Think it can’t happen to you? Ha! I live in Ohio and on Sunday, September 14 at about 1 p.m. an ill wind started to blow in from the southwest. I was pulling weeds in my garden when the angry, dark and low-lying ominous clouds began to pass quickly overhead. Straightening, I watched as the 100-plus year old maple trees in my front yard began to sway crazily, dropping debris from their branches that began to blow mightily back into the nooks and crannies I had just cleaned out. I turned my attention to battening down the patio furniture, not that my feeble efforts turned out to do much good in the face of Mother Nature.
Within an hour the wind gusts were approaching 75 miles per hour – 75 miles per hour! Never in the history of the area’s weather keeping have we had winds like that! I have certainly never seen weather like that – dark, fast moving clouds with no rain. It became no longer possible to stand outside without being hit by sharp-pointed flying debris that stung on contact and hit your eyes indiscriminately. Going inside, I said to Bob (my husband) that it looked like this was going to go on for awhile, remembering the weather report I had read the day before that said we’d have “wind” from 2 or so in the afternoon ‘til 8 p.m. “Let’s go to Costco,” I said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to do much else outside today…” “NOW you want to go, in the middle of a hurricane,” Bob admonished. “I wanted to go to Costco YESTERDAY but you were too busy on the Internet…” the familiar lament started. I tuned it out. “You want to go or not?” I asked pointedly, ignoring the hurricane comment, thinking he was kidding.
“Get your purse, I’ll put the baby in the car and meet you out front – be sure you lock the door behind you and bring the diaper bag – you might want to make a fresh bottle,” he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into the other room. I quickly grabbed what I believed to be supplies for a quick jaunt down the road and bundled myself and the paraphernalia into the front seat and called, “Ready!” out to Bob as he fiddled with the CD disc. “Hold your horses,” he replied, shaking his head. “Always in a hurry…” I heard him mutter before I tuned that out also, turning my attention to the coupon book he handed me and what I wanted to do when I got home.
Turning onto the federal highway that we live on I noticed the traffic seemed light for a Sunday. About two miles down the road I looked up when I heard Bob exclaim “Whoa,” as he slowed and swerved to avoid a ten foot tree branch that came skidding out onto the pavement before us. “This is nuts,” I said. “Think we should go home and go down there tomorrow?” I offered. “Nah, we’re out,’ he answered and I knew what he meant. Just getting “out” these days with a one-year old in tow is enough of a job to keep us “out” once we’re there. I smiled.
“Okay, but be careful,” I warned. “Like I don’t know to be careful,” he shot wearily back as a wall of leaves scuttled up before us from the side of the road just as we were stopped at a stoplight. Watching the maniacal dance of the leaves I decided it would probably be best if I just kept my mouth shut and let him drive in peace. We made it to our destination a few minutes later, pulling into the Costco parking lot and bee-lining for a parking place right by the door. As I opened the door the wind caught hold of it and jerked it out of my hand. “Hold the door for me while I get the baby and grab that cart,” he motioned at a cart just as the wind turned it and it started to careen towards the side panel of our truck. “Let me push,” he ordered as we continued the trek into what had become a wind tunnel outside the wide entrance door in the gale force winds. Boxes, litter and advertising leaflets were blowing everywhere around us.
“You made it,” the greeter called out as Bob thumbed through his wallet for the membership card. "She’s with me,” Bob nodded as if the familiar gatekeeper didn’t know the two of us by name. “So’s the baby, “I called out, laughing. “Don’t forget the baby!” Just then she screeched with the excitement of all that was going on around her.
About halfway through our shopping expedition up and down the long aisles, somewhere back by the freezer section, everything ground to a halt. You could palpably feel the energy leave the building as the lights went out and the newly recognizable background droning fell silent. You could hear the refrigerators shut off in one fell swoop as everyone halted in their progresses and looked around. The only light in the large warehouse was coming from skylights in the ceilings and it afforded enough light for all the shoppers to finish their shopping and leave the building. I felt guilty as I scanned the freezers for needed items and once spotting them, opening and closing the doors quickly to retrieve what I wanted. Occasionally we could hear what sounded like booms above us. I’m sure not sure what they were – either tress falling in the distance or the wind having its way. Heading towards the front I wondered aloud if the registers would be working.
