Day Twenty

When I woke up, Hurricane Irene was still two states away battering the coast of North Carolina. It was obvious I had been watching non-stop coverage because I used words like “battering” when referring to weather patterns. But the hammering I was experiencing right here in Gaithersburg was in full force.
“When is the hurricane going to come?” “Is the hurricane here yet?” It’s not even raining, where is the hurricane?”
Even with 24-hour coverage as my guide, I still had no idea when we would see the worst of the weather. All predictions said that the worst of it would come overnight while we slept.
Or in my case, didn’t sleep. Drew and Reed never sleep through anything. Drew’s weather sensitivities make him prone to wandering around the house at night with every change in barometric pressure on the best of nights. I knew eventually he would parlay this into a lucrative career of storm chasing and weather prediction, but tonight it was going to cost me valuable sleep.
I tried all day to get the boys out of the house. I offered the batting cages, bowling and open gym and got no takers. They were, apparently, ready to hunker down. When I threatened to make them do chores if we stayed in–they did chores without complaint. I wasn’t sure what was going on with the hurricane but there was something brewing in my house for sure.
It was then that I realized the boys didn’t want to leave the house. Hurricane is a scary word to kids facing live coverage on every station–including ESPN. The day passed quickly enough nonetheless and they seemed almost relieved when the rain came in fits and starts mid-afternoon.
By 8pm, we were deep into happy hour and I was looking forward to watching “The Proposal” on the kitchen tv because no one can make being cooped up in the house a little easier like Ryan Reynolds. The guys, meanwhile, switched between pre-season football, the military channel and a show about snake head fish. I guess everyone has their own brand of survival during a storm. I needed a dream boat with great hair and they needed sports and things that exploded.
The kids rolled to their rooms about 9:30pm and we followed about 11:30. The rain was coming down in torrents by then and the wind was picking up. Still, I scoffed, this storm was nothing to write home about. Let alone, worthy of interruption to all other programming for some 48 hours. Really? Where was Saturday Night Live?
A little over an hour later, I sat straight up in bed as the wind howled through the rafters. I counted back 3-2-1 and Drew came trucking into my room at full speed. He looked a little surprised to see me sitting up in bed as if to say “I’ve been expecting you…”
“The hurricane is here,” he stammered “and I think we are in the eye right now.” Again, I silently commended him on his command of weather lingo but assured him that we were nowhere near the eye of Irene. “What if we lose power?” I tried to calm him by saying, “You are supposed to have your eyes closed so it doesn’t matter if we have lights or not.”
But Drew is no amateur. He saw through my veiled attempts. “The power is going to go out, I can just tell.” I walked him back to his room, turned up the radio to block out the wind and tucked him in. I even pulled the blinds up so he could watch the storm and face his fears as it were.
Not two minutes later the entire upper level went black. We hadn’t lost power but the street lights had gone out. Our house has a huge street light right in front of it that sheds a tremendous amount of light into the front windows at night. It has always acted as a nightlight for us as we roamed around the house in a daze when the kids were babies. Unfortunately it also serves as the main stop for all the dogs in the neighborhood who walk past our house.
Without the street lights, it was really dark and slightly unnerving. I counted again, 3-2-1 and Drew was back with Reed on his tail. I showed him that the clock was still glowing red–noting that it was now one half hour later than it was when I first woke up– so the power is solid. I had no answer about the street lights and mumbled something about sensors.
I rose again and walked them both back to bed. They crawled in bed together which was fine by me. As I left their room, I heard the radio blessedly playing music instead of hurricane updates. I walked out to the tune of “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. I laid back down in my bed and hummed a few bars of that classic hit as I wondered how Mark could sleep through what sounded like our grill flying off the deck.
I rolled onto my side but was wide awake as I tried to put a name to the sounds that emanated from the back of the house. The windows shook. The exhaust fan in the bathroom rattled. I could definitely hear things blowing outside, maybe a gutter disengaging from a house or trash cans. I silently atoned for my lack of respect for the weatherman This storm was finally packing some punch.
Mark finally heard the ruckus and flew to the window to see if the grill had flown off the deck. I pretended like this was earth shattering information, not letting on that I had looked out the window no less than twenty times in as many minutes.
I had just started to drift off and Reed was back–alone. I am sure he was the sacrificial lamb of the duo. Drew clearly explained that they would get better results if Reed went in alone. He looked so earnest it was hard to be mad. He leaned over me as I laid there and said “I am so sorry. We have tried everything and we can’t get back to sleep.”
Just as he finished his sentence, the power shut off. In my head the countdown began anew 3-2-1. I don’t think I even got to three. Drew burst into the room with such force, the pictures on my dresser shook which prompted Reed to ask if we were having another earthquake.
This new possibility was too much for Drew to bear. No matter how many times I explained that everything always shook when they ran around upstairs–and was precisely why I incessantly asked them to stop– Drew looked unconvinced. Mother Nature was really starting to get on my nerves. I am a decent person that just wants to sleep through the night. Yet ever since the earthquake a few days before , the kids popped up every time a truck rumbled down the street.
I have to admit, though, that Mac has either turned into a true teenager who sleeps through anything or is in early training to be a husband who sleeps soundly while the house is in utter chaos around him. At least someone was getting some sleep.
I finally offered Reed and Drew the chance to sleep in our room. This is a rarity in our house usually reserved for high fevers or slumber parties while Mark traveled. This was touted as a historic storm so unprecedented actions were to be expected. Since the power outage had proven brief, Drew returned to his room. Reed ran to get his pillow and was back in record time. You didn’t have to ask him twice.
I was headed for the couch downstairs will my pillow under my arm, my cell phone and a flashlight I had stowed next to the bed. Once I laid on the couch, I was left to analyze a whole new set of noises that thundered through the front of the house. Branches scraped the windows and our door mat was catapulted against the fence.
So, I turned on the television to block out this new surge of noise. I knew Jim, Doreen and the gang would still be on-air to greet me. The time on the NBC logo read 3:17am. That meant that I had been awake for approximately two and a half hours.
I soon learned that the storm has already passed over Ocean City and we were seeing the worst of it now and the effects would diminish as dawn approached. I heard Drew stumbling around. I guessed, correctly I later learned, that he had grown tired of being on his own and tried to squeeze into bed with Reed and Mark. Having no luck there, he then moved on to Mac’s room. His footsteps confirmed his failure there as well and like Goldilocks he retreated to the only bed that fit. His own.
Once I decided he was settled in for good some forty-five minutes later, I let sleep take me. When I awoke a mere two hours later, the storm had moved on leaving intermittent showers in its wake. Knowing Mac had to altar serve at an early Mass, I stood up to make coffee. As I shuffled to the coffee maker I realized it may not have been the storm of the century but it had certainly taken its toll on me.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Traci
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 03:17:35

    Poor YOU!! I was one of the lucky ones. DEL actually slept through it, which is a rare, rare moment!

    Coffee soon????


    • milesofstiles
      Aug 31, 2011 @ 16:22:48

      I haven’t slept thru the night in forever, so I am used to it. I am not in the office on Thursdays so any Thursday morning is great!


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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