Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blackouts and lightning and tornados, oh my!

So yesterday was my day off, and I needed it.  All this travel/wedding planning and at work screw-ups had me strung tighter than CM's anal sphincter; I woke up with a general feeling of unease, had a panick attack, tried to call MM at work: no answer; tried to call her on her cell: no answer.  Tried and tried and tried for the better part of an hour when I got this text: "Busy.  What do you need?"  It seemed ominous, like pre-termination coldness, so the panick attack resumed as I threw on clothes and drove like a screaming banshee to work (remember, today's my day off and I'm going to work.  I am an idiot.).  When I got there, MM was having a nice chat on the work line with her sister about all the crap going on between her and PBM, so when I burst in, panicky, eyes wild, she laughed at me for being a complete idiot and told me to get the hell out of there and to my noon massage appointment.

Oh, have I told you about the Maureen?  She's a godsend.  In January I'd been having some serious problems with my back when Dave finally convinced me to do something about it.  I have terrible posture from a childhood/adolescence/young adulthood (seriously, until I was 21) being extremely overweight (I'm 5'6" and, at my heaviest Christmas of 2002, my freshman year at college, I weighed 256lbs).  'Nuff said, I still have the posture of a morbidly obese 16yr old.  So I break down, give in, and call the local massage school for an appointment.  I knew I wanted an instructor to do it, and since it's only an additional $15 an hour for someone completely trained, I went for Maureen.  So I went in, and Maureen is a totally gorgeous brunette (according to Dave, who likes to make me admit (in order to keep his vision of what a massage is) that of course we make out the whole time) who is the nicest human being on the planet.  Needless to say, she fixed my posture and I've been going back every two weeks ever since.

Yesterday I walked in all wild-eyed, five minutes late for my appointment (and I'm chronically early); Maureen grabbed me and all but dragged my gloomy ass down to the Outer Banks (sidenote: each massage room is a different location around the world, and they play music according to the locale.  Usually I'm in Ireland, because Maureen knows I like the horses and the Celtic instrumentals.  I've also been in London, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, L.A. and Sydney.).  I didn't even have to tell her I was stressed out beyond control, which is always nice; we've had about 15 massages together at this point, so she can pretty much read my body language about what I'm feeling.  Asked if my ear was completely healed from my traumatic Royal Wedding experience (it finally is) and whether or not my right rotator cuff is still giving me grief (I somehow tore it playing football in Cancun, and aggravated it beyond belief by playing football/fishnet catch at our company picnic's olympics).  And then I fell asleep.  Three times.  And got my face massaged, which is seriously my favourite part of the massage.  So, completely relaxed and feeling good, I headed out to the grocery store to pick up essentials for the trip (I'm boycotting fast food stops, so I'm packing healthy sandwiches and snacks that we can eat at a rest stop tomorrow and on the Old Main lawn on Saturday) and some soup/yummies for me, since Dave was on long shift until 9pm and wasn't likely to come home for dinner.

And then I went home.  I knew there was a storm coming because I could smell it, but there wasn't anything odd about the storm clouds gathering on the western horizon.  I unpacked my groceries, started some laundry, ran and fed the dogs, and communicated to Dave via text message about what I'd bought and whether or not I was feeling better.  My phone was dying (probably owing to the 700 calls I made to work before 11am), so I plugged it in, vacuumed, watered the tomatoes and the bushes we just planted out front, and switched out the laundry so I could begin packing us up.

That's just about when I heard the back screen door practically torn from the house by wind, and caught sight of our backyard with the 30ft tall oak practically sideways in the wind.  Okay, bigger storm than I thought.  I ran downstairs and onto the front porch, where I noticed that the clouds were definitely the harbingers of doom and likely to produce something that would murder me and my dogs, so I wrenched closed the front screen and locked it, double bolted the heavy front door, did the same out back, closed the fireplace flue and the oven vents, and locked all the windows.  As I was returning downstairs from securing our bedroom, the rain and hail began, but with the wind whipping around the hail sounded like bullets as they struck the side of the house.  I ran to the front windows and was treated by the image of shingles ripping from roofs and siding being torn from the homes down the street.  Thankfully, none of the siding ended up on/in my car this time, but some others weren't so lucky.  Morrison was cowering at my feet, and I finally found Cobain shaking inside her car carrier, curled up with her security blanket and her busy bee.  I gathered them up and was just about to chuck them into our downstairs bathroom (no windows, first floor, doubly reinforced by staircase, etc.) when I heard what sounded like approaching train engines.  I grabbed my phone, dragged Morrison into the bath, threw Cobain into the bath, and ran to grab my cell phone just as the power went out, my phone died, and I heard sirens begin on the main road.  Five minutes later, I tentatively left the dogs in the bathroom to check the damage.  Backyard was intact, tree was... worse for the wear and missing some large branches which had dropped on our fence and in our yard, but the fence wasn't damaged, nor our storage shed either, so it seemed okay.  Ran out front to check the house and my car: no dents or dings on the car from either the hail or the tornado/surge that had passed through, but I could hear the transformers at the end of the road hissing and popping as they fizzled; our neighbors were out, checking their homes too, and as I secured a partially torn out shrub and relocated the wicker loveseat from my neighbor's yard to our porch, I came to the conclusion that we came out lucky.  No damage to the siding, the fencing, the roof, the porch awning, or my car.  The sideyard was a mess, as was the street, and my car was plastered with wet leaves, but we were okay.  However, I had no way to call either Dave or Mom to tell them I was okay, so after setting up candles to light when I returned, I hopped into my car to drive to Dave's work.  He only works about ten minutes from the house, as do I, but it took forty-five minutes just to get out of the neighborhood, owing to accidents, flooding, and downed trees.  Once I got out, every street light (including those at Town Center) were out, and accidents were everywhere.  Dave's dealership had no power, no phone lines, and was suffering a good deal of damage done by the sales tent rigging on the new cars they were "protecting."  Dave and I verified that we were both okay, and mutually decided that if the power couldn't be restored by the evening, we'd get a hotel for the night.