“They’ll have those on generators,” Bob assured. “They want to move people out of here quickly.” Sure enough, when we reached the registers there was no one online and quickly we filed through the check-out process with the automated registers scanning and recording our purchases. Heading towards the front door I could feel the place emptying. “We’re closed ‘til we get power again,” the front door sentries called out to the new arrivals approaching from the parking lot. Disappointed, I could see them turning away, heading back to their cars.
“This’ll be fun,” Bob predicted as we packed up our things and headed out of the lot. “Look, the lights aren’t working.” A long line of traffic snaked from the main road back onto the feeder road where our Costco is located. Taking our place in line, Bob looked at me and asked if I thought the expressway would be faster. “Try the expressway – the line is shorter,” I advised. As we turned into the curve on the road I groaned. “Look at that,” I moaned. “This’ll take hours!” “No it won’t – watch this,” Bob taunted as he wheeled the truck out of the line and into the middle lane where few cars were queuing. The maneuver moved us past the turning point and on to the main road that went to the expressway faster than it would have if we had remained in the turning lane but very soon our progress ground to a halt. Three traffic lights in view in the half mile before us all were dark. Traffic was backed up and moving in a confused, hesitant manner. “Come on you Ohio drivers!” Bob yelled. “I have never in my life seen worse drivers than what you have here in Ohio!” he started in.
“Knock it off Bob. Light a candle and quit cursing the darkness,” I haughtily advised, as I so often have done before. I had no idea that very soon I would eat my own words.
A half hour later we pulled onto the entrance ramp of I-71 heading north, a progress that should have taken about a minute. Pulling onto the expressway it looked as if a bomb had gone off. Strewn across all the lanes were debris of all kinds – broken signs, tree limbs, leaves of every shape and color. Signs whipped madly back and forth as if they would come out of their ground moorings. Some had and were lying about as well. Slowly we traveled the twelve miles or so home. Carefully we picked our way, turning into our long driveway only to survey what looked like another bomb explosion. Whole branches lay across the driveway, roof tiles were in the yard and just over the side ridge a seventy-five foot pine tree had fallen, snapping off about fifteen feet from the base. “I was wondering how I was going to get that tree down,” Bob said, half to himself, shocked as I was by the carnage. “It was half dead,” he continued, seemingly trying to console himself.
“I’ll pull the car up to the front – unlock the door and then come get the baby,” he ordered. “Get her inside and in her walker and then come help me unload this stuff.” Again, the wind grabbed the truck’s door as I opened it and it strained on its hinges. Bundling myself into the wind I did as instructed and came back outside to help.
“I’ve never seen anything like this around here,” I commented, making note on the fact that in my entire lifetime here in the Ohio Valley I had never encountered a storm like this. We’re talking a lifespan now that bridges half a century. “What did you expect?” Bob demanded, above the storm’s fury. “This is that hurricane from Texas!”
“What?” I exclaimed. “You’re kidding. We’re in Ohio – we don’t have hurricanes in Ohio,” I retorted, still thinking he was kidding. “You do now,” Bob warned, putting his head down and shoulder into the wind. “Hold the door while I get these boxes in.”
“Whew!” I exhaled as I closed the door shut, backing into it against the wind. “This is really something!” Carrying the last package into the kitchen I opened the refrigerator door to put the milk and eggs away. “Uh oh,” I stated, any last enthusiasm flowing out of me. The interior was dark. “I think the power’s out,” I advised as I flipped a wall switch with no results.
“Those last traffic lights were out too - remember?” Bob said as he dialed a friend on his cell phone, soon learning that the friend was out, the friend’s business was out and there was no word from Duke Energy when power would be restored. “They’re saying it could be as long as a week,” Bob reported, a sense of amazement coming over both of us. “A week?” I repeated, not yet comprehending our vulnerability.
