Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is That the Best You’ve Got?

imagesA cacophony of disastrous events has recently plagued Maine. The only reasonable explanation is that Armageddon is upon us- the End Times. Prepare for final judgment.

Or not.

Yesterday and early this morning we endured Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a The Storm of the Century. I live on the south coast of Maine, where I can see the ocean at the end of the street, about 100 feet from our house. My little corner of the Atlantic, however, is but a small cove in a protected harbor in a larger bay guarded by many islands. So it’s not like I expected the waves to be splashing up on my back deck.

The wind and rain started to increase beyond reasonable levels after noontime yesterday. The storm intensity steadily increased until about midnight, with gusts over 60 mph. The rain came in bands. Sometimes nothing was falling from the sky. Other times it felt like our house was being power washed by a thousand hoses at once.

Kim and I take great pride in our hearty, New England fortitude, particularly when it comes to weather. We don’t buy into the incessant hype in the days leading up to a storm. We play it cool, scoffing at Kim’s mother and our daughter (two separate people) who suffer from an innate fear of Mother Nature’s fury. Having said this, the storm was so fierce at times last night that Kim and I would spontaneously make eye contact, raise our eyebrows as high as humanly possible, and utter something along the lines of, “Holy crap!”

Unlike millions of people on the East Coast, we never lost power for even a second. My internet connection performed without interruption. In fact, the reception on my DirecTV dish never even blinked (which makes no sense to me because I’ve lost it temporarily in much milder storms).

We have some trees on our property that we feared could suffer damage, but there were almost no branches on the ground this morning. Many of the remaining leaves on the trees came down, but that’s all. Because of the powerful and unidirectional winds, our lawn appears as if somebody raked all the leaves for us into a couple of neat piles along one side of our house, ready to be picked up and disposed of. Kim is pleased.

When we woke up this morning the fury was over. It was a bit breezy outside, but not raining. Throughout today we had intermittent showers, although around noontime the temperature was up to 65°, and the sun was shining. I took my wheelchair around the neighborhood to assess the broader situation. Just like in my yard, there was almost no damage – just a bunch of leaves and a few branches down. As I zipped around the neighborhood I enjoyed the tropical air that Sandy brought us, which is a very rare treat at this time of year in Maine.

For our community, the storm of the century was no big deal, and is completely behind us now.

Disclaimer: in no way do I mean to imply that this was not a significant storm that caused distress to a great number of people. I’m just referring to my experience with Sandy.

In the introduction to this post I mentioned that there had been a cacophony of events, so I suppose I am obligated to bring up at least one other. On October 16, Maine experienced a rare earthquake. It was about 20 miles from my house and registered at 4.0 on the Richter scale. I’ve experienced a few minor earthquakes in Maine over the years. Unfortunately, I only felt this earthquake in retrospect. I was by myself in the house and heard what sounded like an unbalanced load in our clothes washing machine. After about 10 seconds the sound went away, like it often does, and I gave it no more thought.

About 5 minutes later my daughter texted me and asked if I had felt the earthquake. Our brains work in strange ways. I didn’t consciously run through the events and deliberately put all the pieces together. My brain subconsciously and instantaneously realized that this wasn’t laundry day, and that the noise I had heard from the washing machine was the earthquake. Damn! I so wish that I had realized what was happening while it was happening. That would’ve been much more enjoyable.

Enjoyable, you say? I have to admit, I get a charge out of these little natural disasters and “storms of the century” that we get in Maine. They break up the monotony and make life a little more interesting. Thunderstorms – love those too. The bigger the better.

I guess I also get a kick out of saying, after the mess is all cleaned up, “Mother Nature, is that the best you’ve got?” Being a man of science, I don’t fear jinxes or angry weather gods or any other superstitions.

Come to think of it, now that I’m feeling all cocky and badass, why not take this to the next level and say, “Hey, MS, is that the best you’ve got?”

In the end, Mother Nature or MS may do me in. But I’m not going to give either of them the satisfaction of seeing me sweat.


  1. I am glad for you that Sandy raked your leaves for you(Kim), and didn't flood your house. You were lucky to be North of her fury.

  2. Glad all went well for you, Mitch. Down here in 'Joisey' we had a little more excitement, but we, too, were spared the wrath of Sandy -- except at the shore.

  3. I would be ok with Mom Nature too, if I had a house, but I am always in a many floors apt. bldg or tall skyscraper---I only want to shake from MS. But yea, fun after it is over (like after my ovarian cancer seemed to give up) to get cocky and say, "THAT is all ya got?" hahahaha

  4. Webster,

    Yes, we were lucky indeed. There was a lot of bark this storm for us, but not too much bite.


    Glad to hear that you are in it too hard at your house.


    How dare you defy the cancer gods? :-)