Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene

I live on the East Coast, so I'm one of the "lucky" ones who gets to experience Hurricane Irene.

Preparation for a hurricane is hard enough, but this time I had to prepare my house & property for a hurricane without Bobby, and it was NOT easy. There is so much to think about!! Generators, sump pumps, water pumps, buckets, extension cords, shop-vacs, the electrical panel...I had to deal with it for the first time by myself. I miss the days where I never had to think about this stuff! This was all Bobby's domain. He would make sure that the house was safe for all of us.

I thought I had everything ready. But of course, nothing ever goes smoothly. My house has 2 sump pumps - one has a battery back up on it, and the other doesn't. The one that doesn't have the backup doesn't even work, but I did not find that out until after the rain started. So I ran upstairs and grabbed the pool pump, stuck it in the pit, and ran the hose up the stairs and out the door. Even though it worked, the water was pouring in so fast it could not keep up, so part of my carpet got saturated. Then the power went out on only one side of the house, and the battery back up never kicked in, so after a major overflow I ran an extension cord from the pump to the other side of the house that did have electricity.

Earlier, I also had emptied about 6 inches out of the pool, but the volume of rain that came down was so much that I had to pump water out of the pool as it rained. Luckily, for some reason unbeknownst to me, Bobby had purchased a second pool pump (even though the other one works fine). It was a blessing! I hooked up another hose and set it up to pump water out of the pool while it was raining. Then I noticed one of my gutters was clogged, and the water was pouring right on the deck over the corner of the house where the sump pump didn't work, so I rigged up a contraption to send the water off the deck away from the house using a wheel ramp, two Rubbermaid bin covers and a floor mat. It worked!

Needless to say, I minimized the damage that could have happened to my house and pool I was up all night (along with my 15-year-old who gets a lot of credit) and completely exhausted the next day. I just never thought for a minute that I could do all this stuff without him. I was missing him so much, wishing that he was there with me.

Now I'm cleaning up, with dehumidifiers set up and running in my basement and
picking up what seems like millions of branches all over my lawn, deck, backyard and the pool. However, the most annoying thing I have to deal with now a VERY LARGE tree branch that fell across my driveway. While I am really thankful that it did not land on my house or car, I can no longer get out of my driveway. I have to depend on someone else to get rid of it, because the kids and I tried and it did not budge. (This picture does not do it justice...the branch is a lot bigger than it looks.)

I hope he is looking down with approval for how I handled everything. But I'm not sure because this was a guy who would have a cow every time I walked by with a hammer and nail in my hand!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Too Many Hamburgers

A few weekends ago, I had some of my extended family over for a BBQ. I make these really good hamburgers that I saw on TV (I think it was a Guy Fieri recipe, now I don't remember) where I put shredded cheddar cheese and real bacon bits in a little pouch inside the hamburger instead of on top. I've been making them for quite few years, and my family loves them. However, they come out really big, since they are stuffed, and even the men in my family can usually eat just one.

Before throwing the hamburgers on the grill, I took a count of how many guests I had, went back in the house, added in my own family to that number, put the hamburgers on a tray, then went outside to put them on the the grill. I took a recount once I got outside, and realized I had too many. So I went back inside, and took another count. Seemed correct, so back outside. Again, I was putting them on the grill, and there were too many. I went inside and I asked my mom to take a recount and she said, "No, that is the right amount." She recounted the guests, added herself and my family and confirmed again it was the right amount. I counted everyone and again came up with one too many.

Now, math was always my best subject in school, so this was literally driving me crazy. Not that I had too many hamburgers on the grill, (there were never leftovers of these hamburgers!) but that the count was coming out wrong when I was outside, but whenever I was in my kitchen, it would come out correct.

I guess it doesn't take a rocket scientist reading this to realize that every time I counted guests, then went back in the house and added my family, I added in four burgers instead of three. I automatically counted in a hamburger for Bobby without even realizing it. However, whenever I went outside and took an exact count of guests, I wouldn't count him because he was not there. What was weird was that it literally took me about fifteen minutes to figure out why I had an extra burger on the plate. Ironically, my mother made the same mistake when she was in the kitchen counting the burgers as well.

Old habits die hard, and I miss putting four burgers on the plate. Fifteen months later, three still looks incomplete.