“I’ll tell you what’s happened,” Bob said immediately. “They sent all the equipment and linemen to Texas in anticipation of the hurricane. They didn’t think to look at the weather coming our way…” he trailed off, annoyed no end. This he had learned from working for twenty-eight years for a utility company in New York. It turned out he was right. Power in this area did not begin to get restored to the 880,000 that were out in the Cincinnati area until trucks and workers arrived from South Carolina, North Carolina and Michigan on Tuesday morning.
A long line of expletives escaped both of us in the following hour as the deepening reality of our misfortune dawned on the two of us. Obeying habit, and almost unthinkingly I sat down at my desk and placed my hand over the mouse. Nothing whirred into activity. “Uh OH!” I thought. “Bob, the computer’s down,” I wailed as the reality of the situation began to finally dawn. “No kidding Sherlock, why would you think it would be working? There’s no POWER – remember?” he sneered, walking into our office, with an emphasis on the word remember. “Oh,” was all I could manage, and that weakly. “When will it come back on?” I absent-mindedly asked, like a spoiled child. “How should I know?” he almost shouted. “When the rest of it comes back on, I suppose!”
I recall a sinking feeling enveloping me. “And I have so much work to do!” I exclaimed. “What am I going to do?”
“If it gets too bad we’ll take the laptops out and find a wireless connection. But first let’s see if this thing passes.”
“But I can’t even get to my writing!” I complained. “It won’t even turn on – I can’t even use WORD!” I wailed, again sounding like a spoiled child. Reluctantly I rose from my desk and wondered what I was going to do with myself. Already I could feel the routine of my life being interrupted and it felt extremely disconcerting. That sinking feeling began to turn to panic. “Bob, WHAT am I going to do?” I asked. He just looked at me and walked away. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon. Typically it was about the time I’d be flailing away at my keyboard composing something while the baby napped. The baby! Happily she was exploring the downstairs rooms in her walker, flitting here and flirting there, happily going about her business in her perfect little world. Never mind that her grandmother’s world had just been turned on its ear – hers was perfect!
“Thank goodness for that,” I murmured to myself as I picked her up, catching whiff of what has turned into a long interminable line of soiled diapers in my life. Deciding this one was going to require a bath, I carried her upstairs, snuggling my nose into the sweet smell of her hair. Once upstairs, I sat on the edge of the tub and turned the water on, beginning to fill her little bathtub inside my larger bathtub. The water came out hot and fast. Suddenly I realized this was a commodity that wasn’t going to last as the electric hot water heater faded to cold. Understanding the need for conservation, I turned the water off, her little bath half-filled. She didn’t seem to mind. Why should I? Consoling myself that this power failure would probably be short lived (I have never encountered a power failure lasting more than four hours around here) I kneeled as I usually do at the side of the tub and proceeded to play with her in her bath. We lingered longer than we usually do – maybe fifteen minutes beyond the usual five minutes we normally spend, until the water in the tub was cooling. What else did I have to do?
“Is it on yet?” I yelled down the steps, referring to my computer, knowing full well the answer but hoping against hope some miracle had occurred in my office; like maybe the power to the Internet would be restored, damn the rest! Again, no answer from the hatch below. I could feel Bob shaking his head.
