Today is a quiet day. I'm breathing in the cool autumn air and breathing out a sigh of relief. Yesterday, I experienced the strongest storm of my life, to this point. We worked hard to get our home and property ready for days before it arrived. I was able to finish my preparations as the first bands of rain began to fall. Earlier in the morning, I had gotten up and started to check off my list of last minute chores. I placed new longer drain lines all around the house. I went to the hardware store and bought screws and a hammer to secure them to the ground when the hurricane winds would arrive. I used the hammer to drive wooden stakes into the ground on either side of the drain pipes. After that, I fastened them in place by drilling screws through the wood and into the pipes. I moved all of my wife's flower pots back into the house. I cleared the yard of anything else that could become a projectile in the extreme winds that were coming our way. I drove to the gas station and filled up three large jerry cans and our jeep with gasoline. As the rain began to fall in an opening deluge, I drove our lawn tractor and into the garage and closed the door. At that point, there was nothing left to do. I'd done everything I could to prepare my family for what was coming.
I have a philosophy for this sort of situation. “Hope for the best...Plan for the worst.” I was hoping that the storm would blow itself out before reaching us. Weather reports were mixed. I decided to prepare as if it would come directly over our home as a Category 2 hurricane. As it turned out, my plan was pretty close to the way things unfolded. That night, A CNN report stated that the storm had reached the Maritimes and was downgraded to a Post Tropical Storm, but, in reality, it would pack about the same punch as a Category 2 hurricane. The track of the storm was taking it almost directly over our neighbourhood in about three hours from that time.
We live in a 100 year old farmhouse on a hill with nothing to break the wind except a couple of trees that are too high and too close to the house. I told my wife and our little boy that we would be sleeping downstairs for the night. We made the best of it by throwing a “hurricane party.” I put up Christmas lights and we ate cheese sticks and pizza flavoured potato chips, while my wife read from his favourite storybooks. The first part of the evening was spent in our kitchen which is on the west side of the house. Initially, the storm was generating very strong winds out of the east. At about 1:00 am, our family moved to the living room on the east side of the house, since the eye of the storm had passed and now the winds were bombarding us from the Northwest.
When I woke up at 9:00 am on Sunday morning the storm was gone. I kissed my little boy, my wife and her belly where our little girl is waiting to enter the world. Then, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for our protection in the storm. I walked outside and took a look at our neighourhood. As I assessed the damage, I was very thankful to see that everyone seemed to have come through the storm safely. As of Sunday night, I have not heard of any deaths or injuries, although our power is out and we don't have any contact with the outside world other than cellular phone service. I have a radio in my car, but it doesn't work. Yes, I know that is supposed to be one of my primary emergency preparations. I'll get a battery powered radio for next time. Today, I'm just going to breathe the cool autumn air and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving.