Posted in Our Story

Hurricane Dorian Aftermath

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Dorian passed along South Carolina’s coast late Wednesday night and through Thursday. TJ had off for Labor Day on Monday but a mandatory evacuation order took effect beginning at noon and was lifted on Friday. He went into work for an hour on Tuesday morning to prepare the shop for the storm. Then, he went in on Friday (as soon as roads were cleared) to repair emergency vehicles for the recovery efforts. Not only does he get hazard pay for the time he went in to work under the evacuation order, he also gets paid for the full week. We were thankful to have him home to prepare and it was nice to get a category 2 as our intro hurricane!

We spent Tuesday checking flashlights for batteries and inventorying the pantry. TJ went through the boards for the windows- thankfully we didn’t need them but at this point, Dorian was still a category 5 in the Bahamas. We cleaned up the yard and secured everything in our screened-in porch for the coming force of wind. We even found time to move a locker from the garage to the porch and converted it into a grilling/smoker supply cabinet. After a trip to Home Depot for screws for the boards and BJ’s for water and beer, we were ready. Mr. Dorian was so slow moving that we ended up venturing out Wednesday morning too. I knew we’d get stir crazy, so I wanted to get Annabeth out and moving as much as possible before things got bad. I made a pot of jambalaya and ended the night with a few drinks.

The storm started around midnight and we lost power by 4:30am. T.J. explained to Annabeth, when she woke up, that the storm was causing some bad weather and took out the power for the lights and TV. She declared that she did not like this weather, crossed her arms, and marched away with a “hmph.” We pulled out the camp stove and invited the neighbor over for breakfast tacos. Luckily, we were not hit hard. The day went on with lots of wind and light rain. We had lined sandbags up by the front door because water tends to pool by our front step but we barely collected a puddle there. One street over, a tree fell into the living room. Down our street, some friends had an oak tree fall on their detached garage and buckle the entire structure. Power was restored just after 4pm. I was surprised and thankful that it came back so quickly!

Annabeth getting stir crazy and running through the rain.

We woke up the next morning and T.J. went to get my car out of the back garage. A healthy branch had speared through the roof and ceiling just above the hood of my car! No damage to anything else. We felt pretty fortunate!

Annabeth and I started a game of pick-up-sticks after T.J. went into work. She preferred to attack my piles with all of her pent up energy, so I resorted to gathering all of the large branches and dragging them to the street. I also discovered smilax- a thorny vine that shoots up from the ground and wraps itself around trees or bushes. As I yanked them out of the trees, Annabeth would cheer me on, “Good job, Mom. You are so strong. You can do it!” We caught the attention of the neighbor behind us. We introduced ourselves and he came over to check out our damage. He left us his ladder because the one we have doesn’t reach the roof of the back garage. He even offered his chainsaw and assistance when T.J. got home from work.

What we learned from our first hurricane as a family: We are even more in love with our choice to move to Summerville, SC.

We are happy to trade hurricanes for winter. This was a very mild hurricane and we are well aware of the devastation a stronger storm could bring. Hurricanes bring the community together. T.J. joined a team of strangers to fill sandbags for each other. Our neighbors insisted we come spend the night in their spare bedroom, if we lost power. As soon as the winds began to die down, the neighborhood was buzzing with people checking on each other. Clean up began and it was as if the fences disappeared. It was social hour in the streets and no one was left to pick up alone.

I think it comes down to our personalities fitting in here and the timing within our own lives. We met most of the people on our street within the first few weeks of moving in. T.J. is assistant coach for Annabeth’s tee ball team. The weather is a major factor, even considering the hurricane risk. Our souls are warmed by the temperatures outside. We feel comfortable, like we belong here. T.J. hasn’t felt in place in Colorado since his 20s and I never truly felt welcome. We did not specifically choose South Carolina. We were led here by blind faith. Being far from our family and friends is tough; it really sucks at times. That’s the price we paid to follow our hearts. I would rather miss my family and friends than lose myself.

While I Breathe, I Hope
Posted in Our Story

Hurricane Prep

I just want to send out a quick update. We’ve had some of you asking about our safety as Hurricane Dorian approaches. We are not in a mandatory evacuation zone. The image below shows the zones in our area. We have not even been assigned a zone but our neighborhood is bordered by two. The pink, yellow, and blue zones are under the mandatory evacuation. South Carolina is not flat (like the plains of Colorado) and the landscape varies greatly in this coastal terrain. We are surrounded by lakes and rivers, hence the several different zones. We are fortunate enough to have a massive drainage canal running along the perimeter of our neighborhood too. This has the potential to be a blessing and a curse, if it overflows.

T.J.’s shop is in the pink zone, so he will be home until the order is lifted. He will be going in tomorrow to help ready the shop for the storm. The park where Annabeth plays tee ball and soccer will have fill-your-own sandbags, so he will go there to get some for our house and our neighbor’s house.

We are confident about our decision to stay. Our neighbors will be here to help us if needed. We really did luck out with this house for countless reasons but our neighbors have quickly risen to the top of the list. Our neighborhood is also in an excellent location, even our street is on a high spot. The house is a solid brick ranch on a concrete foundation, so the towering trees around us are really the only concern. We are expecting to see Dorian as a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday into Thursday. That can change at any moment. Last I checked, the storm was moving at 1mph. We expect tons of rain and wind. Our main focus is being prepared to lose power. We stocked up on water, food, and batteries today. I am washing as much laundry as possible and keeping up on cleaning. We do have boards for our windows that were left from the previous owner. I do not think it will be necessary but we do have them. We will put sandbags in front of our door to divert water because we have a low spot right at the front step.

I will keep in touch when possible. Until then, we will be picking up any lose items from our yard and fighting to keep Annabeth entertained. Like caging a wild animal…