Placing the baby on my bed and rolling the towel over her to dry her in the way she loves I smiled at her twinkling personality. No matter that her grandmother was approaching withdrawal over not having access to the Internet. It would be a while yet before she moved beyond the baby games we played on the computer at the Huggies site. As I said, her little world was perfect and she was perfectly displaying her satisfaction with the turn in events. As an added bonus, I broke out the baby powder and sprinkled it over her naked squirming little body. She squealed in appreciation and flipped over, faster’n greased lightening. I grabbed her and flipped her back on her backside to maneuver the diaper on. She cooed and reached up to me. I put my head down on her little belly and blew. She laughed. I did it again. She laughed harder - this time a belly laugh erupted. I flopped down on the bed beside her and put my arm around her. Peace. Unimaginable peace. It lasted about ten seconds before she squirmed away from me and sat up, looking around for mischief. She grinned and took off across the bed. I grabbed her leg and pulled her back. We wrestled back and forth like this for a couple minutes and suddenly I felt the fight leave her. “Naptime,” I reminded myself, realizing it was about ninety minutes past due. Placing her in her crib she fussed a little but fell asleep momentarily. Peace. Unimaginable peace.
I crept out of the room, closing the door to the darkening room softly behind me. Checking the light switch as I descended the stairs I understood we were still out. I found Bob sitting in the recliner, candles in the room lit and a small battery powered light allowing him to read. He was fast inside one of his books. “Bob, what are we going to do?” I started back up. “What if what they’re saying is true - that we might not have power for a week – what are we going to DO? Do the phones work, at least?” I asked, picking up one of the remotes. Dead silence. “Works off electricity,” Bob flippantly retorted. “What about this don’t you get?”
Feeling utterly defeated I moped out of the room. Not quite knowing what to do with myself I walked to the window and watched the furious wind still blowing havoc across my window space. Thinking to myself, “How can this be?” I turned my attention to supper. No microwave, no refrigerator, no stove, no oven, NO NOTHING! “What do you want to eat?” I asked Bob.
“We could go out,” he offered. “You really feel like going out again, in THAT?” I countered, motioning to the storm. “We can eat leftovers from last night – we have to get rid of them anyway, by the looks of it!”
“Good idea!” Bob welcomed the suggestion. “No, I don’t really feel like going out again.” Quickly, very quickly I pulled the stew out of the refrigerator but before I opened the door I went over in my mind what I was going to need so I did not have to open the door again, losing precious cold. My hands flashed across the refrigerator as I pulled the several items I needed for the meal. Quickly I closed the door again, resolving not to open it, or the freezer, again. A queer sense of accomplishment came over me, like I was achieving something, but I was not quite sure of what the feeling meant at the time.
I used the grill to heat the stew and some baked vegetables and we ate that and Bob’s favorite Syrian bread with butter that evening. As it grew dark we lit candles throughout the house. Our house was built in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. I was reminded what the house must have felt like back then when they did not have electricity. This reminder was to visit me many times in the coming days. Peace. Unimaginable peace.
Usually early to bed, the fact that the house was dark past 8 did not bother me one bit. Used to feeling my way to the bathroom I rarely use lights at night so this part of my existence was not really disrupted that much, except for the fact that I kept waking, wondering if the electricity was back on. The beloved ceiling fan in our room that was to become my touchstone throughout this ordeal never stirred. I woke maybe a dozen times that first night, “feeling” for the power that never came, a sense of frustration welling beneath my surface about my missing Internet connection. I got up around 5 a.m., exhausted, looked to make coffee but was frustrated even in that, and lit candles. My morning routine usually includes cleaning the cat box and all that took about five minutes. At 5:05 a.m. I would normally be sitting down to my desk, bringing up my email and clicking on Excite to read the night’s news. I walked into my office and gazed wistfully at my darkened computer. Sighing, I went back to the kitchen and mourned the loss of the coffeepot’s services. I threw the clothes on from the day before that were lying on the bathroom floor and drove three miles to the closest open convenience store (they had power!) three miles away and bought three large cups of coffee – black. The other customers waiting on line already at that early hour looked at me like they wanted to shoot me. I ignored their glares, paid for the coffee and got out of there before things had a chance to turn ugly. On the way home I sipped one of them - it tasted strong and good and then remembered that I should have purchased a newspaper. I had long since given the newspaper delivery up; it lying too many times in my driveway until it turned to pulpy messy masses because I had come to feel no need for it.
