After work I had to run to the Comcast office to exchange our cable box. I love that place. It's like State Fair Lite. All the people watching, none of the stench. The highlight of this visit was the chance to eavesdrop on two sets of parents, each armed with an adorable baby. The babies were about the same age and as I listened to the proud mamas and papas compare notes, part of me got all misty eyed about how fast time flies, and the other part wanted to barf a little. Did I sound like that when mine were little, I wonder? "Axel is way off the charts! He's so tall! He's the biggest baby our pediatrician has ever seen!!!! We have to get his clothes at Baby Gap Big 'n' Tall!!!" was countered with "Oh...well Magnus has this Little Tikes chess set and he's already beating me when we play!!!! Plus he can change the oil in my car!!!!". Okay so I'm exaggerating a bit but you get the gist. I wanted to sit down between the Dueling Boasters and tell them, "Ease up, mammy and pappy. Enjoy your youngun's while they're young! You know who don't give two whits about where they were on the charts when they were 11 months old? The future kid who's gonna try and get your precious Magnus and Axel to try booze! Or pot! That's who! So who gives a whit how tall he is. Love him, teach him right from wrong and by the way, are either of you number 92? They're calling for number 92!". Apparently my inner bitchy old mom talks like a prospector in a 50's western. But I digress.
I got my new cable box and nodded while the nervous chick behind the desk prattled on about the Big Storm that was coming. "Gosh I hope we all make it home okay!" she said. As I walked out to my car, I cast a wary eye towards the heavens. Hmmm. Nervous Comcast Girl may have been right to be worried. The sky was a deep, dark gray and the wind had picked up. I stopped at the grocery store by our house, and picked up some salmon for dinner, martini fixin's, and a RedBox movie. Because a stormy night just begs for a movie, and pretty much any night begs for a cocktail. When I arrived at Chez Hausfrau, the skies were even darker, and the wind was even feistier. My inner storm chaser felt a twinge of excitement. I love a good summer thunderstorm.
The salmon went into the fridge because the lone heathen at home (Henry) couldn't be bothered to wait for a civilized dinner. You see, when I work, they find it difficult to open cupboards and prepare foodstuffs for themselves. Oh, sure, they can make it look as though they hosted Top Chef in the kitchen while I was gone, but this kid was STARVING and needed nourishment IMMEDIATELY. So I started up a pot of Annie's mac and cheese, which in our house has its very own spot on the food pyramid. Molly had been out on a walk with Walter, and they walked in at about 7:00, soaking wet. "Holy crap!" mother of the year (me) exclaimed. "Is it raining?"
My lovely 17 year old daughter cast a sardonic look at me through soaking wet hair.
I continued to stir the mac and cheese noodles, now slowly bubbling in the pan. Thunder could be heard, not directly overhead but close enough to shake windows. I heard a noise on the porch, which is located directly off the kitchen, and when I peeked in there to see what the what was happening, it was like that scene in Poltergeist when Carol Anne's closet became the portal to the supernatural world. My Golden Girls porch furniture was blowing this way and that, the little lamp, the picture frames (still filled with stock photos of strange children, my bad) and the books and magazines and the table were flying against the inner wall. I looked outside and saw an ugly greenish tinge to the air, and oh yeah: RAIN FALLING SIDEWAYS. The last time we had rain falling sideways, there was a tornado.
I screamed at the kids to get downstairs, and so they ran out to the living room to watch the storm. Charlie and William weren't home, so it was me and my two middle children. Henry has never been a big fan of storms, but Molly takes after me and is fascinated with them. We were enjoying Mother Nature's handiwork when BAM CRASH a huge branch from one of the massive oaks in the front yard fell on top of the power lines that divide ours and our neighbor's lots. Flames flickered briefly, even in the downpour, and the lines fell to the grass and out over the street.
That's when we lost power. I scrambled to find one of the 412 flashlights we own, and found one in the kitchen junk drawer. Well, one of the kitchen junk drawers. We have a couple. I noticed then that the sole source of light in the kitchen was the still-lit burner under the roiling pot of noodles on the stove. My inner bitchy old mom and storm chaser moved over to make room for another inner me, Cave Woman. "Keep flame lit" she grunted. I thought about it, for a second, because honestly...we have never lost power in this house. It was new and exciting and scary. But I decided that it felt a little dangerous so out it went. I made the mac and cheese by flashlight, and Henry inhaled it while nervously inquiring about stuff like candles and air conditioning.
"Oh Henry" I said, soothingly. "The power will be back on in a little bit."
Our power was out for almost five days. 116 hours, to be exact.
This is getting long, so I'm going to go ahead and post it, and then get to typin' Part Two. I wonder which inner Jennys will be in that one? God knows there's enough room in here for dozens more. I'm like a personality clown car.
(read part two HERE)
(read part two HERE)