I could cry right now. I’ve done it quite a few times in the last few days. As a pregnant woman, I should be used to crying, but no. I’m not a crier. So when frustration comes out in the form of tears more than once a month, and even more than once a week, I’m left feeling shaken and out of control.
Maybe staying for the storm wasn’t such a good idea.
When we began to make decisions and preparations, I asked my husband if he thought we’d lose power. His answer was no. Since he has lived in the Metairie and New Orleans areas for much longer than I have, I felt like there was a good possibility he was right. I also didn’t hear anything about our area needing to evacuate, and I thought that surely there would be an order issued if the danger was real. So we (I) cooked all our food, made lists of what to stock up on, did all the cleaning I could before the power possibly went out.
We were originally told that the storm would hit Tuesday morning. We waited all through Tuesday watching the drizzle stop and start, watching a breeze come up from the summer still. The new estimate was Wednesday morning- the storm had slowed down. Tuesday evening, in the midst of light rain and light breeze, people started to lose power. Mother in law lost power 5:30 PM on Tuesday. Winds didn’t start coming in until about midnight, when we lost power. Believe me when I say that summer thunderstorms are worse than what we experienced when we lost power. We woke up the next morning hot and cranky. We opened all the windows to let in the breeze, but there was no cross-ventilation (all of our windows are on one side of our apartment). It was miserable.
Gwenna was the exception- she continued chirping and chatting even as her hair became matted with sweat, and through the whole thing, rarely asked about the lights. At night, we’d put her to bed naked, and she’d insist on covers. We’d wait until she was asleep to take them (which I felt was a sad betrayal, but necessary) and I wiped her skin down with a wet rag to cool her off through the night. So many times, our hearts caught in our throats as we watched her chest rise so slowly, we were so worried that she would be badly affected by the heat. But she pulled through, happily.
The light rain continued for the rest of the day and night on Wednesday. We got reports of areas family lived being affected by flooding. Thankfully, everyone is safe, but my heart hurts for the people the government decided to leave out of the new levee system (“Yeah, we’re building a great new levee! But you’re not important enough for us to worry about placing it outside of your homes!”) The next day (Thursday), it stopped and started, but the breeze was weak. Friday was bright and sunny, with no breeze. We couldn’t take it on faith anymore that we would have power back soon, and fled to Gulfport, where Zack’s aunt pulled the Wonder Woman move of negotiating a low price for a beachfront condo rental.
I’d like to say it’s been heavenly here, and mostly it has. The condo is beautiful. The a/c works. There’s a kiddie pool, large swimming pool, hot tub, and playground right outside of our condo. The beach is across the street. Zack’s aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother are nearby, and it’s always nice to see them.
But the fact remains that I am 8 months pregnant with unmedicated anxiety and still trying to process the way my family has suffered in the past week. Presently I’m still swollen to a ridiculous degree from all of the preservatives and sodium a hurricane diet is filled with. I’m emotionally unstable, worrying about what mess awaits at home- a broken front door, a wet kitchen (refrigerator/freezer thawing), kitchen stench (water conservation is important when you don’t know how stable the sewage system is- so no dishwashing for us), possible mold in the house (rain and humidity got in when the a/c went out, and we do have nothing but carpet floors), catching up on work and anticipating a hard few weeks catching up at school, the mess we left across our home in our rush to get out, birthday party invitations to write and send for Gwenna’s party in exactly one week, and an empty pantry and refrigerator to re-stock.
Then there was the incident involving a certain sweet child and a recliner. Gwenna grabbed the extended foot of the recliner Zack was in and he responded with, “No, Gwenna!”, and just as soon, she shrieked out in pain. I grabbed her immediately and saw blood covering her hand and couldn’t bring myself to look at it, I just ran to the bedroom to comfortably hold her close and calm her, and sent Zack to get a rag that I could use to put pressure on her hand, on which I still wasn’t sure where her injury was. I shook and cried right along with her. We were all relieved to find that she kept all of her fingers, but a big chunk was taken out of her pointer finger. Zack’s aunt called the doctor who lives next door to her, and we went to see what he’d say. My maternal instinct was to go straight to the emergency room and have them clean and fix it up and make sure it wasn’t broken, but there is no children’s hospital here. Maternal confusion. The doctor said that she was fine apart from the cut, and just to keep it bandaged and clean. I still shudder when I think of it.
The visit here has been marred by obvious trauma as well as more subtle erosion of the patience, and I won’t get into that right now. I will say that people tend to forget that I am 8 months pregnant and my husband is one of them (I love you honey).
We are still waiting on our power to come back on. This is day 5. For a barely-hurricane/mostly tropical storm to leave us in this way, I find myself feeling hopelessly angry with the energy company. Our power went out before the storm even got there- a sign that they should have put more money into prevention measures. Men are working long days and taking nights off, rather than the company bringing in even more men to work around the clock. Because they won’t send men out at night, the restoration process began a number of hours after it could have started. The small amount of money we will save over not having power for a week will in no way amount to the money we’ve had to spend to survive away from home.
So there’s my update. We’re alive an well, albeit cranky and angry. Too bad I can’t have a goddang margarita.