Monday, July 2, 2012
The Right Place at the Right Time
DC and environs suffered a storm of Biblical proportions last Friday night. As I snuggled into my comfy king-sized bed, I heard howling akin to a hurricane, and not of a tame variety.
The Bradford Pear whose limbs hang low in its overburdened majesty over my garage and master bedroom began to shake, rattle and roll. At one point, I thought the tree was moaning. Rain, then hail, then a torrential downpour thundered on our roof. One last moan from the Bradford and the power went out. Vanquished, without a word.
While I'm used to hurricanes - of both the meteorological and political variety - marching through town, I haven't heard a sound like this since Hurricane Bertha knocked on our front door and practically invited herself in in the summer of 1996.
Since the power lines in our neck of the 'hood are buried far underground, I knew we'd return to the status quo by morning. I grabbed my cellie and set the alarm for 4 a.m.
When my phone chirped Saturday morning, I did a little moaning myself. I got up, showered, grabbed my gear and headed out on the open road. To Northeast Wisconsin, to be precise. I planned to make it - Chicago be damned - in one gallant push of 15 hours, give or take a nanosecond.
I rolled into town and up to Ella Numera Dos' door about 7 p.m., her time. The DC Beltway had been uneventful. The Maryland mountains around Camp David featured minimal fog. The Pennsylvania Turnpike had been kind, this time. I cursed I-80, through the endless parade of rest stops in Ohio and Indiana. I had to exercise my mad downshifting skills - yes, Big Blue features manual transition - when I hit Chi Town. The road to north to Wisco was smooth sailing, for the most part.
I generally dread this drive, and have never made it by myself. Mr. Fairway, in fact, ridiculed my decision to haul various sundries - including my Mom's everyday plates, saucers, cups and whatnot - out to the kid via car instead of paying to pack and ship them. But he was singing a different tune this afternoon, when the power finally came back on, three days into his ordeal.
He suffered through 100-degree days with no AC, sleeping on a futon in the basement. The koi in my neighbor's ornamental pond died, and he fished them out, bagged them, and set them out for the garbage guy. The AC in Mr. Fairway's car even crapped out. He was decidedly not a happy camper.
"You should stay out there a couple days more," Mr. F. advised, when it looked like the power would not be up and running until next Friday, at the earliest. "I wish I'd made that drive with you."
So, as I sit out here on my daughter's apartment balcony, enjoying the relatively sane temps of a Wisconsin evening, I'm comfortable, relaxed, and feeling vindicated for my choices.
The Great American Silo Tour features endless miles of sameness. But now bullfrogs chortle in the nearby lake, competing with the traffic noise out on the highway, and I think I will make a week of it.
That AC compressor revving itself up every 10 minutes or so next to the building, by golly, is music to my ears.