11 Silver Linings From the Iowa Derecho

It’s been a week. What a week. The derecho hit us hard here in Cedar Rapids, and if your week was anything like mine, you’re exhausted, smelly, desperately waiting for power to come on, and yet oddly grateful it wasn’t worse.

11 Silver Linings From the Iowa DerechoStill, we are Iowans, and Iowans can find the good in just about anything.

So here are eleven silver linings from this crazy Iowa derecho:

1. If you didn’t know your neighbors, you do now.

Whether you were hauling their trampoline back to them from your clothesline or standing outside together assessing the damage to your roof and siding, you probably know your neighbors on a deeper level now than you did a week ago.

2. Fewer leaves to rake in the fall.

Remind yourself of this every single time you bend over and pick up yet another branch and as you power wash shredded leaves off your siding. The load will be a little lighter this fall. Your October self will thank you!

3. Your energy bill will be a lot lower this month!

Okay, so maybe this savings was offset by the cost of the food that went bad in your refrigerator…. or by the generator you stood in line for four hours for at the department store…. or by the gas your car used idling in your driveway all night while you charged your phone and soaked in the air conditioning. But this is a post about silver linings so we aren’t talking about that stuff right now!

4. Christmas shopping will be much easier this year.

Perhaps you were already set on Christmas gift ideas this year as you planned to shower your loved ones with toilet paper and disinfectant wipes. But in case you still haven’t been able to get ahold of those valuables, it’s a safe bet that patio furniture, a new grill, a generator, and a chainsaw will be on every Iowan’s Christmas list this year.

5. Cleaning your windows.

If you’ve been lacking the motivation to wipe those windows down and clean the bird poop off your siding that’s been there for a few months now…. Derecho 2020 just called your bluff. Since your windows are now littered with leaves that appear to have gone through an industrial wood chipper, you really don’t have a choice anymore! Happy cleaning!

6. Less screen time.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but “more outdoor time and less screen time” was on my 2020 resolution list. Eight months in and the resolution list now just includes “get out of 2020 in one piece”. BUT – without internet and power, it’s safe to say most of us were forced to save that sweet, sweet battery life this week. The kids can’t get mad that you won’t let them watch TV when the TV doesn’t even turn on! It’s the little things, right?

7. This is the least you’ve thought about COVID and politics in months.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t be thinking about these issues, just that we seem to be BOMBARDED by these topics on a daily basis. When Ms. Derecho knocked on our door earlier this week, it became clear that the arguing and debating was going to have to take a backseat for the time being. That didn’t stop a few people from debating online about how much people should sell generators for on Swap Sites, but I DIGRESS.

8. Survival skills.

The next time you’re watching Survivor or another survival reality show, you’ll be chiming in all over the place. “Don’t put the generator so close to the tent!” “Eat the refrigerated food FIRST!” “Those storm clouds look a little on the derecho order. Let’s stay away from those big trees.” We’re experts now, Iowans. If you found yourself oddly enjoying the last week, you may have a future in reality television!

9. A renewed appreciation for those in the trades.

No matter how technology progresses, we can be sure of one thing. We will always need electricians, plumbers, roofers, linemen, and the like. These professions don’t always get the credit they deserve for being invaluable to our community. I’m proud of my Political Science degree, but it’s safe to say no one is calling me after a derecho for my expertise! Let’s hear it for those in the trades, who keep things running when the you-know-what hits the fan! (Leaves, I’m talking about shredded leaves again.)

10. More watching stars, less watching the news.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Watching current events unfold in real time all over the world can be really depressing. Being able to see the stars clearly is a much more peaceful proposition.

11. A reminder of why we live in Iowa.

If this seems counterintuitive and your first thought is, “Listen, Lady. I live in Iowa because we DON’T have hurricanes here”, hear me out! Every year in the middle of winter, when the wind chills reach double-digit negative degrees, we all say, “Remind me why I live in Iowa again!” When disaster strikes, we’re reminded. The most “Iowa nice” thing I can think of is witnessing people who have ENTIRE TREES on top of their house volunteering to help others on Day One. Hearing about a couple who drove around giving out free gas to those who needed it. Seeing restaurant owners giving out free food and ice despite having lost so much themselves the past few months. Focusing on the silver linings instead of everything that went wrong.

We are #IowaStrong and although we prefer a derecho-free existence, we will always work together to pick up the pieces when the unthinkable happens. So fire up your chainsaws and let’s get to work!


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Alicia is a stay-at-home mom to Claire (5), Drake (4), and Kate (1). After growing up in western Iowa, Alicia ventured east to attend the University of Iowa and graduated in 2014 with a Political Science degree, and a minor in English. When she isn’t chasing kids, she loves finding time for scrapbooking, going on walks around the neighborhood, and watching any and every home renovation show! Alicia loves staying involved in her community, mainly through spending time in her church and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. With three kids under five, her advice to moms with young kids is: “prayer, coffee, and then a little more of each!”