- Storm Sandy
Day 1 NaBloPoMo
The lights went out, there was no electricity, there was only a deep chill in the air that piles of blankets couldn’t help. Storm Sandy was visiting New York and I felt lonely and confused and in shock at what was happening. How could this happen here? I felt disappointed in a way that New York could let me down like this, I felt cheated. I couldn’t call anyone or take a walk, I looked out the window clutching my flashlight and there was nothing to see. Just darkness, lonely, cold darkness everywhere I could see. I thought I heard mumbling outside but I was too frightened to venture out and I wasn’t sure if it was real or my imagination. The wind was howling and reaching for the darkened windows with passion like two young lovers.
It was right after dinner when the lights went from on to off, no flickering as a warning, and I hate surprises of any kind. So, when I stood with two sharp knives near the dishwasher in the total darkness, I screamed as if I had been stabbed. My husband was also in the kitchen and he too, screamed, startled by the quick switch from light to dark. We were alone, together, in the sudden darkness of our neighborhood that I used to describe as “cozy.” Nothing felt cozy tonight.
Disbelief described our feelings as well. How could this happen, here? Nothing made sense, we were trying to make sense out of something that seemed impossible until now. Everything I knew before was gone;I felt sorry for the children who, once again, could not Trick or Treat. This was the new normal and it was sad.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock. Welcome to another edition of 9 and a half minutes. A place where I mention the things that annoy me. First up: SPAM. If you are going to send out this trash can’t you make the effort to spell “dear” CORRECTLY? It’s always misspelled and it’s in all lower case letters :”hello deaer.” This bugs me. Not to mention that I get hundreds of junk mail every day and yes, I do, have a SPAM filter. I am OCD about the amount the junk mail that I get so I need to check it and delete it frequently. It’s supposed to automatically delete in one month but that never happens. Every day I get the following suggestions: “buy drugs, enlargge your penis, veagra for womens, congradulations deaer, autimatic lottery winner”….just stop sending us this junk. Here’s my suggestion: ” go away, get losted, please, hun.”
Another thing that’s irritating is the call you get on a Sunday night from your favorite hairdresser, the one you found after years and years of searching. The one you trust implicitly. You finally find her and sure enough, one day you get “the call.” You know what it’s about, the minute you get the message “It’s Linda, from Tresses” on the phone. Deep in our hearts, women everywhere know that the only reason your hairdresser is calling you at home at night is because she has fled her old job, stolen your chart and is working somewhere else. My dilemna: I love the way she does my hair but she has joined a salon that I fervently despise. It’s not the end of the world and yes, a mere annoyance but these things add up.
It has been a horrific couple of years and many of us are suffering the consequences of a bad economy. The idea of a vacation used to give me something to dream about, to look forward to. Key word: USED TO, past tense. Even though it may not be financially feasible, it was something to dream and fantasize about. Thinking about flying someplace warm in the middle of winter or early spring used to make me so happy, an inside secret I tucked away in my heart. Now? Thinking about flying makes me anxious, another mood elevator crashes to the ground (no pun intended.) With the media screaming about terror alerts and bomb threats, who wants to fly now? Flying used to be fun, an exciting adventure. Now, you wait in very long lines, several times over, experience huge delays, body checks, shoe checks and most importantly, basic primal fear, anxiety and paranoia. I’d have to think it over for a long time before I would fly again and then, I would literally have to be sedated. Where’s the joy in that?
What is there to look forward to now? The economy stinks, the unemployment rate is ridiculously high and everyone seems to have less money or no money at all (with the exception of perhaps the super-rich which is even more annoying.) The world, as we know it now, is a scary place. I know things take time but even I am losing patience. The country needs some good news, some great news. We need something, anything to feel good about our lives; I don’t care what it is. Give us a glimmer of hope, a tidbit, a really solid fantasy.
