We made out ok.
September is famous for hurricanes in Nova Scotia. Blowing in the winds of change, the wild winds of worry as trees fall over power lines, basements flooded, and havoc is wreaked.
On the eve of hurricane Fiona I ordered supper from my friend Donna who has Portlander Jamaican restaurant and opened a bottle of special red wine I had been savouring. We had fish cakes, chickpea curry, salad, and fish and chips. We sat and watched the weather news and talked hopefully about how the storm might miss us here in Northern Nova Scotia like it often does. We had so much hope.
After supper I baked date squares and peanut butter squares and called my friend Kenny’s wife to say that I would bring some over when the weather settled. He often drove my daughter and I to hockey years ago especially if the roads were bad or we were doing a long trip. This year we went to his daughters wedding reception. Time passes but he still talks about my date squares, and I still appreciate all those winter days.
I went to bed early, probably by ten o’clock. My good man always stays up late and watches sports. The wind was picking up and we both agreed that we were gonna get a good taste of the wind tonight for sure. We could see the uptake in the trees that were swaying and shaking.
And the rain. It was raining. Not hard because the drops were being blown about and sent every which way. You could not hear the pounding but it was wet. The adventure was just beginning.
At about two thirty I woke. There were sounds that I had never heard before in the house. It felt like the clapboard was lifting in the wind. It would lift and pound back down. When I looked outside the night was black. There was no power. We were awake. It was middle of the night. The middle of a hurricane or a tropical storm?
Suddenly there was another lift, then a bang, and a scrape across the roof. We thought perhaps it was a bunch of shingles.
Well, it could all wait til morning and we drifted back to sleep only to wake an hour later.
There was a soft little repetitive noise. Such a gentle little intermittent sound. Drip. Drip. Drip. Funny how something so gentle can both drive you mad and be such a home wrecker.
Water was leaking into the hall. Through the ceiling in three places. Were a few shingles really that important I thought? Apparently so.
We got up and put towels down. They got wet quick. I got buckets, and put a face cloth in them so the drip would be not so annoying.
We got back in bed. We laid there listening to the drip.
I said “Should we put buckets in the attic?”
He said, “I think so. Where is the ladder?”
“In the barn.”
So there it was . He was going out in the hurricane, because by this time we were done with the tropical storm idea. This was a full out hurricane. Fiona was here.
And that hope we had over supper. Well that felt like a fool’s prayer. Though I think a fool's prayer are as good as any really.
We were here in the middle of the night and if we did not deal with it, well, the plaster ceiling would be soggy toast.
So off he went to face the wind and brought in the ladder. I rounded up some more pans and buckets and we took our book lights, oh yes all this was happening the dark dark night without any power.
We opened the attic.
He crawled through the loose insulation and found the leaks and placed the tubs as best he could. I stood on the ladder and held a light for him. Sometimes I shown it on the beams to see the one inch pegs that hold the house together and have for 180 years. That was comforting to think about. After a half hour he came down covered in dirt and insulation. He got cleaned up. I swept the floor.
And the water still dripped for a while until I put in my ear plugs and we went to sleep while Fiona whistled her way around the house. And we rested.
And we did not know it then but we were the lucky ones. We had a leak and a tree down and lost power for five days. Others lost so much more in the hurricane,
When we woke the dripping had stopped and we called the roofer and we felt lucky. Everything was okay. A tree was down in the yard but the basement was dry. The roof could be fixed but really, we need a new one.
I lit a fire in the wood stove. It took one hour to boil the kettle on it. I had a hot coffee. My neighbours had power if we needed charging, and the hurricane has turned into a storm. But on that night the winds did blow and we had an adventure here in this 180 year old house.
Just another story in another life that this place holds.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick