Monday, May 4, 2009

Hurricane Experience and Pool Drama

Having my breakfast. The wonderful black gold that wakes me up every morning. Today it's the always delicious Community Coffee. My favorite is Duncan's fresh ground but I only use that on weekends for a nice change from the normal.

Wow! What a weekend! My hubby and I did lots of work. He worked on the lawnmower. Our nice "manly" John Deer. It needed some blade sharpening and balancing. He also cleaned it and made it shine. I'm usually the one that cuts the grass since he works so much and I'll be proud to drive it next cutting. It looks like new. He also worked on his car but cares less about the car than the lawnmower :)

I worked on the swimming pool. What a big task! Now, you have to understand that I begged for this pool. Hubby said if we get a pool I would have to take care of it. Oh, I was on board with that! No problem. Well one problem.

Gustav, the wonderful hurricane of 2008, blew every leaf off my trees and straight into my pool. On top of that the pool vac hoses dry rotted and the mesh filter tore off on me. I guess there was just too much debris for it to handle. When every leaf in your yard (and we have lots and I do mean lots of trees) has fallen into it and you don't have the tools to clean it (like a shop vac) you have to do things like get into a nasty green pool. No, you can't just drain a pool with millions of leaves in it. They quickly clog the drain holes.

Living in cajun country everyone has hip waders. Not us. So I had to keep pulling leaves from the drains (which meant standing there for hours with a long stick pushing leaves away from the holes) until it was low enough for me to get in with knee length boots. That took a whole day alone. I worked for days with a huge leaf net getting out as much of the leaves as I could. When I thought I'd gotten enough out I filled the pool back up praying the filter and salt would clean it the rest of the way. Bad idea!

It took all of ten minutes before problems started. Maybe the vacuum will work good. No. That's when I found out the hose was dry rotted. How did that happen in 3 weeks? Then the mesh bag tore and leaves got sucked into the hoses and shut the pump off. OK, so, I'll take the vacuum off and try this again with the skimmer.

Apparently the pump can't handle that much green gunk and I had to stand by the skimmer to keep digging leaves out. The pump ran for about 3 minutes before shutting off again! Ugggh!

OK, I gave up for the time being. I mean it wasn't like the pool was a priority at the time but it would have made hurricane clean up a little easier. See, it was very very hot, electricity had been out for 3 weeks and looked like it would be at least another week before we may get it back. We had my dads yard to clean (he had a huge tree fall on his carport and lots of large branches blocking his driveway and in the yard) and my brother to help (his carport fell and part of his roof came off) and our own yard was full of very large branches and tree tops (we were lucky our house was pretty much untouched). It would have been nice to be able to jump in the pool at the end of the day. I would have used the generator to keep it going.

A little side rant: FOOD. We have a gas stove just for times like these. When electricity goes out we can still have coffee and cook. That would work if it wasn't for everyone and everything else for about a hundred miles being out of electricity too. You can't get food. You have to use ready to eat meals (who has time to cook anyway?) and thank God for volunteers from churches like Disaster Relief and others I can't remember names of right now! They gave 2 hot meals a day. Family and friends took turns going get the food and distributing it while people were busy cleaning up. Others set up places to get water, sports drinks, diapers, toothpaste, cleaning items, blue tarps etc. Those groups were very well set up and a very big blessing! We even had groups that would help with getting trees off your roof and put blue tarps up for people who couldn't do it for themselves.

Of course, insurance, FEMA and government helped right? NOT! We had another hurricane coming our way and volunteers had to leave for a day or two and we were all trying to get our roofs covered from the rains that were coming. Try to do anything without money. Most of us just used all of our extra money evacuating. FEMA abandoned us. They said, "that is what your insurance is for" but insurance companies would have to have estimates first. Thousands of people needed estimates at the same time. See how fast you can get an estimate even if your phone works (which they didn't most of the time). We were covering roofs with whatever we could find for a temporary fix. While doing this we had to fight with insurance and FEMA. Temporary food stamps: use to be able to get those pretty easy as long as you were willing or had time to stand in line for 8 to 12 hours or sometimes days. Not this time. Again, most of us didn't qualify! You have to have someone disabled, make under minimum wage or lie to get them. We didn't qualify and we wouldn't lie. So again, thank God for the volunteers!

It's been a long and hard end of summer. Fall was coming and we are trying to save up some money to replace what the hurricane took. Christmas was coming fast. We prayed we would have enough to give the kids at least a little bit of something. That wasn't really a big deal though. Our family knows that the birth of Jesus is what Christmas is really about. Not getting presents. However, we usually reserve unnecessary things for birthdays and Christmas so was hoping to get the kids at least one nice thing each. The pool so not a priority.

Well, now we have very hot days and it's not even summer yet. The pool is looking more like a priority. It is drained but still filled with leaves and scum. Dried on leaves and scum. Put a little water in and bail it out not too bad. Wrong. I'm not 20 any more! I'm now 41 and my body is letting me know it!

