Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gratitude and Tears.

As of about an hour ago, we are safely back home. This is the scene from the front of the church as were leaving there to come here.


Our yard and street are a bit tattered but not bad.


The best news? We came home to find that we still had electricity! So many people in this area are without power and I am ever so grateful for an undamaged house and a working air conditioner. May I just say that this house never looked so good as we walked (actually blew) in the door tonight. I almost cried from relief and from joy.

However, there are other reasons than joy to cry tonight.

Wanchese, the little village on the south end of Roanoke Island, has five feet of standing water and the water has also invaded part of Manteo, which is on the northern end of the island. Police are blocking the roads at both ends of the town’s two entrances/exits because the roads are impassable.

Sarah’s friend, Taylor, and her family are returning from Virginia and just called to say that someone called them to tell them that their home is flooded; however, whether it was flooded or not flooded, I still doubt they will be able to get through the main street to even get to it.

A board member at our church has two feet of standing water in his flooring business and downtown Manteo (near the sound) is completely under water, some of it up to the waist. We drove over there tonight and just stopped at the very outskirts of the flooding for some pictures.

This is a bit blurry but there are actually people rowing boats down the street.






From what we’ve been told, the water level is only going to continue to rise overnight. It looks to me like our beloved Roanoke Island is going to be in for some tough times ahead.

For right now, I’m so very tired and am going gratefully to bed, thinking of so many people who are displaced tonight or, if they are at home, are without many basic necessities.

Gratitude and tears. That was my day.

The Fury of Nature

Wow. Just wow.

If a Category 2 hurricane is this bad, I don’t even want to think about ever having to experience anything stronger. We have sat for these past hours and watched rain pushed sideways and trees flailing and twisting until one wonders how they can possibly stay on their feet. We’ve heard roaring and rustling and shrieking and seen a gray, moody sky stretch out forever.

And the truly astounding thing is how long this has all been going on—at varying levels of intensity, we’ve had continuous rain and strong winds for at least twelve hours.

At first, it was sort of exciting and adventurous to have a front row seat on nature’s dramatic display but now there’s a good bit of storm fatigue setting in, accompanied by the knowledge that so many tens of thousands of people will be impacted by this event for weeks to come.

I, for one, would love to be able to go home and sit on a quiet porch and look out at the serene, undamaged Manteo that I’ve come to love.

But unfortunately, as the storm continues to violently accost our little island, it doesn’t seem like that scenario will happen any time soon.

I’m thankful though, that in the midst of this awful storm, we have stayed safe and protected. And I am comforted to know that storms never last.

Still Here!

This was just posted on Facebook; it's the Pamlico Sound which is fairly close to us. All the water has been sucked out of it and they are saying it will be returning with a vengeance. Pretty odd sight.

We went through the eye of the hurricane and are now on the other side of it with more winds and rain. If all goes well, it should be far enough past us that we can go home in a few hours. We have no idea what condition our home will be in or if we'll have electricity when we get there but it will be nice to back within our own four walls.

We just lost power here at the church again and then it came right back on. I feel very fortunate that we have lights and a.c.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we're still doing fine but will be glad when this is over and the clean up can get started--also, it will be nice to be able to stop dreading it!

Chainsaws and Dozing Doggies

For the whole thirty years that we have been married, Steve has wanted a chain saw. Well, yesterday his dream finally came true. He figured that the aftermath of this storm would be best handled with chainsaw in hand so off he went to purchase one.

It was a great moment in his life, if you can’t tell by looking at this grin.


He spent several hours in our yard yesterday, felling a few fifty-foot trees that were leaning in dangerous directions and also cleaning up some underbrush-- grinnin’ like a fool the whole time.


I was grateful that my contribution to Hurricane Prep yesterday left me indoors with the air conditioning. I love me some air conditioning.

Packing for a hurricane is not for the faint of heart (will we have electricity or not? how long will we be gone from the house?) but I finally managed to get several days of easy-to-prepare meals and snacks together.


Here is our stuff as we moved into the church this morning. Dog stuff, water, and suitcases--just in case.


After we had put some stuff away, Sarah and I set up The Smith Woman Computer Camp.


So far outside, it hasn’t looked too bad . . .


. . . although the worst of it is supposed to hit us in the next hour or so. A few minutes ago we lost electricity for about ten minutes but then (happily) it returned. Electricity brings joy to my heart. Have I mentioned how much I love air conditioning?


On the way to the church this morning, we took a detour past the bridge on the north end of the island; the waves were kicking up bigger than I’ve ever seen them. Our beloved bike path was already covered with tree debris and that was five hours before the storm. Who knows how long it will be till it’s rideable again. I miss it.



As you can tell from these photos, Snowy is experiencing quite a bit of stress over this hurricane. I think we may need to get him into doggie therapy.

Ya think?





Okay. It’s really time to hunker down. The wind is whipping out there and it will only get worse over the next hour or two. I'll keep updates coming as long as I have power.

Thanks for checking in . . .

A From-The-Church Post

We have made it safely into the church and are setting up camp with food, water, and doggie in tow. (And for someone who asked if Snowy seems to be sensing something is up, the answer is yes. He's been pretty hyper and not eating well.)

