Storms, Luck, and Heroes

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Happy Summer, farmgirls! I’m enjoying a morning cup of coffee in my favorite Wonder Woman mug, in my vintage camper, my chihuahua in my lap. I had a post idea all ready to write for June, but that changed when, a few weeks ago, something unimaginable happened here in New England!

It was a beautiful day. Hot and humid, it was a welcome change to the cold, drizzly days we’d been experiencing for what seemed like forever. My husband and I had a day off, and decided on lunch near the coast as we were picking up a present for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. We’d planned to do our “big” grocery shopping at a nearby Costco, and mentioned to my daughter we might be a few minutes late picking her up from school. She had a project to work on at the library anyway.

We soon changed our minds when a robocall came from school announcing after school activities were cancelled due to impending bad weather. We picked our daughter up, and since there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, went for ice cream before heading home.

We had just sat down with a cool drink when the next phone alert came through: a loud alarm with a message – TORNADO WARNING IN YOUR AREA TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

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The sky turned green. We barely had enough time to make it to the basement with all our pets. Glancing back before heading down basement stairs, I saw our windows – the glass panes were solid debris, leaves “glued” to the glass. The sound was deafening, and fear set in. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Connecticut.

We lost electricity quickly. There we sat in our tiny, dark storage room – three humans, two big dogs, one chihuahua, two cats, and a pet snake. (My husband is deathly afraid of snakes. I think he might’ve rather faced a tornado head on than risk that the lid on the Tupperware the snake was in would hold).

We heard what sounded like explosions, realizing something hit the house, maybe hit the camper…what was waiting up above we didn’t know.

A “macroburst” and tornadoes pelted the region. It didn’t last that long, but it felt like forever. It was later reported that winds were over 100 mph, stronger than Superstorm Sandy.

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When it was over, three GIANT trees had fallen in the driveway, blocking us in. One tree hit the house, landing on the living/dining room with such force that a heavy rocker sitting on the carpet was thrown across the room, pieces of the ceiling strewn about and frames knocked from the walls. One tree missed our Glamper by mere feet! We were so very lucky. We didn’t lose our lives, or our house or cars (things were damaged, yes, but all can be fixed).

This was one of the trees blocking the driveway. This one hit the house. The upturned root stood eight feet tall!

This was one of the several huge trees blocking the driveway. This one hit the house. The upturned root stood eight feet tall!

Gidget the Glamper had a guardian angel! So did we!

Gidget the Glamper had a guardian angel! So did we!

Snapped trees  found everywhere look like broken matchsticks.

Snapped trees found everywhere look like broken matchsticks.

The view from my front door...

The view from my front door…

Sigh...it hit the house, but it could always be worse...

Sigh…it hit the house, but it could always be worse…

The days that followed were difficult. Our neighborhood, like many others, looked like Armageddon. Homes and cars damaged or trashed, trees down, wires fallen everywhere, and we had no electricity for about a week. On our property debris a foot thick covered everywhere. I got poison ivy on my legs and arms from cleaning up the yard. Also happening that week, we rushed my chihuahua to the canine ER and to our vet several times, as he he had a flare of pancreatitis. On the rainy, cold Saturday following the storm, with my husband at work, the few lights we had on at home went out – though my generator kept running. Our roads through our neighborhood were blocked; if it caught fire, I don’t think help could’ve gotten to us that day. My daughter’s friend from school and his father left a movie to head to our house to help. Heroes to us that day! The generator had, in fact, shorted out! Sunday morning at 7:00 AM I had to buy a new one, another unexpected expense I didn’t need. On the bright side, we didn’t lose all our frozen food. It could always be worse…

Close call! This is the view from the window!

Close call! This was the view from the window!

But this isn’t a blog of doom and gloom. I thought of my favorite quote by one of the most amazing humans that ever graced the planet.

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Through it all, we saw neighbors helping neighbors. Heroes! The workers we saw dangling from power lines in cold and wet, leaving their families behind to come here from all over the United States, working day and night to restore power to the state…heroes! The server at the local diner (one of the only places in town open at first) with damage to her home and no electricity, weary herself but serving food with a smile and upbeat attitude…a hero! While we had no power, my friend Valerie had electricity. She works a full time job and has a family, yet all week she made my family hot dinners, amazing breakfasts, and insisted we do our laundry at her house. I’ll never forget her kindness and comfort!  (Girlfriend, you know you really are Wonder Woman!) The vet tech who opened the office to meet me on a day they were closed, to get my pup medicine – my hero! The police and firefighters working endless hours during the aftermath- heroes- everyday, in fact.