Which was easier said than done.  The house was rapidly heating up, thanks to no a/c and a super hot (and now muggy) day.  The dogs were panting, I was sweating, and every hotel I called within 20 miles was either booked, charging insane amounts because demand was suddenly high, or the line was dead/busy every time I tried.  Finally, Dave was able to get ahold of a Motel 6 up the street which allowed pets, so we charged inside, grabbed changes of clothing and the rum, hooked up the dogs, and away we went.  Fifteen minutes later, we were chillaxing in room #231, watching Glee and waiting for dinner to arrive from our favourite local restaurant.

This morning, just before check-out, Dave ran home to check on the power.  Thank Dominion, it was on again.  He came back, we all piled back into the car, and we headed home.  He took the dogs for a quick haircut, I began the tedious process of unloading everything we'd thrown together, putting all the snacks and leftovers away, gathering up the dogs' toys and bowls and beds for the trip, restarting the laundry I had never finished, cleaning up the kitchen after the previous night's ransacking, and just in general attempting to clean up.  Now it's 4:45pm, I have another hour and fifteen minutes before I'm done with my half-day of work, and I still have to stop for dinner tonight, finish the laundry and the packing, pack the car, double-check for missing items, wrap the Christmas presents I never got to my parents and brother, because I was too sick to go home, and locate a decent book on tape for Dave and I to listen to, because I just can't listen to five hours of talk radio tomorrow.  I was going to go out and have my hair done, but that's just not in the cards for today.  Maybe I'll find a local place in PA tomorrow and get that done while Dave is at the rehearsal.  Who knows?

My dress from Rent the Runway is supposed to be delivered here at work by the end of the business day today, and if it doesn't come soon I am going to have a shit fit.  I will wear Badgley Mischka to this wedding if I have to kill the UPS guy.  According to, while the dresses are scheduled for delivery "by the end of the business day today," that could be at any time up to, and including, 7pm.  We close at 6pm.  If the dress isn't here by 6pm, I am absolutely going to lose it.  I have to get to the grocery store to get food for dinner, finish the laundry, finish the packing, clean the kitchen, clean up/pick up the living room, put all the candles away, confirm the hotel for this weekend, make/pack the food for the trip tomorrow, dose the dogs with dramamine, gather bags and paper towels for the inevitable 16 times the dogs will vomit on the trip... and while Dave texted me not an hour ago telling me that nothing was going on at work and he was planning to leave early, I just got the call that the internet and phone lines were functioning at the dealership again, and though he'd been planning on coming home early to help me, he was now going to "stick around and make some calls, just to see if I can get some of my ups in over the weekend with other guys so I make at least half commission."  Well great Dave, you do that.  You come home, "maybe not at six, maybe around six-thirty."  Which, I have sadly come to learn, means "I'll be leaving ten minutes before the actual close of business at 9pm tonight.  You'd better save dinner for me until then.  Oh, and I'll claim that I want to help, but I'll make so many sighing noises about how tired I am after I flop down to eat the dinner you shopped for and you made, all while doing laundry and folding my clothes and packing my suitcase and cleaning the house and running/feeding the dogs that you'll never ask for any help... so when I offer to pack the car and you agree, simply because you're exhausted because, while I woke up, carried a few bags to the car, and transported the dogs for their haircuts before I went and sat on my ass at work (remember, it's 5pm and the phones/internet just came back!), you got up, packed the hotel room, dragged two angry little dogs downstairs, loaded the car, unloaded the car, put away the leftovers and snacks, started the laundry, started the dishwasher, packed the nonperishables for tomorrow, put all the drinks in the fridge, changed out the laundry, folded the laundry, got out the suitcases, began packing, unloaded the dishwasher, fed and watered the dogs, switched out the laundry, folded the laundry, continued packing, took a quick bath, got dressed for work, ran to work at 2pm, worked until 6pm, stopped at the store for dinner, put away groceries, made dinner, switched out the laundry, folded the laundry, continued packing, cleaned the kitchen, straightened up the living room, ran the dogs, finished the laundry, finished packing, stowed the suitcases in the hall, hung up all your dress shirts, hung up my dresses, stowed them in the hall closet, made a book on tape cd, and vacuumed, you're the one who will bring up the fact that "I helped" by packing the car in every fight we have for the next month about how little you do to help around the house.  But thanks for carrying everything outside.  You're a gem.

It's enough to make any woman want to throw back her head and scream, "WHY IN GOD'S NAME DO YOU NOT SEE HOW LITTLE YOU DO?  HOW MUCH I DO?!  WHY I'M SO ANGRY WHEN YOU PULL THIS CRAP EVERY SINGLE TIME WE HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE?!"  I mean, this is his best friend's wedding.  He should have to do more than pack the car and get wasted with his buddies... but no, it's all my responsibility.  As usual.  Why do I believe him when he says he's going to "try harder"?  Why do I trust him when he says he'll change?  I'm an idiot.