Reaching home I set the coffee into a thermos to keep it hot for Bob and went to sit down in his recliner. I automatically reached for the remote. “Uh, hello!” I thought to myself as I put the damn thing down. “Now what?” I wondered. Closing my eyes and sipping my coffee I mused over the day’s challenges. I knew we had a lot of damage on the property – mostly in the form of downed branches and that big pine and I knew Bob would be beside himself at the daunting prospect of tackling all of it. “Best to just get at it,” I decided as I slipped on a light jacket over my nightgown and went outside. Soon I was back to picking debris and the weeds I had missed the day before out of my beds. It was growing light so as the day dawned I could see more and more of the tasks before us. Bob appeared in the doorway with the baby in his arms. “WHAT are you doing you crazy woman!” he demanded.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” I laughed, straightening and pushing the fallen hair out of my face.
Unamused, he wanted me to come take care of the baby while he went through his morning routine. I changed her, got a fresh bottle and went and sat with her on the front porch. Soon Bob came out too. “The boys will be here at 9,” he said. “I talked to their mother last night.” “The boys” are a set of identical 16 year old twins who help us out occasionally around the place. “We’re going to start on that pine and I’ll have them pick up the yard and I’ll get those two burn piles out back going,” Bob said. “I’ll have them clean out the pool too…” he said further as he seemed to drift into his plan making.
“That’s good – what time did you say?” I inquired. Rarely do “the boys” show up when they’re supposed to show up. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” I often console myself. It is SO HARD to find anyone willing to do manual labor!
That first day the boys and Bob got a lot done. The whole front yard’s debris and many of the pine tree branches got shorn off and burned. I helped too – while the baby slept I finished the clean up in one of the house’s front beds and that night felt a serene sense of fulfillment. Bone tired and with my back aching I commiserated with Bob over the clean-up but encouraged him that they were making pretty fast progress. He agreed and seemed to be cheered by it. That afternoon, before it got dark we grilled out again, using some meat from the meat drawer just in case this thing went on longer. I was determined to use what could go bad because we were unable to get ice – nobody had it. Nobody also had generators – sold out that first day in all area stores. I was dipping quickly in and out of the refrigerator in my planned forays but it was knocking the temperature way down – fast!
That night we lit candles, Bob read by the light of his battery-powered headlamp and the baby and I went to bed. I’ve forgotten to mention that throughout the day I checked and rechecked and rechecked again the power in the house - all to no avail. I was feeling the ever increasing anxiety of the addict’s withdrawal pain. I wanted the Internet to come back up – I wasn’t used to this - 24 hours of no Internet was really placing me under a lot of pressure. On the following day I knew I had my MagicMethod Phone Sourcing Noon Classroom Chat on the MagicMethod network and wondered how in the world they’d get along without me. I was starting to sweat bullets, pacing and pacing, back and forth like a black panther in a zoo cage. To say I slept well would be a lie. I must have wakened another dozen times, each time to be frustrated when I realized we still weren’t “up”.
Through all this, though, I was beginning to sense one thing – the house was so quiet and peaceful. I surprised myself when I realized there was a subtle upside to this disaster. On Tuesday, the second day of this cataclysm, I again got up early as I usually do. Feeling hysteria settled just at the exterior of my well-being I paced the quiet and dark house. I knew I could not go one more day like this. I could live without the hustle and bustle of electricity but I could not live without the Internet! I was determined to at least get Bob to get my email downloaded; however it was he was going to make that happen.
Bob picked the boys up on this day and to work they got. At the end of it they had most of the clean-up work licked in the flames of the burn piles. That night, about seven, Bob and I were sitting on the front porch watching the world go by as it continued to do, as we had done each of the previous two nights as the world darkened around us. Suddenly, Bob cried out, “Hallelujah!” I looked at him and he was looking up at our front porch light, glowing above our heads. “We have power!” he exclaimed as he leaped out of his chair. “We have power!”
