Tropical Storm Isaac, Riding the Fence
By: Penelope Butler, Contributor*
As I prepared for the first day of school last night I took a break for a moment and stared out of my window at our new nine foot fence that had just been completed, before deciding to catch up on Facebook. The chatter on Facebook was centered around Tropical Storm Isaac, soon predicted to be Hurricane Isaac.
In the embattled Gulf States, hurricanes and talk of evacuations, have become as commonplace as preparing for Halloween and the upcoming fall season. Living in Beaumont, Texas, where we have in the past, been devastated by Hurricanes Rita and Ike, people tend to plan vacations toward the end of hurricane season, commonly referred to as hurrications. It is not surprising then, that friends are concerned about boarding up beach houses, elderly relatives in nearby Louisiana, also predicted as a possible place of landfall for Isaac, and whether or not to stock up on canned vittles.
By this morning the news reports claim that Louisiana and Mississippi have already declared states of emergency. The weathermen are currently predicting that the storm will probably miss us and it will be more of a rain event for this area. However, I feel there are others predictors besides weathermen. I tend to subscribe to the “worst possible timing” model. It has been a great predictor for my family in the past. I keep looking out of the window at our brand new fence. Just completed yesterday. Fences are one of the first casualties of gale force winds accompanying hurricanes. Especially 9 foot fences that catch the wind.
I share the information about the looming storm with my children as they prepare for school. They seem completely unfazed by the news. Even, somewhat hopeful we will get the full brunt and have to abandon school yet again. They love hurrications, the last one being during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and previously about one month off for Hurricane Rita. They start talking about possible hurrication destinations. When we talk about the fence just being completed my youngest child offers this advice, “You betta pray lady!” Hmmm. Prudent slang words.
By now I have downloaded the Hurricane App. on my phone as instructed by a Facebook friend and have “liked” the Hurricane Isaac page. Now I am totally committed to tracking this storm during every waking moment! Not necessarily always the best thing. As I drop the kids off at school I see my contractor. Upon discussion of the looming storm he informs me payment for the fence is due in full and immediately. He says it jokingly of course. We both know what he’s thinking. No words are necessary. I am back home now. The fence looks great. The spaghetti models of the storm show landfall could be anywhere from Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi. Landfall will probably be on Tuesday, according to the experts and Isaac is expected to emerge from the Gulf as a category one hurricane. My children remind me we slept through a category one hurricane a few years ago. I leave them, feeling some relief. The storm will most probably miss us this time. The close of hurricane season is November the thirtieth, with few storms emerging after October. I would not be worried at all. If it weren’t for that fence, that dang fence!
*Polly Stratiotis Butler is a licensed professional counselor in private practice. She lives in Beaumont, Texas with her husband Carlton, and two sons Jonathan and Alex Butler. Born in Athens, Greece, Polly has been a transplanted Texan since 1979.
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