The Storm of 2020

Who said 2020 was going to be easy? After tip-toeing around all the shutdowns and issues from Covid-19, our city was decimated in a terrible storm called a Derecho on August 10. It’s basically an inland hurricane without all the water and flooding. These photos are from my neighborhood:

While over 700 miles of the Midwestern Plains were hit by the storm, Cedar Rapids suffered extensive damage. We lost much of our tree canopy, many people lost their homes, schools were hit hard, and nearly every home and business in the city was damaged in some way. Our family went 13 days without power and 3 weeks without internet.

It took four days just to clear our street so we could drive through:

The Iowa National Guard came in to help with clean-up:

So many people came to help us out. Electric crews and tree services from all over the US came. The crew that restored our power was from Canada! Samaritan’s Purse, Red Cross, Operation BBQ Relief, and so many others helped remove debris, trees, feed people, and tried to get us back up and running. Thank you so much. We are forever grateful.

My kids learned so many life skills this year that I am sure they can now survive a Zombie Apocalypse! They learned how to wait in line for hours for basics like gas, ice and food. They learned how to drive an hour or more away to get to ATMs and grocery stores that had power (and an hour of wi-fi!). Cash was King with so many stores trying to stay open with no power or internet to run their registers and credit card machines. They can now run a chainsaw and fuel a generator safely (and how to secure it with a logging chain so it doesn’t get stolen!). They learned how to work with their neighbors to clear trees and make sure the elderly had food. All the debris in the roads meant our vehicles got flat tires–and they learned how to change them. We were sad when friends’ home burned down from various storm-related issues. And when every high school in our district was too damaged for kids to safely re-enter them, even for hybrid schooling, they learned how to adapt to virtual schools with hotspots and community stations for families to go for internet support.

The restaurant one of my kids used to work at:

The damage here in Cedar Rapids is extensive, and it will take several years for us to recover. We Iowans are resilient; we will come back.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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Ah, summertime. Hot dogs, ice cream, and baseball!  You can get all 3 at Perfect Game Field when you watch the Kernels play!  Cedar Rapids is lucky to have a Class A baseball team in town.  Going to games to see the Kernels play is always a fun time.  The staff is so nice.  Silly games and entertainment keep people engaged between innings.  Many of the weekend games have a fireworks display afterwards.

If you’re not into the traditional hot dog fare, other food choices are grilled burgers, brats, chicken, philly cheesesteaks, and salads.  There is even a Mexican food vendor!

We have been to the Kernels games many times.  We’ve sat just about everywhere.  The Mezzanine Level is great when you have a big party such as a corporate event.  The kids love to sit on the side lawn and run around (that’s right—expend all that energy kiddos!  You’ll sleep better when we get home!).  Recently, I was lucky enough to win suite tickets from my employer ( a sweet deal, no pun intended).  That was quite the experience!  We rode the elevator up to the suites, and ours was right behind home plate.  Great View.  Opposing team hit a grand slam right away and it got everyone quite excited.  When the heat was too much, we could go inside and watch the game from the stools by the window as the TV’s broadcast what was happening.  Only thing missing was the recliner…

The Kernels are affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.  Now, this is a bit tough for me because I am such a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.  However, I love to see the players hone their skills and we get so excited when they move up to the next level.  The players have always been friendly guys.  My kids have been able to go on the field with the players at the beginning of the game and participate in activities with them.  Every summer the Kernels sponsor a reading program and when you finish, you get to meet the players and get their autographs at a special recognition event.  What a positive experience!

 The Kernels play at the Veteran’s Memorial Stadium complex at 950 Rockford Rd SW in Cedar Rapids.