Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Storm Watch 2009 (shutup)
Some of you guys are going to read this and roll your eyes and think "OMG that California chick is such a candyass" (you know who you are).
It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.
Yesterday we had our first big storm of the season.
I've noticed that northern California is like that. We get one really good storm right up front, but then the weather goes back to nice for a few weeks and you're all "WTF?". Or you get one really big storm right up front, and then you get one milder storm after another for a month or two. That one really good storm usually causes a lot of damage, because nobody is really ready for how hard it hits. I think everyone's all "Oh, yay, it's going to rain, yay, fall!" And then about halfway through the day (because it's almost always just a day. Maybe two), we're looking out windows and asking each other "Holy shit, was that Dorothy's house that just went by?"
I don't know, I've never lived anywhere else, so I don't know if this is how that first big storm goes down elsewhere, or if this is just part of the California charm.
Anyway, the first big storm of the season bodyslammed us starting Monday night. I didn't think anything of it, other than "yay, rain!", because, you know, it rained all night and everything was how you'd expect it. A neighbor's portable basketball hoop fell into street, and there was that couch in the road. You know. the usual. Then it just kept raining and the wind was blowing, but, still, I didn't really think anything of it. We were snug as bugs in the house and everything was peachy.
Until the power went out.
It was about time to leave to pick MonkeySee up from high school, so we just kind of shrugged at each other and bundled off to pick him up. We figured we'd have early dinner, grab a couple necessities at the store, and then head back home. Everything would be back on by then, right? We usually lose power at least once during the storm season. Partly the joys of owning an older house in an older neighborhood, and partly the joys of our particular area, geographically, being one of the harder hit areas, storm-wise, in our region. Something about where we are just makes all the big storms congregate and hang out in our 'hood. It's like a party!
Oh, I should digress here for a moment to tell you about the palm trees. Our Bad Neighbors across the street have these two really tall palm trees. Every time we have a big storm (or even just strong winds), we eyeball those palm trees and wonder if this is The One that's going to bring them down. Now, I understand that palm trees generally withstand hurricane-force storms, so it's not palm trees in generally that freak me out during storms. It's these palm trees in particular.
See, the guy who owns the place (we'll call him "Ron") bought it from his parents, and actually grew up in the house. When he was 18, he set the palm trees on fire with bottle rockets (illegal), and was told that they were too top-heavy and needed to come down. Since then, Ron & the Missus have never had anyone even go up there to trim down the dead palm fronds, much less just cut the trees down. They're in their 40's now, so you can do the math on how long those trees have kept growing after they were told to cut them down.
I go outside to put something in the van and those trees are just swaying for all their worth, which is pretty normal for winds this fast, right? But then they were creaking with each sway. A really loud, kind of scary creaking. The front palm also had a distinct bend about halfway up the trunk. I quickly called Neighbor and asked if I could park our van on her parking pad, because she lives two houses down from us and out of the range of a falling palm tree. Oh, right. If either of those palm trees falls, it's coming down on Bad Neighbor's house, their next door neighbor's house (a World War 2 veteran and his wife), or our vans. I'm almost positive neither is tall enough to reach our house without the aid of some storm-throwing. So I moved one van, and we drove off in the other van.
The palms were still upright when I left this morning.
Back to our original story...
We left and we were gone for a couple of hours, doing our various things. Neighbor checked in with us here and there. Apparently the power had come back on at some point, but then went out again just after 5pm. We dawdled as long as we could, including touring the neighborhood to survey the damage, but, eventually, we had to go home.
To our dark house.
Our really, really dark house.
Did I mention it was dark?
We set candles to light and thanked SweetPea's foresight in swapping out her electric water heater for a gas one all those years ago. And then we started remembering things. Like the laundry I'd planned on washing when I got home (oops). That thing my doctor gave me to keep me breathing at night? That runs on electricity? Oh, and did I mention about how I'm on my period and I use cloth pads?
And that, after five days off, I had to go back to work the next day. And I wouldn't be able to go to the gym because I hadn't washed my gym clothes and, also, because then who would wake MonkeySee up since his alarm clock clearly wasn't going to do it for him. And nobody could make breakfast because there was no electricity to cook with and, also, because there was no opening of the refrigerator.
But that's all ok, right, because we live in The City and it's a new day and all that mess and that means all of the storm nonsense like flooded streets and downed trees and lack of power are going away because we live in The City where we pay people to take care of this shit, right?
Except that I just called the house and the answering machine didn't come on. Do you know what that means? That's right. We've still got no power.
Good-bye brand new groceries!
On the plus side, we've got a gas water heater and it's not very cold. Even if it was, we also have a gas heater, so at least we'd be warm (maybe) if it was that cold.
And all of this means that this morning I was standing in MalWart this morning starting at rack after rack of disposable pads and all I could think was:
I mean, really? You just don't give a woman like me that many choices. You just don't. And, if you're big fat going to anyway, you have to put one of each variety out on display so I can actually see it. Because there is no way for my brain to make sense of those stupid descriptions and those damn illustrations and all I can really think is "Who the fuck wears thongs when they're on the rag?!?"
Honestly, I think this might have been the longest, most messed up vacation from work I've ever had.
I didn't even tell you the best part about our outing yesterday.
We had just picked MonkeySee up from school, and were driving away towards... Well... Not the school. We got to that part of the street where there are still kids walking here and there, but most of the parents have turned off and there aren't a lot of cars anymore.
There are these two kids walking on the other side of the street. They're minding their beeswax and just trying to get home before Noah tells them to get in the Ark. Then this asshole in a little black Toyota coupe thing comes whipping around the corner, and then dives into the gutter on purpose and sends a wall of water up and over the kids.
SweetPea flipped out.
She stopped in the middle of the road, dumbfounded, jaw hanging and then snapped her mouth shut, whipped the van around and started chasing the Toyota.
She chased that little black Toyota through the neighborhood until he pulled in to the parking lot of an elementary school and stopped. She pulled up next to him, rolled the window down and, when he got out of the car, started bawling his ass out.
She went off on him large and she was pissed and she meant it. And dude's little girlfriend sat wide eyed in the car and locked the doors like "You're on your own, dude, good luck!"
I don't think I have ever seen SweetPea that angry. Ever.
After she drove off, it took her a few minutes to calm down again. She was just so angry that anyone would do something like that and just act so flip about it. What would have happened if that ass had hit the puddle and lost control? Or if there was something in that puddle that he kicked up and hit one of the kids with? Just doing it at all is totally uncalled for, but thinking about all the things that could have happened... OMG!
So I'm whiney about my power being out, still, but my wife is a badass. So I guess it's ok.