It’s the first week in November and we had sleet, snow and a power outage for six hours the other day. At this point, I’d even welcome some global warming: as in the warming up the country variety. If you hadn’t guessed it before the other thing I despise with a passion is winter. I would love to sleep straight through to spring. It’s cold and dark, scary and we all get sick; especially for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain. I know life is not perfect, believe me, I know. I also know you’re not supposed to “sweat the small stuff.” But, when the BIG stuff is all bad, the little stuff just adds an additional amount of worry and annoyance; it makes us cranky. Very cranky. I’m not Andy Rooney, I’m just little ol’ me but I’m seriously pissed off. Join me next week for another edition.
“The Waltons” television show was a show during the seventies that I watched religiously. I loved the interaction of three generations living in the same house in the old days, eating meals together, without heat, without electricity, without modern day appliances and without complaint. Not so for my family. Two weeks ago, the county that I live in came head to head with a blizzard whose strength was overwhelming. Nobody thought it would be that bad…little did we know. We got about 21 inches of snow, heavy, wet snow and it snowed for days. Sometime during that first evening our lights started to flicker. Uh oh. They flickered again. This time we were feeling uneasy and doubtful. Sure enough, two minutes later, the lights dimmed, the electricity halted, the tv turned itself off and we were in our little house, feeling the heat escape rapidly, minute by minute.
I must say we were all calm. We had put our flashlights and candles together at the first flicker, thinking that we probably wouldn’t need them. The snow kept coming and the trees were getting very heavy with new wet snow. Some heavy branches were already kneeling down in the snow from weight. When we started to hear trees and branches breaking and hitting the window, we were justifiably scared. It sounded like something you could only imagine in the movies; but it was very real and terrifying. Whip, Crash, Shudder, the branches sounded like breaking glass as they threw themselves at our house.
We managed to get through the four (really long) days and nights with firewood, food and an afternoon with my mom. My daughter had a sleep-over for one night, which she practically had to beg for, and my son and husband who volunteer for the ambulance corp, were able to spend time in their quarters too. Even family members of the ambulance corp were invited. Luckily we had cell phones that were able to be re-charged. Interestingly, the absence of noise, brightness, computer screens, X-box was almost fun. Almost. I did miss listening to music but I read by the fire in the daytime and at night we huddled under our covers, blankets, sleeping bags, down jackets and pajamas. When it was just my dog and I home one afternoon, we lay against each other on the light green, navy, red squares of the carpet in front of the fire and cuddled; a sweet memory I am not apt to forget.
Our neighbors moved into their sister’s house, five minutes away in another town. All 4 grabbed their sleeping bags and left for the entire 4 days. I envied them at first, immensely. There was no question of where they would go, it was a given. In the beginning we were annoyed that no-one had invited US into their homes for the night, not to mention the duration of the storm. When I complained to my sister and mother we heard things like “well you should know you are welcome” and that angered us more. I was brought up NOT to ask but to wait for an invitation, especially knowing my mother and sister’s love (NOT) of overnight guests.
Our family stayed together, we froze together, talked together. Not a lot of that happens when school is in session and when everyone is so busy. There was no X Box, no computers, no music, no television. We sat, in front of the fire and talked, hearing the twigs crackle, the orange flames enveloping the logs, the night silent and still with utter darkness. The only light we had was the brilliance of the full moon in the sky that shined on us late at night.
When we awoke we saw that a large tree had crashed down through our fence and it lay suspiciously close to where my daughter’s room was. Two other trees were down and hundreds upon hundreds of branches. We were lucky, noone got hurt. We may have been cold, and cranky, we complained about the cold constantly and couldn’t wait for the electricity to come back up. When it did, 4 days later we were ecstatic. The heat turned on, the refrigerator buzzed, random lights went on, the music from radios blared and the silence ended. Even though we were freezing cold and we had no options, I think we won, staying here together. My children may yell and beg to differ but for me but I have to say, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Good night, John Boy.