Last week, a downblast consisting of 90mph winds, heavy rain, and hail blew through our small town, leaving some major damage in it’s wake. Our family was extremely lucky to have only experienced some minor property damage and several downed trees in our yard, as others had major damage to their homes and vehicles.
My husband and I had just gotten home from swim lessons and grocery shopping, and put a lasagna in the oven around 7:30pm, when the storm hit. The first thing I saw was our large dog house fly across the back yard right before the hail started pounding our windows and the lights went out. So much for lasagna for dinner…
The entire storm lasted no more than 20 minutes, but we were stunned by the damage it caused. Although it continued raining, we decided to start clearing whatever debris we could before it got to dark. One of our large trees broke and fell into our neighbor’s yard, so we started there. My husband sawed down the large branches, and I hauled them around their fence and to our front yard curb.
At this point in the day, I hadn’t eaten yet. I felt exhausted and “starving“when I had gotten home at 7:30pm, but somehow I’d gotten a surge of energy! As I hauled away large branches, stomping through the mud in my rain boots, I couldn’t help but feel amazed that I could even do this. Two years ago, I would’ve never had the strength or energy to do this type of manual labor…and that’s because I was doing HIIT classes 3-4 times a week.
We finally stopped working around 9:30pm, went inside and ate ham sandwiches and potato chips for dinner. The electricity was still out, so the house was hot and muggy, and our children were miserable and unable to sleep. Fortunately, my husband entertained them while I changed out of my wet muddy clothes. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even bother to take a shower, which is rare, especially after such a long day. But I was too tired to care about being clean, plus I knew we were in for more yard clean-up the next day, so I crashed into my bed and fell into a deep sleep.
The next day, my husband had to go into work to help with the aftermath of the storm, but once he returned home at noon, we would continue working on cutting up downed trees and clearing up brush and debris from our yard. To make matters scarier, the heat index was predicted to be around 110ºF that day, which made me doubt that I would get much work done.
My workplace was closed due to having no power, so one of my coworkers dropped by the house so our kids could play. She graciously brought over some doughnuts and kolaches, which our kids devoured, and I politely declined. Fortunately, she was already aware of my “What IF” lifestyle, so I didn’t have to awkwardly explain my reasoning behind not eating. As she and the kids ate their doughnuts, we gabbed about the crazy storm from the night before, and I sipped my black coffee.
Knowing that I would have an active afternoon, I almost reasoned that I should eat a couple of doughnuts to make sure that I had enough “energy” for the work ahead. Fortunately, I shut myself down before I could finish that thought. At this point in my What IF journey, I knew full well that eating food, especially doughnuts, did not provide me with anymore fuel or energy than my own body could produce on its own. In fact, eating a couple of doughnuts would most likely render me useless for the rest of the afternoon.
When my husband returned from work, it was time to get started. I suited up in my long-sleeved swim shirt, rain boots, sun hat, and TONS of sunscreen. My husband used a chainsaw to cut the large branches, and I dragged them 2 at a time to the front yard curb. We continued to do this for the next 3 hours, taking short breaks to chug bottles of water. I also sprayed myself down several times with the water hose to provide some relief from the 110° degree heat.
As tiresome as this was, I had the strength and stamina to carry out the task, which bewildered me. My husband had been consistently lifting weights and doing cardio at the gym for the last 2 years, so I knew he could handle the intense heat and heavy lifting. But I had not set foot in a gym for the last 18 months. Plus, I’d only eaten a sandwich and chips the day before, so I was sure that I would tire out within an hour.
As I continued to drag large branches across our property, I secretly marveled at the strength I felt in my arms and legs. I felt superhuman with the type of energy that I was exerting. It wasn’t a short burst of energy, like what you get from an energy drink or a snack bar. It was a true, infinite supply energy produced entirely by my own body. That kind of energy feels incredible and quite definitely superhuman!