Monday, December 22, 2008

My mom and dad had no power. Kevin had no power. Edith had no power. Mandy at Village of Coventry did have power but Charlene, Michael, Janet, and Luana at a nearby complex had no power. Don from GEN and John from GEN, both in my neighborhood, have no power.

Kevin, at his worst, informs me his house is down to 50 degrees inside, while Dad returns from checking their house and says it is 27. What a difference insulation makes.

On Mom's block, only those industrious neighbors Patti and Bill have stayed to keep the neighborhood safe. They have a gas fireplace and have been snuggling on the couch, making coffee, eating out.

In my bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room, you can hear twigs breaking, ice tinkling down like music, the wind thrashing things about, the electrical wires swaying stiffly, and occasionally something hitting the house.

I heard I&M would have power back up by Sunday. I heard power would be back up by Wednesday.

The library is still open as a place where people who don't have power can at least go to stay warm. But what about employees who don't have power and need to wash their laundry, iron their clothes, curl their hair, find a warm place to drop off their kids... What about the people who live on blocks that are taped off because live electrical wires are down the middle of the street?

What about people like me, who are playing host to friends and family - I have two cats locked in the bathroom, who hiss at the two cats in the hall, one of which insists upon sticking his little brown toes under the door. I have my dog and mom and dad's dog racing through the house, chewing on one another, barking, whining, sleeping, scrounging for food, apparently bring fed paper towels which they later throw up on my living room floor - twice, and trying to chase kittens who wander downstairs for their nightly snuggles.

Mom is staying in my bed, where she stayed Thursday night because the ice storm was coming and she didn't want to drive over in the morning on ice. We had taken Friday off to make cookies and candy to take to work, give to our neighbors, and give to my friends when they came over Saturday for our December get-together. We work without Christmas music this year because we can still hear things falling outside and we don't want our happy music to be cut off by electric failure. We start the peanut butter balls,and date swirls Thursday night, and on Friday we bake date swirls and make lemon fudge, orange dream cookies, oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies, and lemon pecan bonbons. We decided to go out and get lunch and pick up a couple ingredients we didn't have, so we went to Southgate to Kroger's, but they had no power. We went across the street to Scott's, who DID have power, and ran into a great number of Fort Waynians. I wanted to take fabulous photos of ice and Mom wanted to check with dad and see how he was doing. Dad is fine. It's dark and cold and the animals are driving him crazy. Mom will male him a tv dinner and bring it back to him.

After our illuminating journey outside, we make fudge. I have decided the get-together shall not commence because roads are slush and starting to freeze back into ice, because Chelle and Roger have a long drive and can't stay, because Matty can't come, I haven't heard from Katie or Mandy, and Lisa and Wil were going dancing. Plus, it looks like Mom will be staying with me because they do not have power at her house. I send out the message.

Mom and I take a rest. I work on making a Christmas gift. Mom watches The Weather Channel and does laundry. Edith calls around 8pm and says she is bored and it's dark. She has four candles. She works tomorrow and is not too concerned about the heat, she says when I ask if she wants to come stay with me. We talk for a bit and then she needs to go so she doesn't use up her cell battery. Mom and I go to bed, she to my big king upstairs, me to the couch where I toss and turn and am plagued by restless legs syndrome.

Saturday morning. Mom gets up and after promising she will be quiet, proceeds to make coffee, talk to Logan, set off the alarm on the back door, move pots and pans around, and turn the tv on. I go upstairs to my bed and fall asleep for about 4 hours, then play some Tetris until Mom comes to tell me we need to make icings and she wants to go to the store again.

Kevin calls. His house is at 60 degrees and he's freezing and cranky and has sore muscles. His mom has been whining about the cold and his brother Ken calls and says Mom should go to Ken's house, where they have electricity. Mom doesn't want Kevin to drive his car. Can Ken pick her up? Ken calls back later. The roads are really bad and it is out of his way to get her after work, so can Kevin drive her over? She doesn't want Kevin to drive his car and besides, they can't get it out of the garage and the alley is unpassable. Kevin says the alley is fine and they have not tried to get anything out of the garage. Ken picks up mom and tells Kevin he drove down the alley and it was fine. They drive away with mom and Kevin has some much-desired alone time, though, as he says, it is cold and dark.

Mom returns with groceries. Apparently we might starve. Homemade pizza fixings for lunch, meatloaf for dinner tomorrow, mini cakes for dessert, ingredients for our contributions to the Dunn Family Dinner on the 24th, snacks, fresh fruit, pop, milk, cocoa, coffee... I am called out of bed to come put the groceries away.

