Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter at 305

It's been an unusual winter in coastal North Carolina. We're not used to frozen things around here, unless it's shaped like a cube and goes in a glass of sweet tea. Or all crushed up in a mint julep. Or floating around in a nice glass of bourbon. You get the drift. So you can imagine our surprise when we got not one, but two actual occasions of ice falling from the sky. We about lost our damned minds around here.

The first round came in the form of a bunch of sleet. That was the one that got the officials in Atlanta in a whole lot of trouble. I have a lot of friends and co-workers down there, and have heard first-hand about 13 hour commutes home and how horrible all that was. We didn't have too much trouble with that one, thank goodness. It was treacherous, but as long as you didn't try to drive in it, or take your dog for a walk, you were OK.

"What the... I thought we left this stuff up in Newfoundland?"
It was even kind of pretty. Cold, frozen and crunchy. Good for sledding. Folks around here don't have sleds, but boogie boards work just as well. Dinky enjoyed eating chunks of it.

"Seriously, Mom. What the actual hell?"
We weathered that one just fine. (See what I did there?) There were maybe two days when it wasn't good to be out and about, then it warmed up and went away.

Then this week started with a freezing rain prediction for Wednesday. The day we were supposed to leave for Denver to see this:

My nephew Wyatt's second birthday.

Tuesday morning brought a phone call from USAirways that the flight was cancelled. We rebooked for Thursday morning.

9:00 AM.

Ooooo! Pretty!

11:00 AM: Crashing sounds as tree limbs give up and fall to their death. Usually onto a power line or a car or a roof.

11:30 AM: Surrounded by the sound of power transformers exploding. Ritual sacrifices made to appease the power gods.

12:30 PM: The gods are not pleased with our dance performance and power is cut.

12:35 PM: I begin to hyperventilate with no internet access.

12:40 PM: Flight for Thursday morning cancelled.

12:41 - 2:00 PM: Run the battery down on my phone trying to get through to USAirways and rearrange travel. Rebook for Thursday afternoon.

2:01 PM: Commence nagging Pootie to set up the generator. He refuses, on the grounds that "It's a complete pain in the ass, I hate those extension cords running all over the place, I hate pulling the fridge out to plug it in, it's loud, and I'm sure power will be back on soon."

3:00 PM: Hijack neighbor's wifi. (Jesse set up HIS generator.) Settle down with my iPad for a good sulk. Wonder aloud how much food I'll have to throw away because my husband won't set ours up. Contemplate feeding him something spoiled.

5:00 PM: Tempers flare as the light fades and the water cools to tepid.

6:00 PM: Pootie works out in the dark while I try to cook dinner wearing an LED head lamp. Burn self repeatedly.

7:00 PM: Light every candle in the house. Still cannot see dinner.

7:30 PM: Boil water for cleanup. More burns. "Wash" dishes. Unable to see if they are actually clean. Or are actually dishes.

8:00 PM: Give up and go to bed. Pootie loses his complacency upon realization that he must haul the coffee grinder next door to use it.


7:00 AM: Discover that dishes from previous night are indeed filthy. Think about throwing them away. Spill half a pot of coffee on counter trying to make it manually.

8:00 AM: Nag Pootie about hooking up the generator again.

9:41 AM: Nephew Benjamin texts that their power is back on. Consider killing him.

9:45 AM: Thursday afternoon flight cancelled. Give up after seeing how many flights cancelled in Charlotte and Wilmington. and am unable to get through to USAirways.

10:00 AM: Pootie finally caves, as it becomes clear that power will never, ever be restored. Brings out generator.

10:15 AM: Generator refuses to start. My head explodes.

11:30 AM: Take generator to the shop. Along with nine hundred other people in town.

6:00 PM: Go out to dinner with neighbors. Complain about outage.

7:31 PM: Give up and go to bed. Fall asleep to the sound of generators thrumming in the neighborhood. Everywhere except in our yard. Jealousy and resentment set in.


7:00 AM: Discover that everyone, absolutely everyone in town has power but our neighborhood.

7:15 AM: Discuss options for governmental overthrow with neighbors.

8:00 AM: Pootie decides since our generator is going to be fixed on the same timeline as power restoration - never - we will borrow Craig's.

12:45 PM: Set up borrowed generator. Plug in modem, router and computers. Plug in fridge. Peace temporarily restored.

6:00 PM: Get cocky and plug a lamp in to cook dinner.

7:30 PM: Trip over lamp cord and destroy lamp.

7:31 PM: Give up and go to bed.


7:00 AM: Give up hope of ever getting power back.

8:00 AM: Look around house and realize we are living in squalor. Extension cords everywhere. Consider burning the house down.

9:00 AM: Give up personal hygiene. Weep.

11:00 AM: Go to grocery. See six power trucks just sitting there, doing nothing. Try to convince Pootie to run over the workers.

12:00 PM: Unverified sightings of power trucks. Momentary excitement.

12:30 PM: Power trucks do not materialize. Lie on floor in complete apathy. Decide never to hope again.

1:00 PM: Begin drinking heavily. Weep more.

3:00 PM: Receive texts from neighbors with photographic proof of power trucks. Suspect Photoshop.

3:30 PM: Neighbor claims power is restored. Pootie refuses to turn the panel on, convinced it will just go back out again. Begin planning his murder.

3:40 PM: Neighbor verifies power is on, narrowly saving Pootie from an untimely demise.

3:45 - 5:00 PM: Frantically eliminate all traces of generator, candles, lanterns, and anything else that will remind us of the past four days.

5:00 - 7:00 PM: Turn on every light in the house and weep with joy. Plan purchase and installation of whole house generator.

8:00 PM: All is right with the world.