The 1 in 500 years storm

This is the first major storm that I’ve experienced where I’ve had a direct connection to victims that I know personally.  I don’t have the experience to even start to imagine what they’re going through right now on the ground in Texas, Houston especially.  The videos, pictures, first hand accounts and emotional posts to Twitter don’t even come close to conveying what all those people are now having to endure.  People are saying this is a historic storm that has shattered records since we’ve been keeping detailed weather reports, well that’s not quite right.  We’ve had category 4 storms in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico before.  We’ve had devastating damage from winds before too.  What truly makes this storm, as opposed to others, is the sheer volume of water that has fallen in such a short period of time.

Yes, I’m going there.  Climate change.  The Gulf of Mexico is unusually warmer than in previous years.  Is that an anomaly or is it getting warmer and we’re on the start of the trend upwards?  The weather pattern that is holding what’s left of Harvey, currently a Tropical Storm, is odd for this time of year.  Is that an anomaly or are weather patterns now starting to slowly change because of increased temperatures and moisture in the air?  This country is on a dangerously slippery slope with our withdraw from the Paris Accord, a climate change denier is now heading the EPA and has already started rolling back regulations.  Fossil fuel companies are getting more subsidies than ever before and have been making record profits despite a glut in crude oil prices.

I don’t think this will be the last storm that will redefine the record books and in fact, I think it is the first of many that will increasingly demonstrate that we’ve been complete idiots in this country for ever believing any of the crap that climate deniers have been shoveling for years.  We’ll get our chance to make a difference soon enough.  Gasoline prices in the United States are going to spike significantly in the aftermath of Harvey.  40% of crude oil refining is based along the Texas coast and those refineries are months away from full capacity.  Oil platforms in the Gulf are largely undamaged, but they have nowhere to send the oil even if they did start extracting again as they’re fitted for pumping crude to shore via pipelines.

Be a human being, do whatever you can to help the victims of Harvey.  My company has pledged to match any donations up to $1,000 and I’m going to scrape together exactly that amount.  My company has an office, or did, in Houston that is now damaged beyond repair.  My co-workers house is gone, he was south of Houston.  Another friends house is sitting in 7 feet of water.  With an unprecedented storm comes unprecedented support in all forms from first responders to aid workers.  Do what you can to help.

Nothing stays the same

I want to start off by apologizing to all that follow me for my lack of activity the last few months.  Life has been rather hectic this summer so far and there isn’t any reprieve for me in the near future based on what I know is coming.  Sticking to a writing schedule has been difficult when there isn’t much time so spare.  The little downtime I manage to scrape together has been dedicated to real life things that have been pushed off due to unplanned events and not staying up to date on family event scheduling.  There is so much in the summer that needs to be done that doesn’t need to be done any other time of the year.  Making sure the lawn is mowed, yard work, making sure someone is watching my daughter (the wife is now working), parties and of course impromptu weekend get-togethers planned on a whim.

The wife is working now after getting a call from a mutual friend from the firehouse where she volunteers and is now the Treasurer.  Her friend runs their own business and after their book-keeper gave notice, they called my wife and offered her the job.  She accepted and it’s been an exercise in futility trying to work out camp, places for the daughter to go afterwards and changing work-from-home days on fly week to week.  I’m home today for instance, but my normal remote work days are Tuesday/Thursday.  For someone that relies on a weekly routine, it’s been stressful keeping up week to week with the ever changing responsibilities.  The extra money is definitely helping, a lot, but it’s slowly eroding my ability to stay somewhat normal and calm.  I’m finding that driving has started becoming a string of curses at other drivers for doing stupid things, which is how it started last time when I lost my crap across the board a few years ago.  It’s worrisome.

I’ve never liked the summer months.  It’s hot, humid and I’m generally not a happy camper unless I’m inside with ample air-conditioning cooling everything down, including me.  There are actually quite a few things that I don’t really like throughout the year, but tolerate for various reasons.  As long as I can get the downtime I need to tolerate the world, it’s all good.  What isn’t good is how I’m feeling now and not seeing a way back until school starts again for my daughter.  That leaves me with just over three weeks before a semi-normal routine returns to the household and, naturally, to me.

This coming weekend is, at this point, open with nothing planned until Sunday afternoon.  I’m hoping it stays that way.

#downtime, #responsibility, #stress, #summer