Monday, August 25, 2014

What Was...What Is...

On the 6th day post hurricane Iselle, without electricity for seven days, living in an all electric house, I'm allowing myself to mourn the loss of what has been so that I'm able to find joy and peace in what is. 

What was once a faucet with water flowing in from the 8,000 gallon, rain water, catchment tank in our backyard has been replaced by 2 ½ gallon sun tea jar with a spigot, filled with spring water brought in five gallon buckets from seven miles away. 

What was once a freezer is now a still slightly smelly makeshift cooler filled with ice from daily runs to the convenience store (that may or may not be out of ice) three to six miles away (depending on road detours); or from Great Samaritans pulling up to the door yelling "Need ice?" (which they've frozen in their home freezers); or from runs to the unused during the week farmer's market where ice is the complimentary side to a free beef stew dinner from 4-6pm

What was once an electric stove is now an extra countertop space. What was once a charcoal starter now sits on the lanai between two, five gallon buckets topped with stepping stones and a grill grate with a broiler pan turned upside creating a rocket stove that lights quickly, burns big sticks instead of logs, has to be constantly fed to stay hot, smokes like crazy, cooks our food and heats water for coffee, bathing and washing dishes. Whew! 

What was once a plant watering can is now an awesome warm, albeit short, backyard shower when filled with boiling water from the rocket stove and cool water from the spring...we have no neighbors except the trees still standing. I imagine they delight in our joining their nakedness. 

What was once a warm, occasionally muggy house with ceiling fans running almost 24/7 is now a sauna unless I'm sitting right in front of the open french doors when a breeze decides to grace me with its presence.

What was once a brightly lit dining room in the evening is now candle lit so I can barely see my food and wonder where the flies are that I saw come in during the day through the open, unscreened french doors. 

What was once a brightly lit living room at night where lights were purposely dimmed for movie watching is now un-purposely dimmed with no movies to watch and where looking like a coal miner, I blind my honey with my five LED headlamp, when I look up from reading a book.

What was once a ritual of accessing the Internet anytime for any and everything from recipe Googling to Facebook posting to Netflix watching is now a twice a day walk to the road to check for vital emails on my cell phone (which only gets a spotty signal in my house) while I pray it doesn't run out of power...again. 

What was once a simple plug into the wall to power up my cell phone, laptop and iPad is now..."I must remember to plug my cell into the cigarette lighter/cell phone charger while I'm driving to get water or ice so that I can get a 26% charge to send 3 texts, 2 emails and make a phone call."

What was once a flick of the wrist to flush the toilet is now a gallon bucket dip & dump from the bathtub of water, filled before the storm, refilled two gallons at a time with water lugged in from the catchment tank on day three and refilled again today with five gallon buckets of catchment water siphoned out and hand trucked in by my honey. 

What was once a dishwasher is now a drying rack full of dishes that have been washed & rinsed in water lugged in from the catchment and boiled on the rocket stove.

What was once a 17 gallon bucket and a brand new, never seen the inside of a toilet plunger is now filled with siphoned, catchment water creating a hand powered outdoor washing machine.

What was once a long piece of braided rope is now a outdoor, clothes dryer stretched between two trees in the sunshine.

What was once an Internet addicted princess who was afraid to sleep with the windows open is now a humbled, grateful, wiser, woman.  After a long day of lugging water, chopping sticks, cooking over an open flame, plunging clothes and hanging them on the line to dry, she is exhausted and peacefully slumbers while the breeze wafting in through her open windows cools her perspiring body.


  1. As I would expect, even through the changes and adjustments, you add your own delightful poetic twist to your travails. My thoughts and heart are with you as you continue to jump right into the living and see good wherever it may be. Peace and love.

  2. this is what others were going through! Thanks for sharing...I knew it was not fun for many...When Iselle hit, we were very lucky to te be able to borrow a generator during that time (just got in with the friend right before another person called him) kept on the water pump, the frig and one outlet strip for use... We used our Bbq for cooking, and those head lamps, etc... We were then among those who were able to offer hot showers to our neighbors (due to the water pump and solar hot water system) and we also offered ice, too and/or a place to put their food. We now own a generator, which we quickly purchased soon thereafter (once the they restocked them in the area)...we actually just got it hooked up to the new house, so are ready energy-wise in case of another crisis. This is making me realize,mhiwever, that we need to get the gas containers refilled!
    I know the home you are now living in is all pprepped for future emergencies and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy for you and Bobby. xo