I followed him inside, the baby in my arms. The first thing I did was sit down at my computer. “Wait,” Bob ordered. “It might go down again. If it does it might harm the computer if you go up too fast. Wait fifteen minutes.” Not understanding this logic and thinking it was some part of his Chinese torture campaign to drive me crazy I acquiesce and walk around the house turning lights off that had been flipped on during the outage. It seemed the whole house was suddenly ablaze. Counting the fifteen minutes down in my head I finally sit down and bring my screen to life. I click on Explorer and – horrors! Nothing happens – Explorer can’t be found! I get a message that a network cable is unplugged. “Bob!” I screech. “The Internet won’t come up!”
“I told you to wait!” he yells back. “You’re so impatient…”
“I did wait!” I almost scream. “I waited fifteen minutes!” thinking to myself that I deserved a medal. At the same time I’m frantically trying to bring Outlook up – same thing – no mail! I can feel the blood in my head begin to pulse.
“What’s wrong?” I demand. “Why isn’t it working?” I fret. I am beside myself with frustration.
“I don’t know and I’m too tired to fool with it tonight – I’ll look at it in the morning,” he states and walks out of the room. He has that “sound” in his voice when I know there’s no point in arguing. I decide he is a Chinese master at water torture, sigh and go upstairs and try to cry. I can hardly stand it but somehow I’m okay with waiting ‘til morning – the tears won’t come. To sleep I pretty peacefully go thinking that in the morning I will be up on my sacred Internet. The assurance calms and soothes my savaged senses. I sleep through the whole night. Peace. Unimaginable peace.
Up I pop like a piece if toast at six-ish and rush downstairs to find Bob hard at work on the computers. “It may not be us,” he warns. This sounds ominous. “Then what?” I demand. “Embarq – Embarq may be down. I’m going to call support at seven.” He sounds concerned.
I do my morning thing and at seven I’m hovering anxiously nearby. I hear him on the phone. “Seven tonight? Okay then – thanks,” he says and hangs up the phone. “What?” I snarl. “Embarq?”
“Their hardware is damaged from the outage and they say they’ll be up by seven tonight – all we can do is wait.”
“All we can do is wait?” I mimic, wanting to pummel somebody. “Wait? I’ve been waiting three days!” I yell.
“Calm down – yelling isn’t going to bring it back,” Bob reasons. I could pummel him for telling me what I know.
I stomp off knowing that some of this is an act – I’m vaguely curious as to why I’m putting on this show. “I can wait ‘til seven,” I think to myself. “No big deal - at seven I’ll be on!” The thought mollifies me.
I go about the business on this Wednesday, the third full day after the hurricane, of putting my house back together. An amazing amount of laundry and general household mess accumulates when you have no power to address it with. At least I had access to Outlook and my address book. At least I could start calling my customers who wondered what had happened to me. By the way, all that day I was fielding calls from customers who had been trying to email and call me since the outage took hold. They told me my phone had just been ringing and ring for days now and some of them wondered what was going on with their jobs. All were understanding when I explained what was going on. All the while though I had the gnawing thought that I could have done better.
Seven comes and goes and guess what? Still no Internet! “Tomorrow by 8 a.m,” we’re told. “I’ll take your laptop and get your mail downloaded in the morning – at least you’ll be able to see that – all thousand pieces of it I surmise,” Bob half-jokingly promises.
“Most of it junk,” I shoot back. I am mollified into waiting again but, believe it or not, I am still okay with this delay. I’m beginning to alarm myself. “What if I really could live without the Internet?” I wonder to myself. “Nah! Won’t happen!” I put that silly thought to rest and go to bed. I sleep peacefully.
Thursday dawns and the promised 8 a.m. delivery goes waning once more. I sigh and wait patiently as Bob leaves and then returns with my laptop two hours later with 1088 pieces of email on it – most of it junk. I wade through the mess in about an hour and feel some relief knowing at least I have my email addressed and nobody’s dropping through the cracks. But there’s something else dropping through the cracks I realize and it’s my psychological dependence on the Internet. “What if I could get used to this?” I secretly wonder, recognizing that my anxiety levels have really lowered the last day or so over this whole mess. I say nothing to Bob, not wanting to alarm him about a possible disruption to his income stream. I feel peace. Unimaginable peace.
