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Our 28th year of publishing

Published September 28, 2021

Storm notes: How to sleep, what to do without power

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I was not concerned about Nicholas. It was going to be a wimpy storm, nothing like some of the others with a lot of muscle. This one was going to bring some much-needed rain and then go away.

It was going to be an overnight event. Great. By the time I wake up, it would be all over. I rode out Alicia in 1983, and that was a Category 3 coming right into Freeport. This one won’t even wake me up.

Maybe I’ve just gotten older. Maybe I’m more prone to being woken up by pounding rain, howling wind and things moving around outside that are supposed to remain in one place.

The thunder also may have had something to do with it. I couldn’t go to sleep. I turned the air purifier to a higher setting to try to drown out the outside noise. That helped.

I got on Facebook to divert my attention and started reading some of the comments on the news links. That didn’t help. The comments were more interesting than the stories. I was keeping myself up rather than putting myself to sleep.

I wondered how the squirrels in the tree in the backyard were doing. It had to be a rough night for them. It was probably even a rough night for the tree. I wondered if the old Arizona Ash would survive all those bends one way and then the other way as the eye passed over us and the wind changed direction.

All these things were going through my mind as I tried to sleep through the storm. Finally, I felt sleepy. Then everything turned silent. The night light in the bathroom went out. The refrigerator wasn’t humming. It wasn’t refrigerating, either. I was wide awake again.

This was going to be a long, restless night.

The last time I stayed up babysitting a hurricane in 1983, and it was exciting and adventurous. How things have changed. Now I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up the next morning to everything being back to normal.

But they weren’t - still no power. What now? I couldn’t work because everything I do requires power. I could clean up the debris from that yard, but luckily, there wasn’t all that much. The squirrels showed back up, so they got their daily rations of squirrel food.

I wished they could tell me how they rode out the storm. They had to worry about not being blown away, while I was worried about being able to get some sleep.

The neighborhood cats showed up outside for their breakfast. They live here somewhere, but come around a couple of times a day for dessert. One even sneaked into the house and made itself at home. But there is no more room at the inn, so he or she had to leave.

All day long, I tried to turn on the lights as I went into a room. “Hey, turn on the TV,” I would say jokingly. Or, “Turn on the fan; it’s hot in here.”

The power was not going to come back that night. I turned on the Astros on the radio, but they were losing, so I turned the radio off.

Now what? I found a book about Civil War nurses. I forgot that I had it. I bought it at the Dollar Store. I think it was $1. I go through the book rack there all the time, trying to get bargains, like two for $1. But this one looked interesting enough, so I paid the full dollar.

The second night was not as long as the night before. I was thankful that we didn’t get a lot of damage around the house and that the cats and the squirrels made it. I was also glad that about a year ago I bought a pair of reading glasses from Amazon with an LED light on each side. It makes me look freaky, but it allows me to read at night for hours on a single charge.

As my hand turned the pages, it formed shadows on the wall, so it was time to make shapes and guess what they were. I can only make a rabbit, so that was an easy guess. My hand shadow looked just like a rabbit. The rest of the figures I tried to make were harder to guess. One shape I came up with could have been a turtle or a crumpled up piece of paper. Either would have been a good guess.

I hope everyone made it through this baby hurricane without much damage and only a short power outage. Nicholas wound up landing a decent punch. It convinced me that when it comes to hurricane categories, I stop counting at one. After that, I’m gone.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)