After a while of hard days, the sun came out, clean up began, and things looked better again.

After a while of hard days, the sun came out, clean up began, and things looked better again.

It’s been a lot of worry and care but our little Pip is feeling much better!

It’s been a lot of worry and care but our little Pip is feeling much better!

We were so lucky. We and our pets were unhurt, nothing happened that can’t be fixed. Even all the chickens weathered the storm, including the “Butterscotch Triplets”, our little pullets. The coop kept them safe, though the run was a mess!

We were so lucky. We and our pets were unhurt, nothing happened that can’t be fixed. Even all the chickens weathered the storm, including the “Butterscotch Triplets”, our little pullets. The coop kept them safe, though the run was a mess!

Losing power, losing the internet, having to replant my garden, having unexpected expenses, having damage to property, having school open until the end of June…all of it’s just “irritations”. Sure, there’s been tears, exhaustion, and frustration! Still, we were so lucky. Lives were lost in our state, and there could’ve been many more. Seeing so many people helping each other, well, that’s the good part.

My husband was off work on Memorial Day weekend. We’d had enough stress with the storm aftermath and worry with loved ones in the hospital in another state, and with our sick little dog (today, Pip is having a good day, thankfully). We snuck off for a few hours to see “Fleet Week” in NYC. It was jaw dropping, boarding the HUGE vessels that protect our country. All the troops looked so crisp in their uniforms. I must be getting old, because I kept thinking, “I sure hope they call their mamas often.” These men and women put their lives on the line, and the spouses and families they leave behind while on duty are also heroes!

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During Fleet Week, visitors could board the USS Arlington, constructed from the steel of the fallen World Trade Center, 9/11.

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How cute is this guy? A mascot of the Marine Museum.

How cute is this guy? A mascot of the Marine Museum.

Sometimes the news we see is horrific. Things in the world today are not always rosy, by far. But look around because the great human spirit is there. There’s still so much good, kindness and bravery to be found.

 

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 28 Comments

  1. Ramona Puckett says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m so thankful y’all are ok and doing well. It will take time, GOD is with you, I will pray for your family and little dog. May the blessings be ❤

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ramona, thank you so much! Just came from the vet again to check up on lil’ Pip…so far, so good with his recovery. My daughter was a bit shell-shocked over the storm; I’ve had to reassure her that it won’t be like that every time we get a storm. Driving through town today I noticed so many tree stumps everywhere. There’s a lot of historic places like barns and houses lost, too. It was certainly a “doozy” of a storm! Thank you for the prayers! We define had guardian angels watching over us! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Debbie Fischer says:

    Yes, Nicole Hero’s are found in the most unlikely places. Our lives are so much better because of them all. How happy I am you, your family and animals are alright and Little Pip, so sweet.
    How wonderful the fleet was in and your family was able to experience it.
    Happy summer Nichole, enjoy it with your beautiful family,
    I really enjoy your blog and reading about your life.
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Debbie

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie! It’s good to hear from you, farmgirl! Thank you for your kind words. I am looking forward to a quiet, relaxing (hopefully) summer with my family and pups, doing “farmgirl” types of things like gardening and crafting. Hope you all have a wonderful summer in Colorado, as well. Much love! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Linda LeDue says:

    I loved the way you told your story. In the end, it is about all the loving people who come in and help. In a time, when everything seems so difficult, it was wonderful to hear your story and all the wonderful people who helped.

  4. Wow…we live in the northeast corner of the state, but were watching the news follow-ups about the tornadoes and microbursts on the opposite corner. Yes, many inconveniences, but I’m so glad you’re all okay. Events like this really make one stop and think about what’s really important.

