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Harvey Lessons

Much Ado About Nothing November 30, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

It’s been just over three months since Harvey, the Zombie Hurricane that Wouldn’t Die, showed up like an infected poison ivy rash to make my life a miserable mess. While it has been an incredibly challenging experience, it has also been a remarkable opportunity to discover new skills and new uses for old swear words.

To be honest, I’m not sure the English language actually has enough salty expletives to get through something like this. I’ve sent inquiries into the furthest back alleys of Detroit and really bad parts of New York City to see if maybe there are cuss words I’ve missed. I do try to hide my crazy as much as possible (which isn’t much), but there are certain times, certain contractors, certain managers at big hardware stores that won’t be named for legal reasons that just need to have their ears ring a little (a lot).

Through this, I’ve developed a deep, passionate appreciation for modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and solid walls. Not to mention, I completely get prehistoric man falling on his face to worship the discovery of fire. I was exactly the same way when I finally got my stove back in my kitchen. Three months is a long time to have to leave your cave to go forage for food every time you want to eat.  I think I was about one more Egg McMuffin away from punching someone in the throat. By the way, if you’ve never celebrated a major holiday at Whataburger, you’re sheltered.

I now know that if you clench your jaw, dig your fingernails into the palms of your hands and try to name every US president in your head while someone tells you how the flood waters came oh so frighteningly close to almost nearly but not quite coming into their house, then you’re less likely to access your vocabulary of foul language or administer throat punches. You’re better off finding other members of your water-logged tribe. They’re the ones staring at the 28 different shades of “ceiling white” paint, too overwhelmed and exhausted to pick one. Or they may be having a meltdown in the flooring department. In both incidences, approach slowly, no sudden movements, while offering soft words of encouragement and shots of whiskey.

And just think, only six more months until hurricane season.

Harvey

Much Ado About Nothing September 14, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Yup, I drew the short straw and, obviously, the short elevation. During Hurricane Harvey, my house flooded. My house flooded with water, friends, strangers, dust, spiders, bleach, fans, dehumidifiers, power tools, a handful of tears, swear words that won’t be repeated here, and on the rare occasion, a contractor (although they didn’t usually show up on time, stick around or follow through, so I don’t really count them). Mostly, during Hurricane Harvey, I was flooded in blessings.

From the friend who made me laugh into the wee hours of the storm because he’d turned the Emergency Alert System warnings into a drinking game to the one who, for days, sent me encouragement from the safety of a landlocked, Union-sympathizing state well away from the storm surge, we never felt alone. My next door neighbors spent six hours in the middle of the night bailing out the sinking ship that my house had become then swam home with pruned feet and aching backs to sleep it off, then joined the army that had shown up with the sun to cut out drywall. We’ve been blessed with great people.

About midway through the zombie hurricane that just wouldn’t die, my roof decided to finally pursue its lifelong ambition to be a screen door. Yes, my roof leaked, but I wasn’t air-lifted off of it, so there’s that blessing. I can’t get an adjuster up there, but I’ve got a tarp. And if you’re blessed with a tarp, you can go a long time without an adjuster.

I’ve been able to cancel my gym membership since I’m now on the “Body by Harvey” tone up plan. Who needs free weights when you have a pry bar, a sledge hammer, and small mountain of wet carpet, hardwood flooring and drywall to carry to the curb? I’ll use the money I save on the gym to buy hot dogs and marshmallows for when I light up that bonfire I’ve built in my driveway.

I was blessed because my neighborhood Whataburger was back open after only a day or so. The dehumidifiers dried out my house while making my hair look great. I haven’t seen a single snake. Yet.

And my motto throughout this whole ordeal has been, “Every day without tetanus is a good day.” I’m having a string of those so far. So, yes, I’m blessed.

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