Goodbye, Gustav

Yesterday my brother in Japan emailed me to say that he’d been following my blog to find out whether he needed to be worried about us with regard to Gustav. “If you don’t post tomorrow, of course, I will assume the worst!” he wrote. In my reply, I pointed out that if I couldn’t walk, I’d have nothing (theoretically) to post about.

Indeed, I haven’t walked today, and although I have postponed posting until it seemed the storm was “over,” Gustav has not provided much fodder one way or another. As expected, its effects were felt mostly west of here, and fortunately New Orleans seems to have been spared the brunt of it, and even Morgan City, Louisiana, doesn’t seem to have been brutally impacted by the storm, which had been downgraded to Category 2 by the time it made landfall around midday today.

Here we’ve had some wind and some rain. My husband just emptied the rain gauge; it was filled up to the last calibration mark, which is at 5″, so we have already gotten more rain than from T.D. Fay. As for the wind, we have no anemometer, but my husband’s criterion is the number of “giblets” of oak tree we have blown down in the back yard—bunches of foliage torn off by the wind. Even an ordinary heavy rain will bring down dead wood, but it takes a pretty strong wind to rip off these small branches of live foliage, and there are essentially none today.

We were very aware of the rain “bands.” Although I’d hoped for a rainy, windy night (good for sleeping), the first rain arrived about 6 a.m. It has continued off and on all day. Whenever it cleared enough to encourage us to go out for a walk (me) or run (my husband), we would turn around and find it raining again, often with heavy rain blown sideways by the wind. So I haven’t been out, even to reconnoiter (I suppose I could go out in the car, but that seems like cheating).

I haven’t done much else, either. The worst thing about these storms is the combination of restlessness and lethargy they engender. This is especially noticeable when there’s an actual threat. And of course when we lose power, there’s an excuse for goofing off. I’ve had no such excuse today, yet I’ve still accomplished little. Admittedly, it’s a holiday (Labor Day in the United States), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have work to do. Since I’m also a procrastinator of the first rank, however, I’ve managed to rationalize putting it off till tomorrow (it helps that I did a lot of tomorrow’s work yesterday, in a fit of similar restlessness).

I should mention that the effects of the storm have not been entirely unnoticeable here. Some of the effects that we would really not have predicted were these:

1.    It being the end of the month, my husband made it a point to write checks to pay all the bills before we went out for milk yesterday so we could take them to the post office on the way (even though we know they won’t go out till Tuesday, it seemed prudent to get them that far while we could). When we got there (about 2 p.m.), we found the post office lobby closed. I suspect the USPS will get some uncomfortable feedback from boxholders who couldn’t access their post office boxes because the post office had been secured against the storm.

2.    At 2 p.m. yesterday, our local public radio station stopped playing classical music and switched over to the audio feed from the local television station with which they partner (which of course had preempted all regular programming in order to cover the storm). Since all listeners within their broadcast area surely still had power and could have gotten this same audio and video from the television station itself, this seemed like overkill. Presumably WHIL had to let their staff go, but this was just insane.

3.    Coverage of the storm on the Weather Channel was interrupted by the “morons” (my husband’s term) at our local cable system, who broke into useful programming to put up DOS-style screens announcing local tornado warnings (instead of just using a crawl at the bottom of the screen).

Well, I guess that’s it from here for now—back to normal tomorrow!

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