    Dot

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dot, Yes, don’t they? Growing up in Texas, I saw my share of large, scary thunderstorms, but this was something else! The trees here are so tall and make things quite frightening. I am so glad your area was not hit like ours was. Hope we have a beautiful summer in Connecticut! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Ruth Ann Smith says:

    OMG, I am so sorry for all your problems. What crazy weather we have been having everywhere. So very glad you and your family and pets are all safe and sound. You are right, things can be lost and and replaced but family and loved ones cannot. The true spirit of America comes out when there is a crisis and your neighbors are proof of that. I hope that things get repaired quickly for you and life can go on for you. God Bless!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ruth, Thank you! Yes, we are okay. It’s more of an irritation now. My little dog is on the right track to feeling better and the driveway is pretty much cleaned up. We will have to get the house repaired, but at least the house is there to repair! I certainly have a renewed respect for Mother Nature! This storm was a reminder to count my blessings! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Julie Pruett says:

    So Sorry that “the storm” happened to you all…glad you’re bouncing back…Your experience sounds scary, interesting and enlightening…thank you, for sharing it with us…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, Thank you! It is amazing how long a short time can seem when it is the middle of a big storm! The garden is replanted and the driveway clear. Looking forward to a more relaxing summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Rhoda Tuckey says:

    I am so glad you are alright and the family as well. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime. God is with you and yours!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rhoda, thank you, you are so right! Every breath we take is a blessing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, this is a beautiful blog to read and it brought tears to my eyes. You told everything so well and your house is very well built! You were all very lucky and prayers were answered. We see God when people are trying to help others in distress. It is so nice to hear of people who re not in their own little world today. Proud of your writing!
    Love picture of the American flag and the little dog mascaot.
    Mother

  9. Joan says:

    Oh my, now that’s enough troubles for a long while. I was raised in tornado alley in Nebraska, so I appreciate how y’all were shaken. Isn’t it wonderful how neighbors and friends come together at these times. Hope puppy is well and the rest of your summer goes well. God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan! I have always wondered how those that live in “tornado alley” handle it. Those states have such beauty. Being from Texas, of course, we did see our storms, too! I guess everywhere has something once in awhile. It is lovely to see how people come together, though. You never know what little bit you may think you do is something very big, giving much comfort to others. Blessings to you, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Marilyn says:

    Thank God you and your husband and daughter were not hurt. Sorry about the damage to your house and car. You are blessed with great friends and neighbors. Hope things are getting back to normal in your neighborhood.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, Thank you. Yes, we are very blessed! It’s a big reminder to make every day count! Things are starting to feel a bit more normal, which is very nice. Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Valerie Toth-O'Sullivan says:

    Loved the blog. We lucked out when the storm did not take your family from us. It could have been a lot worse.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Valerie, we were blessed when you made it safely into the Walgreens just in time, too! Love you and your wonderful family! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Beverley Doolittle says:

    Happy everything turned out for you. As you said things can always be worse.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Beverley, thank you. We are getting back to normal and looking forward to a better summer. Sometimes thinking “it can always be worse” is a big help to keep life in perspective. We were so lucky. My heart goes out to the people who weren’t so lucky and true tragedy hit. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Sandi King says:

    Prayers go out still today Nicole for your family of loved ones and a great big Thank You God for sparing your lives and prayers for the families of those who were lost in this horrific storm. Nature can be beautiful and horrifyingly brutal at times. We can not answer the ‘why did this happen’, but maybe it is to remind us all that there is good in this world in the people around us who are there to help us when it is needed. Your story was so authentic in its writing that I could almost be there experiencing it with you. Happy that little Pip is on the mend. I know our animals are scared silly of any loud noises and even rain on the roof scares my Allie cat. I am so glad that you had a place to get into like your basement and you made it in time. Maybe you can post your blog in July that you had for June before this storm. God bless all.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Sandi! Pip had his “check up” with the vet yesterday and so far he is on the mend. Thankfully, we don’t get a lot of storms here, but when we do we will be babying him even more! 😉

      Check back to the blog in July for that post I didn’t use for June. Thanks for reading and commenting. Big farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  14. Nancy says:

    Nicole, so glad everyone made it through the storm. I know the clean up will take a while but as you said, things can be fixed and replaced. It is so important to look at the bright side. I love your quote from Mr. Rogers and thankfully you had some real helpers. Hope you get everything cleaned up soon.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Nancy, thank you. The clean up is frustrating and very time consuming, but it will eventually all get done. I’m just so thankful it wasn’t worse. This entire year has shown us crazy weather! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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