers had to have spoiled days ago, so they couldn't be keeping that stuff cold. What was it for? Well, I found out.

For us, the quest for ice was futile for a couple of days. We heard rumors of ice. I went charging off to Lucy's (a highway-side tienda or store) - no ice. Nor any at D's or New World, or anywhere.

Ice finally began showing up on Friday. First Jennie came over with a small cooler of ice for us. She had stood four hours (that's 4-HOURS) in line to get a couple of bags of ice. What a Godsend! Ice is a comfort food. It's such a pleasuring feeling to be able to drink something (rum and Coke?) with some ice in it. It's really hard to describe, but it does wonders for one's morale. I understand now why they wanted ice so much in Florida and Louisiana.

Yesterday morning Connie came back from a run to Chetumal with a couple of small bags of kitty litter and an ice chest with two big bags of ice in it. Wow! We were set.


Anonymous said...

I think you need a generator !

You mentioned the naff radio information. The BBC, normally the voice of inteligent reporting came up with this kind of stuff. Hurricane Dean passed the tourist resort of Cancun leaving the thousands of American and British tourists unscathed. the Hurricane severely damaged small towns up to 150 miles to the South. After that the reports from the area just dried up and you guys could have been blown anywhere.

Back to reality and get building.

Anonymous said...

I agree, once the storm left Cancun then there we practically no reports. And even if they mentioned Belize they made it seem like it was part of Mexico! I spent my time talking back to the TV idiot, etc, etc. It does make all the difference when you know what they should be saying.

Too bad about the cat, but it does solve their problem of what to do with it.
Funny to hear the stories about ice, litter, everything. I UNDERSTAND!

Take care and see you soon! By the way Dennis IS coming in January!


Anonymous said...

Hello there you babies! Glad you made it though okay. How is our canal? Pete was wondering how much debris might be in it after the storm? How exciting and thanks for keeping us so informed! Love the quest for kitty litter stories since it will be us soon enough! HA! We'll be done in December, let us know if there is something we can bring you that you can't get.

Lynn and Pete from Seattle

Anonymous said...

Hello Dave & Dianna,
Glad to hear you weathered the storm and that life is beginning to get back to normal. Also happy to know your kitties did okay. We will enjoy checking your blog for more pictures and updates.

Weather is beautiful here in Oly. Sunny days and the beginning of fall-like crispy nights. Even beginning to see some fall color on the maples.

Nice hearing from you and take care,
Jim & Jennifer