Sunday I returned home for a few hours. I was fortunate enough to catch a stand-by direct flight to Houston, and, to make it an even better, I had driven myself to the airport Thursday, so my husband’s car was there waiting for me. Cha-ching!
I was so glad to be getting closer to my family and also finally seeing for myself what Ike did to our neighborhood.
En route to our house, I saw broken tree branches all over the place and even a power thingy leaning over into the road with cones beneath it. (Don’t you love my terminology?)
Almost all the traffic signals were out, which caused me to have to really concentrate on my driving: I almost ran through 2 lights without stopping because I didn’t see a red light.
On the radio I listened to the mayor asking Houstonians to share whatever supplies they may have with their neighbors. It wasn’t a desperate plea, but a reminder to be nice. It sounded as though the major problems were ice and electricity. As of Sunday, Houston water was determined to be safe, so no worries there. But there are certainly lots of people with lots of needs in the area.
When I arrived home I was thankful to see minimal damage to our house, yet I was greeted by a rotten smell in our garage where the trash had been collected. I opened the door to the house, and the smell wasn’t much better. I noticed gunk pooling under the refrigerator.
My plan was to unpack from Vegas and repack for Dallas, then hop back in the car and go to my family. But that refrigerator beckoned.
I opened the freezer and found all sorts of things oozing to the bottom. Popsicles, blood from meat, juices from frozen fruit concoctions, melted ice and whatever else dripped down onto the floor as the door hung open. Yuuuuuuck. I couldn’t just leave it… it would only get worse. And smell worse.
So I decided to make it work for me.
I got out a bunch of lawn trashbags and began filling them with rotten food: Ice cream, frozen meat, frozen meals I had prepared, soup, frozen fruit, smoothie popsicles, frozen veggies… it all went in the bags.
Then I opened the refrigerator and began the process there.
Here’s a shot not too long after I began clearing it out:
While I was tossing so many things, I began to think positively: I got to trash all those condiments that had been sitting there for eons waiting to be used. You know, all those marinades that you don’t quite finish but you don’t want to toss because you might need that last drop for something fantastic one day. Or maybe your husband thinks he is going to use it one day. And so it sits there… forever.
Well, all you need is a massive hurricane and you have permission MUST toss it all out. Everything must go.
(Those are my many, many trash bags on the floor, by the way. I filled an entire outdoor trashcan with our rotten food.)
And since the family was in Dallas, I got to trash it all in peace. (I’m trying to look at the bright side, remember?)
Of course I made the rookie hurricane victim mistake of deciding to use my garbage disposal. I opened a container of taco soup, dumped it in the sink, turned on the water and switched on the garbage disposal. Except (duh) it didn’t come on. So the water backed up in the sink and I scooped out all that icky food. And I’m not sure whether I left the switch off or on because I don’t know which direction is which. Lovely.
But I cleaned it all out (except for a few drinks) and here’s how I’m going to make Hurricane Ike work for me: I am going to try my best to look at this situation as a fresh start. And I’m going to be oh-so-thankful that I still have my refrigerator to put new items in. The power will come back on someday. (They say it could be 2 weeks.) And all I will have to do is deodorize and re-stock. And I can do that pretty easily.
So I’m going to be very intentional about what I buy to put in there. I’m not just going to shop for replacements. I’m going to take a good hard look at what I’m putting in my body and make an effort to start over with fresh ingredients with very few preservatives. I’m going to use some of this evacuee down-time to educate myself so I can make wiser choices. (I grabbed a few books I had been intending to read before I left.)
Sure, as I was dumping organic milk and cheeses and expired meats and bottles upon bottles of salad dressings, not to mention the eggs, decayed vegetables, and other assorted items, it was hard to not think of the price tag. But what can I do about it? Just vow to use this opportunity as a fresh start. A reason to be even more intentional. And maybe a lesson to not stock up so much.
So, there you have it. I’m making Hurricane Ike work for me. What else am I gonna do?
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