Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ridin' the Storm Out

On a Tuesday night in August, right before Brad and I had gone to bed, we checked the local weather station. Thunderstorms to the north of the state, but we shouldn't see anything down by us. Since meteorologists are super accurate, we left the windows open in the whole house and went to bed.

I was in the middle of a dream where I was on a boat, being gently sprayed by sea mist, when I woke up confused because I was actually being rained on (I was going to frame it as saying "in the middle of a wet dream, literally", but the thought kind of grossed me out). Then the blinds began to hit the ceiling and our doors started slamming shut. Either we have some Poltergeist shit up in this hole to hell or we were in the middle of a storm. As Brad was shutting our window, I somehow fell back asleep for about 5 seconds before I told him he needed to go and shut the girls window. He did and proceeded to yell for me to get up and help shut the rest of the house up. Our entire kitchen floor was soaking by the time we closed up shop. We looked outside and saw orange skies, torrential rain, trees and branches everywhere and heard the sound of a train. I am well aware that if you hear that, you either better be in the basement in .2 seconds or bend over and kiss your ass goodbye, because you're about to star in the remake of "Twister". Our electricity was out, but using the power of 4G and WiFi, Brad was checking the weather while I was checking my mom's group to see what everyone else was doing. Because there were no warnings of tornadoes or anything else and no sirens, we assumed everything was fine and nothing more than a severe thunderstorm, so we went back to bed.

We woke up to a damn shit storm. Luckily, we only had some small tree branches down by us, but the former drug house across the street had a tree for a roof (which was just taken care of yesterday). Still without power, both Brad and I attempted to go to work, only to be sent home due to widespread power outages that covered tens of thousands of people. It was reported that it could take days to a week to get power back everywhere. Panic mode set in. How was I going to cook? Would we lose all of our cold food? Will I get to drink my quarter bottle of wine? Why does my phone only have 5% battery left after I charged it last night? How will I entertain my children? Good lord! There's no access to "Bubble Guppies" and they start jonesing for their fix around lunch time! I'm never going to make it. I'm not sure if I can entertain them for an undetermined amount of time. Without outside visual and audio stimulation, their other senses are going to perk up and they will be able to smell my fear!! Even more terrifying, is that I could foresee what life would be like at home 1800's style and it didn't look pretty.

This is how I would have to dress and the accessories I would have to carry around:

That is a hat with lights.

Whenever I think of a freezer thawing out, I always think of the scene in "Jurassic Park" where they had to eat gallons of different delicious ice cream. We didn't have any of that. This was all that was left of our freezer...

Bottle is from Christmas three years ago.
 Strange things began to happen. Our clock had stopped about 6 weeks earlier. We tried changing it's batteries and it still wouldn't work. Out of the blue, after ALL of our power went out, the thing started up again.

"Don't worry guys, I got this. I'm the Regulator. Mount up".
But probably the worst, most awkward thing of that time, is the fact that I would have to put my phone, computer and anything else I love away and have face to face contact and interaction with people. Like my husband. Painful.

"Hey...uh...come here often?"
"Holy shit, since when have your eyes been blue?"

F this in the A, if we are going to be out of power for days, I'm taking the girls to my parents house. I offered to allow (yes, allow) Brad to come with us, but he wanted to be Grizzly Adams manly and stay until the power came back on. Which is guy code for he wants to have some peace and quiet and go to the bar. We left and spent 18 glorious hours in present day culture. Except, I still didn't have internet connection for my laptop. First world problems. This also happened to be the first trip/time in which the girls almost perfectly mimicked my road rage and started saying "Fah-King?! Faaaahhhhh-King?!" Loose lips sink ships? More like loose lips nominate you for Parent of the Year.

When the three of us returned, we were still without power for 24 more hours. Luckily, I had to go to work in another city that night, so Brad got to take care of the girls in the dark. I guess the blackout wasn't too bad on me, since I wasn't there for the worst part of it.

Day 3 without power proved to be a little more difficult.  While the girls weren't actively going through cartoon DT's, they were still itching for the good stuff. Instead, we built towers, chased each other around, tried to jump off the couch, tried to jump onto me, successfully jumped onto me and got to eat their weight in PB sandwiches. We did "Patty Cake" until I wanted to punch myself in the face. I didn't have the heart to tell them they would be waiting for a long time for their cake to be baked, as the bakers man had no access to an oven. We all laid down for a nap and when we awoke, power had been restored. I busted out with an my version of "This Little Light of Mine" while I hugged my electronics. Don't leave me again, microwave. I'll clean you real good for coming back to me.

It took a awhile for everyone to clean up after the storm. After days of speculation and a lot of pissed off people, it was eventually confirmed that there was a tornado that went through the area. Six tornadoes confirmed to be exact, including one that went by a block from us. There are controversies surrounding the sirens not going off. There's a county that's telling people it wasn't their responsibility to sound the sirens, it was the citizens needing to take some "personal responsibility" for their safety. Nice Facebook PR "Unnamed Wisconsin County".

All in all, I am very grateful that no one got hurt and that the kids slept through most of the storm. And that they forgot all about the naughty word I shouted at some dipshit driver.

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