The first real spring storm arrived in the river valley yesterday afternoon, bringing with it power outages and damage all over town. Having no electricity, I decided to chronicle what was going on in my trusty notebook.
4:00pm Working on a READ poster where the lady’s gray hair matches the green backdrop so closely it makes my eyes cross
4:03pm Power is flickering on and off. That’s a new and interesting development.
4:04pm Hm. The power has gone off completely and the security lighting has kicked in. Time to go into crisis mode and check for patrons in the elevator and to account for all employees and public people.
4:16pm Luckily no one is in the elevator it’s just dinging insistently for some unknown reason. Only one patron is left in the library and we decided to go ahead and lock the doors.
4:20pm The storm worsens and the electric company is telling us at least 45 minutes before they can get a truck our direction. I don my rain coat and grab an umbrella to help the last remaining patron get to his truck. He is walking with a cane and I’m terrified he’s going to slip and fall with the ankle deep currents and heavy winds. I get him safely to his truck and trudge back inside, drenched from head to toe.
4:35pm The novelty of camping out in the library has worn off for everyone and it’s getting damn hot in here. I help the student worker shelve books just to pass the time as she bubbles on about her upcoming prom night.
4:59pm The electric company has now informed us it will be another hour and half before they can arrive. At the same time, we learn that a tornado watch has been issued and massive damage has been reported in the two outlying communities nearest our town. If we have to continue listening to the dinging elevator alarm and the other less intense but equally annoying air circulation warning tones we may start throwing things. Common sense finally prevails and we are officially closing for the day.
5:04pm Signs posted, everything locked tight and its time to go. Just as I’m walking through the now calf deep rain a truck pulls up and a lady demands I take her books because they are due today. I explain the power is out we can’t check them in and she proceeds to get very cranky and demonstrates her knowledge of colorful language. I tell her to just put them in the book drop and she says "but it’s raining!" It takes all my composure not to spout off about how I’m standing in the rain while she grouses in her nice warm truck. The drop, I should note, is a drive up one. She never has to leave her vehicle. I suppose I should respect her love of books and wanting to protect them from the cold rain but while it’s pelting through my clothes and stinging my skin I just can’t garner the energy.
5:11pm Finally in the truck and on my way home. My clock hasn’t been reset in the vehicle so it still says 4:11 and for a brief moment I panic that my timeline is completely screwy. Then I feel like an idiot and move on.
6:29pm My twenty minute drive home took over an hour. At every curve in the road I was faced with downed power lines, electric trucks and fallen trees. News on the radio says things are getting worse and one of our 911 dispatchers was apparently mauled by a tree. I make a note to give the radio station a copy of the big red book of awesome (aka the Synonym Finder) or maybe just a dictionary would suffice. Time to fed the animals and get Gracie settled…it looks like it’s going to be a long night.
6:30pm Oh, hey, no power here either. Lovely.
6:47pm Oops, false alarm.
7:30pm Reasons you should not own a Prius (or Prius like) vehicle in the river valley: (1) you look like a schmuck; (2) when it floods (as it does every spring) you will have to be fished out of it because you were idiotic enough to think it could make it through that "puddle" which reinforces that you might be a schmuck; and, finally, (3) you have to beg your neighbors to take you to the store for storm supplies because not only did you forget to buy them but now your neon green piece of crap is stuck in your yard and you can’t go anywhere and you think it appropriate for your neighbors to risk their lives in the weather so you can have a galloon of milk which proves with 100% certainty that you are a schmuck.
8:02pm Sighs. Waiting in the crashing lightning and sideways rain for the neighbor to get his damn milk. I’m such a schmuck.
"Where’s the ice?"
"What ice? It’s cold, I don’t need ice."
"How are you going to keep all that stuff cold?" I ponder out loud
(wait for it….)
"In the fridge," said with the greatest of condescension
"There’s no power."
(several silent minutes pass…)
"I’ll be right back."
9:37pm Having realize I hadn’t eaten all day I dug out the camping stove and warmed up some Chicken and Stars soup. I’d forgotten how greasy tinned soups are…how do my kids stomach this stuff? Time for a cup of hot tea, some leftover biscuits and jam and a mediocre book by candlelight. I feel so Laura Ingalls Wilder-ish.
11:37pm At some point near chapter 31 I fell asleep and am now being awoken to pounding on my door. Dazed, I glance around- still no power, Gracie barking like mad, candle still burning unattended (such a rebel, I am) and bad kitty is sitting on my tummy looking all the part of an evil black cat sent to steal my breath while I sleep. A knock on the door at this hour can’t be good.