Finally, I begged my husband for a shop vac but he said no. In his defense we are buying a home this year and have to have a new sewer system. So, I go at it with buckets and an aquarium fish net to get out as much of the scum as possible. It wasn't going so well and looked like it would take all summer for me to get it clean. I could borrow my brothers shop vac except that his house still isn't livable and he is using it to clean out his attic (insurance doesn't cover wind blown rain...they claim that because his roof came off and it rained it was wind blown rain that destroyed his house).

This is Saturday about 3 p.m. I'm sunburned to blisters, about to pass out from heat exhaustion and dehydrated. I go get some money I saved up and asked him to please go get a shop vac. He takes my money and was instructed to get a shop vac, salt for the pool and a new pool vacuum. He comes home with a shop vac, a leaf blower (didn't ask for this) and 6 bags of salt. No pool vacuum. Said he couldn't find one. Gave me back the money I gave him said he had some put away and used that. Aw, how sweet. So my first thought is...he's been holding out on me! I'm just so happy to get the shop vac that I over look it and forgive him.

So Saturday I got all the leaves out but now the scum needs scrubbing off the pool. Once the mosquitoes decided it was supper time and I was on the menu, I quit for the day.

Sunday morning went to early church so we could get the rest of the work done before dark. Was so busy scrubbing that I forgot all about my daughters softball practice. Oh well, at least it wasn't a game. I was sucking up the last of the scrubbed off scum with the shop vac when a few drops of rain started. Hubby was working in the house doing clothes (what a sweetheart) when I called him out to help me pick up all the electronics before they got wet. I had my mp3 and speakers out there to motivate me with music while I worked, the shop vac, my phone and a few other things that couldn't get wet. We got those picked up right before the rain. I thank you God for holding the rain off just long enough for me to finish cleaning the pool and pick up the things that would have gotten ruined had they got wet!

We turned the water on to fill the pool. I didn't get to put the pump back together but that's OK. It will take all night and most of Monday for the pool to get full enough to try the pump anyway.

Now it's Monday. Checked on the pool. Looks so good. The water still isn't high enough to use the pump but not too many hours away. So I start to put it back together and BAM! Lightning seems to come out of nowhere. Um, I'll wait. Now it is storming out there. I turned the water off and am letting the rain fill it up the rest of the way. If it stops raining later today I'll go put the pump together. Not sure if it works because the last time I tried to use it, it shut off. I guess I will find out today or tomorrow if the rain and lightening stops long enough. I just hope I can get it going before the water turns green again! Luckily, WalMart now sells salt water pumps so I can just go pick one up instead of have to order it and wait a week or more for it to come in.

I'm glad for the rain. I have a delicious persimmon tree, orange trees and a fig tree that really needs the water. It is also helping to fill the pool. I'm not putting the salt in until I know if the pump works in case I can't get another pump before the water turns green again. At least this time it will just take draining and refilling.

One more thing I want to say about the hurricane: even if you think you don't have damage to your home you will have damage to your electronics. Not from the storm exactly. We unplug everything and think it's safe. Not so. Something we have learned from this one is that when you plug them back in as soon as your electricity is back on you may be making a big mistake.

For about 3 weeks we kept having surges. My microwave blew out. My coffee pot blew out. And the computer hard drive blew out. So far our TVs, washer, dryer, dishwasher and fridge are still working fine. They could still give out at any time. Many people lost things this way and are still having things blow out (insurance says they don't cover that either even if you have contents covered! They say it's the electric company who is responsible! Yea right, like I would even try to collect from them. They worked so hard just to get us back on as soon as they could. How could they be responsible? What on earth am I paying sooooo much insurance for?!? So far as I can tell my house has to burn down from and electrical malfunction to collect anything and even then I bet there is a loophole).

Couldn't live without coffee and got really tired of brewing it on the stove and drinking grinds at the bottom of the cup so the first thing we got was a new coffee pot. I also got a coffee grinder. We love this! Didn't know how much better fresh ground tasted until now. Then we got the new hard drive. We could live without this for awhile but thanks to Circuit City going out of business we got their floor model for almost nothing! Still don't have a microwave. That is kind of hard to get used to not having. Heating things in the oven or on the stove just isn't the same. Since we are about to get a new house that will come with a microwave, I refuse to buy another one right now.

So now the rain is letting up and the sun is starting to peep out of a cloud. Oops spoke too soon. Looks like this storm might last for 2 or 3 days. Still, I think the pool will be ready by the weekend. Come enjoy it with us, we'd love to have your company for fun and much need relaxation!


Kellie Forbes said...

Hi! I just stumbled on to your blog looking for some crochet patterns. I had to literally Laugh Out Loud as you were explaining about Gustav! We got hit by him too! We are just outside of BR, where are you from? I can relate to the coffee thing all too well! I'll just add this tid-bit of info...a huge @ss generator can run mist everything in your home if you backfeed it through your dryer plug, it can run your 60" screen TV, your satelite receivers, most lights & ceiling fans...not to mention a microwave & the SOON as you HIT that BREW button on the COFFEE POT, guess what? Yep...the generator stalls! So, when we get ready for coffee, everything gets shut down & the coffee pot gets plugged in, that way I have my coffee & NO ONE gets hurt! LOL!!!

cajuncrochet said...

Lol Kellie! Love it! We live on Houma