Friday, September 2, 2011

Hurricane Irene. The Clean Up Continues.

I spent three days working in the yard, cleaning up heavy limbs and branches, from willow trees and pines and cedars. I only got the major stuff out. As for the small twigs and little pine boughs and the dreaded cones, they're still out there. And the grass needs cutting. Three days ago, I totally cleaned out the carport. Everything is piled out in the driveway. I washed the concrete down, bleached it, and brushed it out. Two days ago, I was too tired to do anything except bake a cake and take Mr. Hawthorne out for his birthday lunch. And I didn't even take pictures so I could blog about it. That's how tired Rosie was. I was too tired to sleep last night so I was up listening to whatever mind-numbing channel the TV was on and staring blearily at my computer screen, unable to focus. When Mr. Hawthorne came in at 1:30 AM to check on me and see if I was still breathing (Quite a thoughtful gesture. He's such a gentleman.), he was surprised to see me still up, although in a somewhat catatonic state. I think I finally headed to bed around 2. I actually slept well. But long. I didn't get up today until 8 today. And my body felt slammed. I got up, grilled a couple of those Hawaiian Savory rolls in buttah, grilled that Kentucky Double Smoked Ham we like so much, and enjoyed my breakfast. Then, I started on today's project. And not a moment too soon. When you walk up to my front door, there's a landing at the first flight and you walk in the door to the foyer. Straight ahead, there's a another flight of steps up to our first floor. And to to the right of that, there's a flight back down to ground level. And there's a little grotto of storage area on the ground level that's directly underneath the steps going up. It's where I store most of my Christmas stuff - most in plastic containers- suitcases from 40 years ago, tall file cabinet which I think still has the Playboy issue with the Price is Right chick who was doing Bob Barker which gives new meaning to COME ON DOWN!, boxes computers came in because Mr. Hawthorne says to save them, and files Mr. Hawthorne is supposed to save for 10 years, which is ridiculous. This is today's project. Clean up my cave under the steps. Walking into it, it's upside-down J-shaped and you can't see in the curve of the J since it's so dark and you can't stand up anywhere except at the door way at the top of the J. It's all underneath steps. Steps going up and steps going down. When I was cleaning the carport the other day, there was a whole lot of lumber out there, all of which I sprayed down then stacked on the back deck. Can't tell you the number of BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS I've stomped. So now I'm entering my storage area under the steps and I'm thinking about spiders and snakes. Not happy thoughts.
This is the top of the J. File cabinet, boxes, and some Christmas.
Uh ho. I'd totally forgotten about these. Each Christmas, I asked for a marionette. I believe they were from FAO Schwartz. I loved that catalog. I found them at Mama Hawthorne's, still in the original boxes and brought them home. I used to write plays and I built a stage in Auntie Beth's basement where I would give standing ovation performances. They're drying out in the sun.
Nasty driveway.
People are trying to salvage refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, anything steel.
Hello Christmas.
Christmas lights, balls, wrapping paper. And the scavengers took the locked file cabinet with pics of Janice Pennington.
All this is going into the pile in the cul de sac. Screw the Christmas lights. They can put a man on the moon, but they can't make a damn string of lights that works from one year to the next. Shoot, those lights don't even last during one Christmas season.
Before, during, and after hurricanes, we all have wonderful friends who come and help us. My friend, Natasha, dropped by to help me out today. I found this fabulous wrap in my Christmas pile under the steps. Every year, after Christmas, Mr. Hawthorne and I go to WalMart and we buy wrapping papers, ribbons, blows, lights, glitter. You name it. It's all 75% off. I had no idea I had bought this treasure. It's a lovely gauzy ribbon that had LIGHTS through it!
Heh. I said "blows," not "bows." And nobody caught it.
Natasha and I are working it.
I'm at the start of the J curve. The red ribbons on the right are outside Christmas lights that I used to twine around the pickets on the front steps. They probably didn't work last year. I'll dry them outside, then check them. And no doubt toss. Remember. It's all CRAP. We can always buy more CRAP to replace the CRAP we lost.
A great deal of progress has been made. The is the top of the J. The bottom of the J goes up into the darkness on the left.
Old suitcases. One went to Germany. Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I stayed at Hotel Eisenhut. Room 343. There's a sticker on the suitcase. I'll always remember Rothenburg. And room 343 at the Hotel Eisenhut. I was 18. I always wanted to go back. Oh. And there's a bag of trash and two lovely, ruined rugs.
Poor Mr. Hawthorne. He stored his pyrotechnic collection in waterproof containers. BWAHAHAHAHHAHA!
My pile is growing. As I previously said, I've had a cavalier attitude about Irene. That's because I have to. If I don't, it comes too close and hurts. I'm so happy to get rid of clutter. I always look for ways to simplify my life. I am happy to use my leafblower, my hose, my bleach, and my push broom. I want this detritus out of my life. There is a stagnant stench downstairs that I've treated with Clorox. I used bleach on the concrete under the steps today. It barely masks the smell of wet and mold. Now. after all my bravado, it hit me. What I had stored down there. What I moved out. And it hit hard.
Just click on the pic to enlarge. What I'm doing here finally hit me in the gut. They're soaked and they stink. Everything my children grew up with. They probably don't remember. But I do. Some many little animal puppets. I used to love sticking my hand, thumb, and pinkie in the appropriate orifices and regaling my children with probably inappropriate stories about their lives in the world.
Here's some of my pile.
I'm drawn to my children's pile. This hurts.
I had to turn away and look at my driveway. Don't you just love the beach umbrella?
It's really funny about what floats and what doesn't float in a flood. We had the generator, which Mr. Hawthorne made sure was in working condition, on top of 5 gallon buckets. We had 3 feet of water on the ground floor, and the generator toppled over. The flooding also took away our gas tanks. Joy. I had a two-foot tall/18-inch diameter terra cotta planter sitting in a terra cotta dish at the bottom of my front steps. The dish is still there, but the planter, with water-laden dirt in it, was lifted out of the 2-inch tall dish and gently placed about 25 feet south. In the last mulch I got up at the recycling center, I found a bunch of one-inch-square purple tiles. I put the tiles on one of my 6 x 6's in one of the garden areas. I like the purple of the tile accenting my purple setcresia. The 13 tiles after the flood were still in the exact same place. How do you explain this?
My marionettes, drying. I was quite the puppeteer, in my day.
My books are still drying on the hood of my truck. Hope it doesn't rain.
And you can smell those rugs a mile away.


