So, we've been a little distant lately. There was a reason. A big one: Flo. A direct hit from hurricane Florence here in Eastern North Carolina. Luckily, we (along with our family) are safe. Here's how it went down for us.
I've been working part-time at a local marina in a nearby town of New Bern, NC. The salty sailor liveaboards had their ear to the ground (ear to the sea?) long before anyone. They knew the storm was coming. I had spent the summer prepping the marina for hurricane season - and here it was. I finished up some work and headed home to prep my place.
We were going to stay, then we decided to evacuate, then reconsidered...in the end we decided to pack up the house and evacuate inland to Raleigh. We took the most important stuff, and battened down the hatches before we left - putting lots of stuff in plastic tubs and getting things off the ground level in preparation for flooding in our town. It was a little tricky because putting things upstairs risked putting them in harm's way if the roof blew off. Yikes.
Things we did right. We stocked up on gas, water, and food. These are the things that run out quick. We always have a hurricane stash of food and bottled water, we just added to it a bit when we knew the storm was 100% coming. Plastic tubs (for storage) & camping stoves/fuel are the next to sell out - we had those too - phew. I have two rain barrels in my backyard - I opened them up before we left to collect rainwater from the deluge of 20-30+ inches that were coming. We could use this water to flush the toilets after the storm.
Our time in Raleigh was boring, but it was nice to sit out the storm with power, restaurants, and water. The storm hit the hardest on Thursday, and we returned home Monday. We had to navigate several closed highways and interstates to get back - I was constantly checking DOT and Facebook groups to chart a safe and successful way home. We made it. Gas was scarce along the way. Nowhere had power.
Once home, we started moving tree branches and debris from our yard and helping neighbors. Luckily, our house sustained no damage from the storm. It took the whole week to restore power - so it was camping at home. Town water ended up on a boil order for another whole week.
Our town sustained lots of wind damage but luckily, no flooding.
Some of the Worst
After the rivers blocking my way receded and camping life at home ended, I ventured into nearby New Bern, NC. The marina I work at had some issues (above) but actually fared much better than others around town. I helped demo a townhome in the town of Riverbend (video below), they got hit hard. The recovery continues. It's going to be a long road for many.
Later in the week I was asked to look at a grand piano that had been damaged in the storm. I wrote a little piece about it - my final thought about the hurricane and it's effects. We were lucky and thankful and are excited to get back to normal around here. We'll be back to posting regularly on Sundays!!! ~Paul EVERYONESTRAVELCLUB.COM
"Today I learned I could never be a doctor. I was asked by a friend to take a look at a hurricane Florence piano, to see if it could be salvaged. In college I worked a few summers with a piano tuner and rebuilder. We rebuilt a few pianos from what seemed like complete ruin. I learned a lot.
This piano is a beautiful 6 ft-ish Baldwin. It is owned by a woman in her 80s. She remembers playing this piano as a little girl, with her mother.
As Florence hit New Bern, the windows in this room blew out and (as you can see in the torn wallpaper) flood waters rose and swept into the house. They eventually drowned a lot of the piano - first the pedals, the key-bed. The water maybe even reached the action, pin-block, the soundboard, and the strings.
Today the piano stood proud though, even as it somehow straddled giant holes and missing planks in the floor. I stayed to the remaining floor joists as I inspected her, imagining my added weight causing us to fall through the floor - imagine the piano sound that would make! What a finale! I almost wished she would have gone out like that. As you might guess, my final prognosis was grim.
I’d already been thinking a lot about how precious time is. It’s not that physical stuff really matters that much, it’s more a reminder to do the best you can with what time you have. One week you’re playing Debussy on your mom’s piano, gazing out your front windows at the water. And just like that, it’s all washed away."
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