Almost Perfect Storm

Maine can be a beautiful place. Like many places in New England if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it’ll change. One minute your looking a nothing but blue skies and the next minute you’re hiding and praying for the storm to stop. My experience with Maine is that it seems to be the worst of all regarding weather. The storms hit hard, the wind wipes through you and thunder shakes you to the core.

We have been camping plenty of time when a storm has hit. I actually like the sound of rain hitting the tent, its rather soothing. Add to that thunder, lighting strikes that light up the sky and wind at possibly 60 mph and it’s not the most relaxing thing.

Monday evening the Barometer started to drop and we could hear thunder in the distance. I thought it best to get prepared for bed with the kids, getting them into the tent before the rain started. We would be camping in the yard as usual, and thougth Mad Dog had said we could sleep in the house the first night, I asked “Why?” I mean we set up the tent and like I said before we have camped in the tent in storms before. Lex was visably nervous about the thunder, repeating time and time again “Thunder Scary”. The plan was for Lex, Loki and I to go to bed and Mad Dog and Gabrielle would follow shortly thereafter.

I packed the kids L.L. Bean Sprout packs with their friends, books and blankets. Mad Dog had layed out the sleeping bags after setting up the tent earlier that day. I had two water bottles, one with milk and one with water for them. We had brought along Loki’s Fisher Price Rainforest Music Box to help the both of them fall asleep. Lex was very calm, I think more scared than anything else as we headed to the tent. Loki on the other hand had no fear, I don’t know if this is because of her young age or ultimately because of her little personality. She is sitting with me now while I write this watching Toy Story 2 and eating strawberries by the handful, happy to have some quiet time while Lex and Gabrielle sleep.

We headed out to the tent, Lex gripping my hand as thunder rolled and lighting flashed over the lake, which was very beautiful (at that moment). There was still no rain. Mad Dog helped by carrying Loki out since she had other plans when we got out of the house. In the tent we settled down. Lex got into his sleeping bag with Jimmy and O’Brien under his arm and his “nana” (blanket) covering him. He laid perfectly still on his back his hands over his eyes, O’Brien and Jimmy in the crock of his arms, while the thurder roared. I kept reassuring him everything was okay, I was right here and nothing was going to happen. Loki was all over the place. Laying down on my pillow, running to the other end of the tent to lay on Gabrielle’s sleeping bag, reading books playing with Jesse and drinking milk.

The rain started, the thunder, lighting and wind picked up a bit. I say a bit, because in the beginning it seemed rather calm. Calm enought that Lex in all his stillness actually feel asleep with his little hands over his eyes, hugging his boyz. Loki finally laid down on my pillow and started to settle, but that wasn’t going to happen for long. The wind picked up severally, the rain started coming down in buckets. I was amazed by the sounds and sights. I felt like I was watching a movie, the sound was amazing. The thunder sounded like it was coming form the lake at first and then rolled to the other surround sound speaker to be coming from the higway behind us. I texted Mad Dog on my phone, joking that “Guess we won’t be seeing u 2 soon”. He came back telling me that the lights had flickered.

I could see that the wind was shaking the tent so badly that the rain guard at the other end of the tent was coming off. It was getting worse and worse. The tent was shaking, the thunder was so loud it was shook you as well. I thought at this point I had to get the kids inside, but the problem was I had two kids. Even with Lex asleep I couldn’t leave one to take the other in, I also knew I couldn’t ask Mad Dog to come help me since Gabrielle (no matter how cool she claimed the storm was from in side the cabin) wouldn’t let him leave her behind in the house while he did so. I started packing the two backpacks taking everything that was a requirement. I threw my I-pod and phone in one as well. I put the milk and water in the pouches on the sides, throwing Jesse and Anasi in Loki’s pack with her blanket. She was awake again and moving around the tent. I woke Lex, telling him he needed to help me. He looked around the tent and asked if the thunder stopped just as a loud one hit. I explained calmly that we were going inside and that he needed to be a big boy and help me. I put Jimmy, O’Brien and “nana” in his backpack and then strapped it to his back. The packs have the front harness clip that goes across the chest. I clipped the new waterproof, solar powered lantern (flashlight) to my tank top along with Loki’s binky (which she still {damn it} uses at bedtime). At this point I started to put on my yoga pants, but the storm started to get worse I threw them in Loki’s pack and threw it over my shoulder. I explained to Lex we were a team and I would hold his hand, but he needed to listen to me and stay close. I picked up Loki in my right arm and unzipped the tent leading to the screened in porch.

