Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell, Irene!

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

Unless you live on another planet or in another country, you know that the United States east coast was hit by Hurricane Irene. It was a Category II hurricane that made land fall in North Carolina before making its way up the coast. By the time it hit us here in New Jersey, it was a Category I.

What one must realize is that we are not accustomed to our storms being large enough to be categorized. We get thunderstorms or an occasional tropical storm, which I personally find exhilarating, but nothing like this. The last hurricane I can remember was Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which seemed to pale by comparison.

I must confess, I was a little nervous, but felt certain we were well prepared. I had enough candles to light up the entire Village of Ridgewood on a good day, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, pet food, charged cell phones, ice filled coolers. I sat down with a nice glass of wine and waited for Lady Irene to make her entrance.

It began as gentle rain just before I went to bed and I considered the possibility that the media had probably hyped up the storm like they do every other “weather event”. I woke at about 1:30 a.m. to sound of driving rain and winds that were so strong I felt certain that our windows would implode.  And then we lost power. Now, I was no longer a little nervous…I was scared shitless! We all stayed awake until dawn.

As the sky began to lighten, making the situation feel a lot less ominous, my main concern was whether I’d be able to find the manual can opener so that we could feed the dogs and my French press, so that I wouldn’t die and/or become homicidal without my morning coffee. I manage to do both and neither with little effort.

I looked out the window, happy to see that there didn’t appear to be any more damage than one would find with your typical “bad” Jersey storm. There were a few tree branches in the yard, but nothing significant. The patio furniture and the potted plants on our deck were all relatively undisturbed. My rose bushes, that had been ferociously whipped around by the wind the night before, were perfectly secured to their trellises, and had beautiful buds just beginning to bloom. “Pfffttt, Hurricane Irene”, I thought to myself. I knew it was all “hype”.   Still, it was very windy and raining pretty hard, but I wasn’t worried. The worst seemed to be over and the meteorologists were reporting that by mid afternoon, the skies would clear and it would be a beautiful day!

I was peacefully sipping my coffee and thinking to myself that all we needed now was the power to go back on and Hurricane Irene would be a distant memory, when I glanced out our patio doors to see the backyard rapidly filling up with murky brown water! I screamed on the top of my lungs for my sleeping husband, as if he would be able to do something to stop it and watched as muddy water rose around our newly built shed and began swallowing most of our lawn! I was struck with an overwhelming sense of panic, but not for fear that our house would become flood ravaged.

You see, we have a fairly large, well established Koi pond in our yard. I’ve been caring for these fish for the past six or more years. These aren’t your common goldfish, but imported Japanese Koi, some of whom hatched in the pond and have grown to about a foot in length. And while I can’t say I feel the same way about them that I do my other pets, they are living beings and have brought both great joy and aggravation to my life….just like my kids!

That being said, over the years, I have had a recurrent nightmare of watching flood waters overtaking  the yard, flowing over the top of the Koi pond and seeing all the fish swim out into the muddy water, gasping for breath before dying on the grass. Oh.My.God! It’s awful!!!

I was in tears as I watched the water nearing my pond and realized that my nightmares were about to become a reality!

My mind was racing….there had to be something I could do, but what? I didn’t have anything large enough to hold all 22 fish and even if I did, how would I catch them all?!

Seeing how distraught I was, the kids did their best to comfort me, “get over it, Mom! They’re friggin’ fish!”

Still, I haven’t been practicing Witchcraft this long to back down from a challenge! And I certainly wasn’t going to stand by and just allow this to happen! There’s only “nothing” you can do, if you choose to do nothing!”

I ran out into the deluge and screamed on the top of my lungs, “Cut me a fucking break!!!”, which did absolutely nothing.

I ran back into the house and advised my husband that we needed to begin sandbagging the pond with the extra bags of mulch we had bought. He patiently explained that a few bags of mulch were not going to hold back that much water and that I needed to just “calm down”. Oh yeah, like that was really going to happen! I felt ill! And yes, I know they’re only fish…but they’re my fucking fish!!!

Then things got really weird…

I had recently downloaded a Ghost Hunting app on my IPod that comes with an EVP player. An EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) device monitors voice transmissions from the other side. I had been listening to mine just before the flood hit and had forgotten to turn it off.  As I finally began to resign myself to the fact that my backyard was going to end up being the World’s largest Koi pond, I heard my EVP player say the word, “offering” and suddenly, I knew exactly what I needed to do!

I grabbed a bottle of Jamison Whiskey out of the liquor cabinet and ran down the steps to the backyard. The water was about 4 feet deep in most of the yard and had reached the bottom step of our deck, a mere foot or so from the pond. I poured three shots of Jamison into the muddy water.

I ran back in from the pouring rain, completely drenched and passed by my husband while holding a bottle of whiskey. My husband asked, “what the hell are you doing?” Without answering, I ran to the medicine cabinet and grabbed one of the lancets that my father in law had used to test his blood sugar and ran back outside. I’m certain my husband thought that surely I’d gone mad, but if he hasn’t figured that out after 25 years, whose fault is it?

I pierced my finger and watched as three tiny drops of my blood mingled with the rushing murky water.

Then, I held my breath and waited.

We did sustain some significant damage, although have been truly blessed in comparison to what others have lost. The flood waters stopped three inches from the pond and have since receded. The fishies are just fine!

In Darkness, Light!



My fishes are in there!!!!


Carol DeBenedetto said...

what a story so glad it worked out!!!!

Everyone got flooded in our condo (well just about except for us) I
just drew the sign of the pentagram for protection and envisioned it around our condo. We were the only ones that did not have to bail out!!!!

Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood said...

Happy to hear you were ok, Carol! And good job!

I was invoking banishing pentagrams as the water was rising!