Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mambocat is swamped today. Her dear friend Lisa Louie is guest blogging.

Let There Be Light


My name is Lisa Louie, and this installment of Dez's blog is being brought to you from beautiful downtown Kahului, Maui, Hawaii. I am guest blogging, as Dez is currently being driven and inspired by a force to create a knitted work of art from the remains of Hurricane Katrina. More on that later, as I'll leave that for Dez to discuss as it is both her blog and her creation.

Dez called me the other day with awesome news: she had in her hand the permit which would allow the power at her mother's house to be restored. While the house still needs repairs (the kitchen sustained damage from a tree that fell on the house during the storm) the roof and electrical system have been fixed to allow the power company to restore her service.

Woo Hoo!!

Now, fortunately Dez's mom has been safe and secure with family, but her house has been sitting, sans electricity, for eight months. Obviously, the first problem after a house loses power is the food starts to spoil. You may have already read Dez's descriptions of what happens to food and refrigerators after such a major storm: they get hauled out the house, duct taped shut, and hopefully picked up by a sanitation crew in less than an eon.

At this point, eight months and counting, the immediate issue of the fridge has been dealt with, but there are other considerations. Like: did you ever try and clean up a house without electricity? Aside from the no vacuum, no washing machine, no dishwasher, no appliance requiring electricity issue, there is another substantial problem: no hot water. Trying to clean up mold and mildew and do dishes and deal with any kind of mess without hot water is virtually impossible. Even cleaning a bathroom without hot water is challenging. So: here comes the power, and with a little sweat and love, out goes the dust, the dirt, the mildew, the crud.

While I wasn't directly involved in this hurricane, I was directly involved in another, which was almost as powerful and devastating, but over a much smaller area. On September 11, (yup, that date is right) 1992, a massive storm named Hurricane Iniki struck the island of Kauai, where I then lived. The island was severely, severely, severely affected. While our own house was relatively unscathed, we had no power for 15 days. It probably took me 14 before I quit walking into a room and reflexively reaching for the light switch, which, of course, didn't work. I still remember the screams of joy of the women next door as the Kauai Electric Company employee flipped the master electrical switch on and their power came back. I remember my own wonder and joy, when finally, I could walk into a room and reach for the light switch and not be disappointed, because the light actually came on. Hot water, the vacuum cleaner, electric can opener, stove, all worked again. The minor, yet really major, miracles of modern life.

I am thrilled for Dez and her mom, and hope they experience the same joy and awe of the simple thrill of electricity at their house.

As for knitting, I'll cover that later if possible. Yup, I do that too. A lot of that. And knitting is what I'm going to go do next. Once I take a moment to marvel at the fact that the dishwasher and the washing machine are running, and my water is hot.

A hui ho, (til we meet again)



At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Susan said...

Aloha, Lisa. Thanks for the guest post and understanding words. I just wanted to tell you that on my bedroom wall is a picture I took on Kauai 5 years after Iniki. It shows dead trees surrounded by new growth. I've looked at it often in the past months, when I needed reassurance that things do recover. Just as I keep checking Dez's blog, looking for signs of knitting in the city.


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