Marion said...

Rosie, Rosie, Rosie, be careful with those Black Widows. Had to be very careful with those in Phoenix - won't attack unless provoked but very, very nasty if they bite.

Very sad about the stuffed animals. But puppets? I never knew.

Marilyn said...

Okay, Rosie. The puppets scare me. Clowns I don't mind, but puppets give me the heebiejeebies.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Mar, I can't take clowns. I have Bozophobia. But I control the marionettes. Makes all the difference.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Dear Marion,
I have so many layers.
I am an onion.

Anonymous said...

That's a ton of work, Rosie. You're right, however, that it's just stuff and stuff can be replaced. I'm sorry that you feel sad about the puppets and stuffed animals. My reality is I couldn't wait to get rid of all those toys. I have regretted tossing some of the kids' things (Barbies, Fisher Price toys, etc.) as they fetch quite a bit on ebay now.
I plan on making your pineapple cake today (and I don't even really like pineapple, but you've tempted me.)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

NMOAC, you'll love the pineapple cake. When you do the icing, don't forget the butter!

Let me know how you like it.

Marilyn said...

But Rosie, what if the marionettes decide to take over on their own? That was always my fear as a child. or, what if they really were the ones controlling the puppeteer?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Well now, Mar. I didn't think of that. They're done in my carport on my brand new storage shelves along with my heads. And the heads' eyes follow you around. They're freakin' creepy.

dle1004 said...

Rosie I am so sorry you have to deal with all the mess,I understand totally about staying during a Hurricane,and can relate to the cleanup...only thing worse is cleanup and no power! You don't think about the sentimental stuff while cleaning up, but later it hits big moment was when a Hurricane took a grapefruit tree my father had planted for me...along with dumping 400 grapefruit on ground...I was so tired I cried like a baby