Thursday, September 1, 2011

September, Irene, and an unnecesarily long post about both.

Welcome, dear ones, to the best part of the year. That's right: we have officially survived another summer. I say survived because, let's be honest, summer sucks. I mean, all of the reasons to enjoy summer are counterbalanced, and even overcome, by reasons to despise it. So it's finally warm outside? Great, this means I will spend most of the day with my hands wrapped around a steaming cup of hot water trying not to catch cold in this HORRIBLE AIR CONDITIONING! So it stays light outside longer? Lovely, except that the humidity is so stiflingly aweful that you'll be stuck inside anyway waiting for the sun to go down so it's bearable to be outside. Concerts in the park, you say? Divine, until the mosquitoes have made your legs into a writhing mass of itchy painful bumps--and thrown west-nile virus into the mix while they are at it. But what about the fireflies, you ask? Well, there you have me. I adore fireflies. However, they've been gone for at least a month so can you blame me for wishing summer away already?

Anywho, all that's behind us now. It's September the first and now, my lovelies, comes fall. Oh, fall, how do I love thee! Now, finally, we can do some of the things we've been wanting to do since summer came and chased the glorious spring into hiding. Bike rides? Yes! Indeed, and we may not die of heat exhaustion while we're at it! Kayaking? Why of course! And perhaps the mosquitoes will not kill us and sacrifice us to their pagan gods! Farmers' Markets? Outdoor movies? Renaissance Festivals? Yes and yes and ooooooh yes!

Speaking of Ren-Faire times, wait till you see the smashing costume I've been working on for this year's shindig. In fact, if you are wondering how on earth I survived the chaos of Hurricane Irene, there is your answer: I sat at the sewing machine humming songs from the Phantom of the Opera and tailoring a corset. (Oh yes, my dears, a corset! Shocked? Don't be, it's pretty tame and fits over a billowy white shirt. Not even any cleavage to be seen. A let-down, I know.)

While we're on the subject, let's get this Hurricane Irene business out of the way. Many of you will only now be realizing that Irene was in my way at all, given that DC isn't exactly on the coast. However, don't be fooled! We were warned and forewarned that this puppy was gonna be the big one. Massive power outages! Flooding! Damaging winds and falling trees! Fairies stealing your first born child at midnight! (Okay, maybe not that last one.) The day before the storm was scheduled to hit us everything shut down early and people went home to stock up on water and toilet paper (read: alcohol and weed) to wait out the devastation that would surely leave half of us maimed and longing for death. Mr. Awesome and I, being the prepared type of people we are, were also batting down the hatches and stocking up on emergency supplies on Friday night. That's right, we were so serious about survival that at about 9:30pm we walked across the street to the RiteAid and purchased not one but TWO boxes of granola bars and a bottle of water. We had also intended to buy batteries and a flashlight, but by the time we figured out what food we should be hoarding during this disaster we kind of forgot about the other things on our list.

Me: "I dunno, honey. What sort of things do you buy during a hurricane?"

Him: "Ummmm....granola bars, I think? Yeah, so you don't have to cook them when the power goes out."

Me: "Oh, right! Ok, sooo....chocolate chip or raisin? Is there a right kind of bar to get in this situation?"

Him: "Well, we should probably get both, just in case."

In fact, it was lucky we saw the store manager re-stocking the empty shelves where the bottled water goes or we would have forgotten that as well. Luck was on our side, however, and we soon found ourselves trudging home loaded down with a whole bag full of bottled water and granola to wait out the coming apocalypse.

Saturday came and went with nothing very exciting to tell. I went to my scheduled optometry appointment and Mr. Awesome carried around a golfing umbrella just in case. Then, at long last, Saturday night came. This was it! The night the big storm was mean to come into our lives and change them forever! Here we go.

Yep, any second now, guys. For sure. It's gonna be intense, people. Wait for it....wait for it.... What time is it now? 10:30 huh? I thought for sure we'd be dead by now. Still, I'll bet when it hits we'll be freaked. Sooo...wanna watch a movie then while we wait? But not one we haven't seen because I'm pretty sure the power will go out and then we won't get to see the ending. Oh wow, it's 12:30 am. You know, I had better clean that kitchen just in case the power does go out and then we have no way to wash the counter. I can't wait for this storm to freak us all out, it's gonna be epic. Wait! Did the power just flicker off for a whole second?!? Is this it? Huh. Guess I'll reset the kitchen clock. Soooo... bed then?

And then, finally, just after 1am, the transformer outside our window exploded and we were plunged into darkness. I remember it perfectly. I was standing in the kitchen when the adrenaline immediately flooded my veins and I was unsure what to do first: find the emergency candles or eat a granola bar?

Me: "Honey, quick, this is it. Where are the granola bars?"

Him: "Pantry, I think. Shouldn't we light some candles or something?"

Me: "No time for that! This is an emergency. Where are you? I can't see a thing. Do you have the granola bars?"

Him: "Maybe I should move the car before a tree branch falls on it."

Me: "Good idea. Here, take a candle and a granola bar."

Him: "Uhh...I don't really think those will help me in this situation..."

Me: "Oh, right. Well be careful. I'll wait for you."

And I did. I waited by the window, anxiously gripping my granola bar, and watched the solitary umbrella bobbing along the walkway to the parking lot. I waited with baited breath for the flare of parking lights as he hit the automatic-door-unlocker-button-thingy and stepped into the relative safety of our Hyundai. Thank heavens we went with the bigger car after all, that Honda Fit we looked at would surely be blown away by now, what with all the...moderate winds and...drizzling rain? Finally, though, I spotted that familiar umbrella bobbing back toward the building from the parking lot. When I knew he had made it back inside I rushed to the door with a towel at the ready.

Me: "You're back! Are you okay?"

Him: "Oh you know, the usual, massive head trauma and severed limbs. Other than that I'm fine."

Me: "Ok, well, should you eat a granola bar or something?"

At this point it was 2:30 am, and we figured we could no longer avoid going to bed. In fact, if we had gone to bed at a normal time, it is unlikely we would even have known the power went out given that it was back on the next morning when we woke up. So you can see how lucky we were that we didn't go to sleep at a normal time or we would have missed all the action. It just goes to show you that those caution signs along the roads were right after all: Take a break, stay awake, for goodness sake!

To be fair, not everyone in our area was so lucky. Three of my coworkers who live on the Maryland side were out of power for several days afterward, and one even had to empty his refrigerator. Betcha he wishes he had thought to get some granola bars before hand, doesn't he?

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