Wowzers what a weekend.
I'm sure you've heard about the storm front that hit the area on Friday. Right? The ol' June 29th storm that came after the ol June 28th Heat Wave Of Doom? You know, that local heat wave for the D.C. area?
hooo boy. They are not kidding, kids. It was pretty big.
The storm landed with a woosh and alllll of the trees outside our apartment doing their best lambada and limbo dances to the tune of an 82mph gust of wind. This gust, of course, preceeded the rain.
The rain, you guys.
I'm from Colorado. I'm not used to rain like this. We get big storms, yeah. No worries. It's not like I'm from Death Valley or anything... but the rain? you guys? This rain stomped through the neighborhood like an insulted eight year old. It raged around the entire city with fits and torrents and clenched fists and slamming doors and some very very rude language. I can assure you. This was an angry storm, you guys. Not like the wild-rides of light and frenzied H2O-based whoop-ass we get back home where things are presently bursting into flame as we speak. There was no fun to this storm. It was all rage. All fear. All mad.
The rain hit us like a Mack-truck, kids. And it did Not. Let. Up. Not for about 45 minutes... during which the lights flickered, a constant blitz of thunderless lightening sparkled across the turbulent skies, sirens blazed, and at least two of the yugo-style cars parked in the street got shifted around from their original parking location.
STRONG WINDS, is what I'm saying here. Rain so thick it had nowhere to run off to so it ended up streaming about three inches thick down our generously sloped exit-ramp. We're on the second floor, so we had no flooding and we're on the far side of the building so our windows barely rattled. Our power came back on at the end of it all and we finished watching our movie and all was well.
When about 300,000 of my closest neighbors woke up without power. Or air conditioning. Or phones. On a Saturday morning that was destined to reach triple digits before noon.
Grim, kids. It was grim out there. And our friends were out there in it. My most treasured supergal and her husband, in fact, were stranded and out of gas in a town where even now - sunday night - there are hundreds of useless traffic lights, disfunctional gas stations, and unbelieve-ably "salad" covered city streets which were also otherwise brimming with all sorts of detritus and debris and stumps and stems and fences and whatnot-ery.
So since my most adored supergal is happily gestating, and since 85 degree heat in an apartment full of roughly 10,000% humidity is pretty much not condusive to a great weekend or a healthy night's sleep... we immediately drove up there with some spare gas and lots of ice. We reached their apartment with hugs and fresh, cold water, to claim them and bring them to safety. It was our honor, our pleasure, and our duty to do it. And It continues to be our honor and our pleasure to keep the spare room open to them through this mess for as long as they need our electricity, our internet service, our viable gas stations, our air conditioning, our hot water, our lovely refrigerator and our cable t.v. These things, my beloved minions, alongside these most treasured friends of mine, make me the most wealthy person on the planet tonight and I know it down to my last fiber.
We're all four of us quite happy now, well cooled and well fed and well rested. The rest of the Virginia-to-Maryland area... rather distinctly less so. (How can it be that even the pizza place we ordered lunch/dinner from had only JUST finished baking our order when their power went back out again? I think we all know the answer to this.) Even supergal's geriatric cat is weathering the storm nicely. She's left behind, of course, but don't fear for her safety. That kitty is just adoring her dark, superheated apartment (which at last check hadn't gotten above 85) and we're confident that her arthritic hips and gentle cough have never felt better. She has lots of fresh water to drink, lots of food to eat, lots of hard flat surfaces to sleep on and she's utterly content with the state of things. So no worries there. The bathtub is full of water too, and the bathroom has a spectacular chill to it.
The weekend felt pretty much like an extended vacation for us, actually. Sleepover, food, games, chit-chat and movies. Lots of down time at the homestead, you know? Sure, we can't buy any fresh meat or dairy products for another week or so (stores' refrigerator sections are out for about a forty mile radius) but by the gods we have fruit and veggies and lots of good food in our larders on hand for JUST such an occasion.
Now, the night before we consider going back to work... sirens are still hurrying from here to there. Announcements are going out on t.v. about this or that summer school, this or that cooling center open to the public, this or that level of government or civil service to be reporting for this or that level of duty.
Tomorrow, ye gods, is going to suck.
The commute (on the train) is going to be dreadful. Weekend trackwork was surely delayed, and if the trains are on time, it's occupants will be in no condition to enjoy the ride. Solid bet that the only washing people have done in this heat in the last three days has been in cold water, if any, and rendered useless by about fifteen paces from their home/vehicle. Laundry won't have been done. Children won't have been accounted for. Meals will have been missed or (worse yet) eaten on a hope and a prayer that they got to the food before it spoiled. People who need to know things won't. The self-important and constantly informed will be starving for both attention and information. The shy and lost will fail to find any normalcy into which they can blend and will therefore get into everyone's confused, sweaty way.
And then we'll have to get off the train and sludge into our buildings to see if power has been restored, if the servers are therefore working, and if the systems suffered any lasting damage.
And then there will be the laundry list of missed calls, unreplied-to emails, annoyed clients and unhappy altercations.
There will be tears, I'm afraid.
And yet, in the middle of it all - MY home was barely kissed by the storm. Seriously, my potted gardens on the deck out there warranted hardly a passing glance from the titanic wrath that played out but eight feet beyond our grasp.
Not only was I lucky enough to come through with power et.al... I was lucky enough to have the privilege to offer my shelter to two of the most important people I know (two and a half of them).
I can't explain it. I won't begin to try.
But I love it so much. And no matter what tomorrow brings, I'll endeavor to remember how truly lucky I really am... and how before I even wake up tomorrow morning I'll be miles ahead of nearly every other person I run into tomorrow.