Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back at Ya

Well, here it is, the Labor Day weekend. WVU just finished their game against Villanova, and won. By tomorrow the extra 60,000 people in Morgantown will be gone, and we will reclaim most of the town, given that the students have mostly gone home for the long weekend. Hopefully, at least some of them will leave their cars there, because truly there is no place to park them, certainly not near campus. Math example: 30,000 students - 2000 parking spaces = 28,000 people going 'round and 'round and ....

The barn is still a bleak reminder to me, and I should be out there with the other two horses so that they don't become entirely sour with the winter coming. We had a huge load of hay delivered last weekend, I think enough to last us until hay season next year. Good stuff, too. The weather here has been very dry, our lawn crunches when you walk on it. The lawncare guys came Thursday and suggested we water it more often; I don't think we have ever watered it. Never even thought of it. The pool developed a leak somewhere on the liner, or else the humidity has been really low, and the water is only 2 feet deep, so it must be a leak on the wall. We've decided to just cover it (for safety) and plan on a new liner next year. This one is well past its "use by" date.

All the news about hurricanes G and H reminds me of the hurricanes I went through as a kid living in Miami. Our house, like virtually all of the ones constructed at that time, was made entirely of cinder blocks, with curved concrete shingles. We had aluminum storm awnings over the windows, they provided shade, let you leave windows open without worrying about rain, and (best of all) folded up and covered the entire window, fastening with wing nuts to the concrete. Took about 15 minutes to close the house up; then we covered the front or back doors with plywood, depending on which side of the hurricane we were to get. One year we had the eye pass directly over the house, we went out (tho you shouldn't) and checked out a tree that was looking a little iffy. It survived that hurricane, but we cut it down just after. It was an "orchid" tree, I have no idea what the real name of it was. Anyway, when the hurricane is there, you're supposed to open windows on the down side of the wind. The year we got the eye, the wind of course switched sides and blew from the opposite direction after the eye, so we had to scurry around and close one side and open the other. That's because the wind pressure can lift the roof right off, and higher pressure inside the house will aid the lifting if the house is not open somewhere to equalize inside and outside pressures.

But somewhere between the time our house was built (1952) and when hurricane Andrew hit southern Florida with such devastation, it became apparent to me that someone had monkeyed with the building codes, and built "stick" houses, which in my opinion was criminal. Does no one read the Three Little Pigs anymore? The part about the house made of straw? My main recollection of the hurricanes (let me think...Donna, Camille, others??) was that they were exciting, using flashlights, Sterno cans, and so forth. But the aftermath!!! A total drag. Everywhere you drove you picked up nails or glass to make the tires go flat. No power for several days, so no refrigeration, no cooking (on an electric stove), no lights once it got dark, doing homework by candlelight (like Abe Lincoln!). Never lost the water, and once we changed to a gas stove, we could cook (no electric sparkers for the flames, you had pilot lights on all the time)(a great place to raise bread), and after maybe as much as 5-7 days of it, you just felt cross and ill-done-by. Mom worked in a grocery store, and of course everything got stripped before the storm, people grabbing and running for the registers, and after the storm, the delivery trucks were all messed up schedule-wise, and had to cope with closed roads, missing sign posts, and the tire thing too. It was a huge relief when fresh milk and produce became available again.

As for New Orleans, I myself would have put serious effort into moving north somewhere after the last disaster, walk away with whatever money I got from homeowners' insurance (and I do realize that in the poorer quarters that was not possible), and never go back. How can you go to a shelter and leave all your pets behind? And what about livestock like horses? Do you just turn them loose and hope for the best? A nightmare. And now we will get to see just how badly FEMA and the Army CofE have done repairs, and who got paid off big time when all the federal money was flowing. It will not be funny. I blame Bush and all his rich white oil buddies who frowned and shook their heads over the devastation--while they were on camera, that is. And then cried all the way to the bank.

Oh well, here's the beginning and end of political commentary on this blog: If you're not appalled by the state of the USA, you haven't been paying attention. Obama '08!

Favorite bumper sticker: Stupidity Kills! -but not fast enough.