Around 2pm, Dad comes over with Asia. He is grumpy. It's too dark to see to paint. The cats are following him around. The house is down to 47 degrees. He doesn't know if he can make it. Mom and I try to persuade him he does not need to stay there, that he can come be with us and it will all be all right. He wrestles with his guilt. He says he will leave Asia with us, but what about the cats, the cats? They follow him with great big wild eyes, looking crazy, sitting on his feet. We can bring the cats over. No, no, they won't be happy here. Dad leaves. Mom goes to get the cats. I make an impromptu litter box out of the lid of another litter box and put some litter inside and a rug in front. I take my cats' food and grass to the computer room. Dogs, barred from coming upstairs by our makeshift baby gate, a three-step stool, whine and whimper.

Mom returns with cats. We take them to the bathroom. Lucky seems to weigh about 30 lbs. Sophie's eyes are indeed wide and nutty. She meows and hisses and growls at me while I pet her. Outside, Dylan is curious and sticks his little brown paws under the door. Oona takes a nap, seeming oblivious to the fact that strange cats have entered her home.

At 3:30, Patti calls to say Dad wants Mom to pick him up at 4:30. At 4:00, Bill calls to say Dad has started walking and will be walking on Fairfield. Mom goes to get him. Dad has a book with him and a lot of talking to do. I work on Christmas projects. Mom makes caramels and icing and I ice cookies.

Dad whines that he wants to smoke a cigarette and not have to go out in the cold to do it. At least when he was home, he could smoke in the warmth in his garage, but then he couldn't see to paint because there was no light. Dad is staying in the guest room but hates the bed, which he can't get comfortable in because it has a footboard and he doesn't like footboards. But it's a nice, peaceful room (which will later have to be aired out to remove the cigarette smell that exists like a billowing cocoon around his body, whether he has had a cigarette recently or not.)

Dad needs to know how to operate the light switch in the guest room and wants to know how he will find his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, not that he expects to have to go then. I tell him I will leave the hall light on and that sounds fine. Will someone help him keep his cats in the bathroom and my cats in the hall? I tell him he wil just have to learn how to do it himself.

I am on the couch fighting with Logan for space. I get a call from I&M at 11:30 asking if service had been restored fully to my property. Since service had never been lost at my property, I don't know how to respond to their automated system. I remain silent and they hang up on me.

Sunday morning. I tossed and turned all night. The power, around 2am, flickers several times. Logan gets up and starts pacing nervously. He can hear the wind outside and the sounds of branches and ice hitting the house. Asia thinks he wants to play so she follows him around. I roll over and try again to get some sleep. Around 3:30am, the lights go out and stay out for several seconds. We don't have a plan B! The lights come back on. I turn the television off and listen to the wind and rattling clinking things happening outside.

Sometime around 5:00am, I fall asleep. I am awakened by Mom and Dad in the kitchen, so I go upstairs and catch a few hours of rest in my bed. Around 10am I wake and play Tetris. Mom calls me later for lunch. I come downstairs tp discover Dad has brought over his latest project, the building of a geodesic dome out of small wooden triangles. But we cannot jostle the table nor walk too hard in the room because glue is drying, so Mom and I eat on the couch. The dining room table is covered in Dad's stuff. Mom's clothes are all over the bathroom floor, and she doesn't like my selection of 20 bath gels but wants "real soap." Dad cannot find toothpaste. Mom wants to know what kind of shampoo I have. Can she wash her hair in the sink? There's an old Gene Tierney/Ginger Rogers movie on tv. Dad is talking about a book he's reading and complaining about having to go outside to smoke. I stretch out on the couch and fall asleep, hard, until almost 8pm.

We are all settling into bed. Mom will sleep in the guest room with Dad and Asia. I will sleep in my bed with Logan. Kitties race around, play with my jewelry, dump a bowl of something in the computer room. Asia whines on her side of the guest room door. Logan won't lay down unless I hold him down. There is a distinct draft coming through the window by my bed. After chasing cats out and closing the door, then going to clean up a jump/dump accident I take two sleeping pills and go downstairs to the couch. I turn the tv on low and close my eyes.

It's 12:05am and the phone is ringing. I grab it and get the message that mom and dad's house has power again. I call mom on the cell phone she is using for an alarm clock and she tells dad. She says what are we going to do now? I say, sleep until morning.

I hear dad upstairs getting dressed. He opens the door and Asia immediately starts chasing kittens. I get up and start calling her. Dad is going to go take care of the house. He'll warm up his truck and take two loads of stuff out. I have to unlock the doors for him because he does not know how. What will we do about dogs? What about cats? Should he take them now or in the morning? Mom takes Asia upstairs to go to bed to see if any sleep can be had. Dad says she never listens to his opinions anyway. I lock the doors behind him and ask if he is going to call us. He doesdn't think so.

20 minutes later the phone rings. Dad starts giving a blow-by-blow account of items in the house. Mom says we need to try to get some sleep. Dad sighs heavily.

I need a vacation.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Wow Sarai, I can only imagine what that was like for you. I bet all you wanted to do was sleep and have some peace in your house. It's nice you wanted to help your parents though. I hope you feel good about that. That's what family is for, helping when the need is there! poor thing..sheesh...