Friday – yep, you guessed it. Still no Internet. I’m managing with a cobbled together delivery system of using my researchers email systems – one here in Cincinnati who has the Internet AND power and one in Atlanta – to deliver the work to my customers. Everyone’s okay. The work is getting done. I’m surprising myself. It’s a little more phoning and a little more arranging but all told it’s working. Needless to say I wasn’t able to get any phone sourcing work done myself that week without the Internet. This bothered me.
It should be mentioned that by Tuesday I was learning of the financial tumult in the markets and the ominous announcement concerning AIG. I was also learning that gas was being rationed to ten gallons here in the Ohio Valley and there still was no ice to be had in the area for the half million or so people that were still without power. I was hearing all of this through the grapevine, mind you, some of it from my sister on my cell phone who has been reading Revelations for twenty years and holds a JD from Dayton Law School and an LLM (Masters in Tax) from Georgetown University. Listening to someone tying the present economic meltdown to events of the last days as recorded in the Bible did nothing to assuage my concerns or allay my fears. My stomach flipped as I listened to the dire renditions from someone I have enormous respect for and felt helpless. I decided I could control what I could control only and the rest of the world was going to have to wait. After all, if my Magic students could get along without me as they obviously had on Tuesday and Thursday, the world could survive without my harried input. After our power was restored on Tuesday night I kept CNN on pretty much throughout the whole of the next two days, listening to the repetitious news broadcasts late into the night. By Thursday night I was exhausted from all of it. I resolved not to watch the news on Friday and felt some small modicum of calm return by the evening.
Our “brown” driver cheerfully stepped from his truck on Thursday of that week as he usually does three-five times a week with a package that he brought to my door. I swung it open as I asked him if he was seeing a lot of trees down, as this was the reason offered up by the energy company for the area week-long blackout – downed tress on power lines. He rolled his eyes as if to say yes but what he did say was doubly alarming. “I’m also seeing something you’re not hearing about. Out here in the country a lot of people have been home-invaded and robbed at gunpoint, the thieves knowing the police could not be called…” He stopped as he saw my reaction and nodded, “No kidding.” Horrified, I was suddenly gladdened by the arsenal of guns Bob keeps and the supply of ammunition he is always adding to by making his own. Interesting times we live in indeed.
Finally – finally the Internet is restored to a working order by Saturday morning but guess what? Our router is fried and Bob has to go get a new one. He does so, buys the wrong one and has to take it back and get the right one. He gets it installed quickly and by 4pm or so Saturday I am up again – this time at lightening speed around the Internet. I s’pose the new speed makes it all worth it. I s’pose. Time will tell.
What did I learn?
I learned that living in darkness isn’t such a bad thing – that the cracks that appear in our lives let some of the light in.
I learned that the responsible thing “these days” is to own a generator – we purchased one 3500 something or other that runs on propane gas. Next time we’ll be prepared. If there is a next time and I’d bet good money that there will be.
I learned that things change quickly (actually, I already knew this but the pain of this lesson had faded for me) sometimes as fast as in the blink of an eye and to be caught off-guard was not only frustrating but also fiscally irresponsible.
I learned to look at my household, myself and my business in a renewed light that was not only hardened but realistically enlightening.
I was reminded of the consolation of quiet – that the still house offered a respite from the past that is lost on us today.
I learned there are other areas of my life needing attention and they don’t include the Internet or any power sources other than what’s in my own heart.
I learned there is far more suffering going on in the much-more affected areas of Houston and Galveston, TX that make my small inconveniences pale in comparison. I pity those suffering people and wish them Godspeed in returning to some semblance of normalcy.
I was reminded that the world does not revolve around me and that it goes on without me. What a relief that last one is! Peace. Unimaginable peace.
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