The porch floor was flooding, the rain coming down harder and hard. I got us on to the porch and let go of Lex’s hand to rezip the tent, to keep the sleeping bags and other gear from getting wet. We walked to the end of the porch and unzipped the porch. I noticed that the smoker lid had blown off and was sitting at the other side of the fire pit. The wind and rain was whipping as I zipped up the tent flap. Lex held out his hand, I grasped it and we started to make our way around to the front of the house. The rain was coming down so hard that water was running down hill to the lake like a flowing river, with water pooling in spots on the stone patio that faced the lake. Lex slipped once on the grass, but I managed to catch him holding tight to his hand. Loki just looked around taking in the storm.

The sky was a strange color, which reminded me of the skies you see before an esclipes. It would light up with each lighting strike. As we came around to the patio I noticed the house was dark, and thought the power was out. I couldn’t see if Mad Dog and Gabrielle were in the porch watching us and the storm. I kept talking to the kids, telling them we were okay and almost there. The lawn funiture was flipped and I saw other things out of place.  At the end of the stone patio I looked to the house next store. These was a small glow in the porch and I thougth they must be looking at me thinking she is crazy. Here I am in my boyshort underware and a tank top with two kids gripping tight (at least one was – Loki really was just along for the stroll in the rain) to her soaking wet in a storm.

At the door I let go of Lex’s hand to open the screen-door and then the front door which was shut. I help Lex up the stairs as Mad Dog came to the door to help. Putting down Loki I wiped the rain streaming down my face. Saying we were soaked was an understatement. Mad Dog and Gabrielle got the kids towels to dry them off. I was going to head back out to get our stuff, when Mad Dog informed me that the storm would be over at 9PM, this information was based off the weather alert he received on his phone. I explained that we had to fix the rain guard on the tent roof, otherwise it wouldn’t matter. Mad Dog offered to go out, but I was already wet. I headed back into the storm.

I made my way around the house again and back to the tent. Grabbing the line for the raingaurd I secured it to the stake and fixed the guard on the top of the tent. I stumbled around to the backside to check if that one was firmly secure. Entering the tent porch I looked into the interior of the tent. Things looked ok, at least I didn’t notice anything on Lex, Loki and my end of the tent. I closed up the tent and headed back in. The cold hit me as I walked around the side of the house to the front door. The rain was cold and the wind sent a chill down my spine. As I opened the screendoor, I could only think this is a storm that happens in King book.
Once inside, I saw that the kids were happily playing with the flashlights and wrapped in towels. The storm was indeed over by 9PM (actually 8:45PM), you wouldn’t have know there was a storm if it weren’t for everything dripping with water and yard furniture tipped over. I gave the kids glow braclets and Mad Dog shut off everything electrical we had had on prior to the storm. The power was still out as a family we made our way back out to the tent for bed.

The tent and our stuff did not go undamaged as I had thought. Gabrielle’s sleeping bag, which laid at the far end of the tent where the raingaurd flapped for most of the storm, until rescured . Mad Dog’s bag was a little wet, but usable. Everyone moved down in the tent. Lex crawled into his bag and fell asleep shortly thereafter. Loki laid down on my pillow, crashing hard and fast. Gabrielle took Mad Dog’s bag, with the plan to hang her bag out in the morning to dry. Mad Dog would double up with Loki and I. We made jokes about the “Perfect Storm” (said a deep throaty voice) and “The Storm of the Century”  Settling down I put on my I-pod listening to Ron McLarty and the characters  of Salem’s Lot come to life. 
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~ by Cute Fan Girl on July 20, 2010.

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