The two minute trip over here was interesting--limbs down everywhere and debris strewn about--and this is 4 hours before the worst of it. We've had heavy rain for many hours now and there is already some over-the-road flooding in a few spots.

One of our church members is here too, so we have a little company. And if anyone else should wander in needing shelter in the next few hours, we'll welcome them too. (I brought quite a bit of extra food just in case.)

So all is well for the moment.

I'll leave you with this line from a favorite song, "Sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He calms the child."

Feeling His calm today and praying peace and protection for everyone in the path of this storm.

An Exclamation Night

Doing well here. Wind is picking up quite a bit (gusts to about 40 mph) but we still have electricity and I see no limbs down.

Slept well till about 2 am and then woke up thinking about everything I needed to do to get ready to go the church. (We’re leaving within the hour.) The worst of it isn’t supposed to hit till early afternoon so we figured that getting there by 9 am or so should be sufficient.

It’s just hard to know how to plan because (best case scenario), we could keep power, have minimal flooding and be back in our undamaged, air conditioned house by bedtime. Or (worst case scenario), we could be stranded over there for several days, depending on downed power lines, trees across the road, major flooding, etc. As much as we would (very much) prefer being stranded in our own home, we still think it’s safer to hang out over there.

As the woman of the Smith house, I was lying in bed all night trying to think about packing food for (possibly) several days and also knowing that some of that time could very well be sans electricity. I would just drift back to sleep and think of something else (sandwich meat!) then fade away and think of something else (ramen noodles!) and turn over sleepily and remember phone charger! dry shampoo! chew bones for Snowy! hand sanitizer! can opener!

Every time an exclamation point hit my brain, I’d bounce awake and ponder that particular item for a while. It was such a lovely way to pass the night.

Before I go, thanks to everyone who stopped by to check on us yesterday; I’ll try to keep you updated throughout the day.

And by the way, Jodi D. came in at 999,999 last night—the nearest person to the 1 million mark! Jodi is a long time friend of Smithellaneous and we’re happy she gets the V.I.V. Award. (Very Important Visitor.)

Okay, I’m off. . . (dog food! brownies! flashlight! oatmeal! water!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oops. I Just Now Realized . . .

. . . that Smithellaneous will hit the 1 million mark sometime this evening or tomorrow.

I've moved the counter to the top of the right column--just beneath the ads--to make it easier to keep an eye on it. (Look for the title that says, "How many have stopped by?")

I would offer some sort of grand and/or glorious prize to whoever is the one millionth visitor but at this point, it would probably be a flashlight battery or a jug of drinking water.

But actually? You ALL deserve a prize today for being such faithful, wonderful, loyal, charming Smithellaneous readers.

Thanks so much for being part of the Smithellaneous Family.

Calm Before The Storm

It’s turning into a busier than usual day around the Smith abode.

We’re sterilizing and filling bottles with clean drinking water to go along with the many gallons we’ve bought. We’ll fill both bathtubs with water for flushing toilets and I’m in the throes of baking and cooking stuff that can be frozen, thawed and easily reheated on a grill. (Thankfully our neighbors have a generator and said we could run a power line over there to keep our fridge running.) Steve is currently outside with the chainsaw doing whatever it is that men with chainsaws do outside before storms.

Of course, I consider chocolate to be as necessary as flashlights, batteries and drinking water.





Sarah and I went out for a few things this morning and I snapped some pictures along the way.

This is the front of our grocery store. . .


. . and the stores next to the grocery store.


After getting our groceries, we drove past a lovely bed and breakfast near the bay that sported this sign.



I’ve always loved looking at this particular bed and breakfast whenever I’ve driven by; it’s even lovely with some of its windows boarded shut.






A few blocks away in downtown Manteo, we saw this sign on a favorite restaurant.



Another couple blocks away, I parked and took a few pictures of brave flowers who have no idea that their short, beautiful lives are about to end.

Beautiful and brave. Quite an epitaph.



This path led to Manteo’s replica of the Queen Elizabeth; it’s tied down as securely as possible but of course there are no guarantees it’ll be still be there by tomorrow at this time.




A few boats tied near the Queen Elizabeth.


And my patient daughter waiting in the van for her camera happy mama to return.


As you’ve probably surmised, we have decided to not evacuate. We are going to weather the storm in our church which is completely free of tall trees on three sides, has a second floor in case of flooding and is one of the higher points on the island. So with wind toppled trees and flooding being the two biggest safety concerns, we feel like we are covering both of those bases pretty well.

Also as pastors, Steve and I very much want to stay near our flock and our community and be able to lend helping hands—practical, spiritual, or otherwise—to those who will need it in the hours and days following the storm.

So unless something changes that we’re not anticipating, we’re here for the duration.

I’ll update as I can . . .

Beauty Contemplated

Looking at the calm beauty of these recent bike ride photos, it’s hard to comprehend the violence that will be visited upon our peaceful island in just a few short hours. I hate to think about what beauty-turned-to-ugliness my camera might be compelled capture in the days to come.

For all of us on the Outer Banks and along the East Coast of our great country, I pray for peace and protection in the storm.