February 5, 2009

Live ... from Hell ... or Something Like It.

Thursday Night, February 5th

Here's a live, in the moment report from the throes of a current storm.

Not ten minutes ago, as Larry and I sat watching a movie, the house filled with a cracking, crashing noise so prolonged we stared at each other, and I wondered in startled silence if this was another earthquake.

We've been in the clutches of tropical storm force winds for two days solid now... fierce, howling, swirling winds oddly mixed with sunshine, rainbows and trees dropping all around. The din has been so deafening at night that I had took the chickens inside to the safety of the kitchen and William into our bed.

Up until about an hour before this writing I had been taking it all in stride. As a veteran of hurricane warnings from my time in Florida, and a lover of drama in general, what's a tropical depression but added excitement and adventure?

However, about an hour before the eerie crashing noise, I became alarmed when the wind became frighteningly close to what I would imagine is full hurricane strength.

After the crushing noise ended with a thud and a shudder, I rushed out doors and beheld what is probably a 100 ft., 100 year old pine tree, maybe 6 ft. around, laying at the foot of our house, full across the driveway, along the front of William's bedroom, stretched beyond our land and on to our neighbor's fence. It stretches the width of our lot and beyond.

We've dealt with bigger, monster trees before, but none so close and so present!

Oh no ... more crashing as I write. I think another tree is falling. Gotta run!
To be continued...

The Aftermath... Monday Noon, February 9

When I last left you hanging in suspense, I was dashing out to investigate another enormous pine tree, this one fallen across from our driveway, just in front on William's bedroom.

Following this one (which followed the one that crashed across our front yard), a close row of four more trees fell in a line ... one; two; three; four ... Down! Like the Rockettes kicking their legs in time. Later on that night, around 3 a.m., a sixth sky scraper pine crashed around the corner and in front of my friend, Ulda's house.
Photos on left.

All tolled, the immediate area surrounding our house lost about 12 large pine trees, all in pretty quick succession. This not counting the on our neighbor's roof, plus more.

The tree that fell in front of William's bed room.

Our Front Yard.

The street where we live.

Clean up begins.

Dangerous wires dangle over Ulda's house, next door.

FEMA could learn much from the folks here in Boquete. After our devastating floods (see previous blog), teams of workers were on the river repairs faster than a dog after a meat truck. As for the tree blocking our driveway, it was least cut enough for us to get out before lunch the following day.

Between the team of workers hired by the owners of the garden property across from our home, and the Nash's men, (the Nash family own the land surrounding ours), there were 11 men wielding machetes and chain saws, each busier than a one-armed base player. Plus... the hardest worker of all who belongs to me... Larry Slagle. It was truly an impressive and of course, still ongoing.

Big thanks to the Beverly Nash for all the support and great workers. And thank to Susan & Glenn for the chain saw and the dinner! (I apparently hold no talent for cooking by candlelight and I have the 1/8 " gash on my pinky to prove it.)

Today, after 5 days of wind, three without power or hot water, the storm has passed. Hot diggity! Alas, there are still those without power now, going on day five.

So ... what to do you do when you are without TV, the Nintendo D.S., a Computer, hot water and lights? Well, you load up on candles and play a good three plus hour game of Monopoly. (William creamed us -- no surprise there.) You wash clothing in the tub. Buy lots of ice and shove it in the freezer. Bathe with a cup and a bucket. Oh boy.

May I just say that I do make one hell of a Pioneer Chick!

Special note to the mother or our new family here... the Cards.
This goes out to Tracey Card's Mom ...
relax, your family is all fine. Disasters come in threes ... so now that we've had an Earthquake, a Flood, and Hurricane Winds, I think we're done. Tracey, Connor and Barrett are some of the most popular new additions to our community... so Tracey's mom, NOT to worry. Tracey and boys are covered!


Turpin said...

Wow, Lizzie, that must have been a bit od a shock. So close to the house. We had a similar event last feb here at home, with two 100+ pines going down in the yard, but missing the house.

Glad all are OK. I think the Panamanians may take up a collection to move you all back to FL.

Mark Ballard said...

Wow! Talk about adventure! Is this part of the "rainy season" in Panama?

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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