Monday, September 15, 2008

I don't like Ike

I live in Northeast Ohio. I don't love living here. I really want to live on the east coast. Right on the east coast. Like I could see the ocean out my windows and stroll to the beach whenever I so desired. Since we can't afford to live on the beach, however, I have always comforted myself with the idea that at least we're safe when hurricane season comes around - until last night, that is.

Yesterday was a funny day, weatherwise. Soupy and hot in the morning gave way to sunny and windy (an odd combination) in the early afternoon. Although rain was predicted, we never really had any. Ben and I watched football games on and off throughout the day. I was mostly puzzling out a new knitting pattern, and Ben wandered in and out, as he does. We were really waiting for the Browns-Steelers game to start at 8:00 p.m. I was excited at the idea of watching the game on Sunday Night Football, but, as it turned out, we didn't see a minute of the game.

The wind had really picked up in the early evening, and we could hear small branches from the big, old oak trees surrounding our house hitting the roof and deck. The strong winds made the dogs nervous, and Lucie was either parked on someone's lap or hiding under the coffee table. I was watching the last seconds of the San Diego-Denver game, hoping the Chargers could pull off a last-minute miracle (y'all know how I feel about the Broncos) when the power went out. And flickered and went out. And flickered and went out. And stayed out. And that was pretty much it.

Since it was just past 7:30 it wasn't totally dark out yet, but we could see it soon would be. Ben rounded up candles from around the house and put them on the mantelpiece in front of the mirror, where their light was reflected. I lit candles in the kitchen and bathroom, in case we needed to make forays into those parts of the house. Most importantly, Ben found a transistor radio with batteries that still worked so that we could listen to the football game until the power came back on. That's what I was thinking, anyway. I think Ben knew otherwise.

I called the Ohio Edison hotline around 9:00, but the hours continued to pass with no electricity. We listened to the entire football game on the radio, which was o.k., except for the fact that we had to listen to the incredibly annoying commercials. Did you know that radio commercials are even more annoying than the ones on t.v.? I bet you didn't think that was possible.

We had a myriad of concerns. Of course we had been grocery-shopping earlier in the day, and were concerned about the refrigerator full of food that was gradually warming up. Neither one of us knew how widespread the outage was, and didn't know if we would be expected at work today. We had our cell phones, but for how long? If we couldn't recharge them, we couldn't use them. Fortunately, the temperature had dropped as the hurricane blew in, and we were able to open the windows to the cool, fresh air as the evening progressed with no sign of power being restored.

I had a flashlight and my cell phone on the night stand when I went to bed, and I tried to ignore the dozens of little worries swirling through my mind, in hopes that I could fall asleep. I slept fitfully for a couple of hours, and was actually awake when the power came back on around 2:00 a.m. Only a couple of lights were on in the house, and when the air conditioning and my ceiling fan kicked in, I was able to fall soundly asleep for the rest of the night. We had been without power for about six and a half hours.

Okay, I know I am lucky compared to the people living in Southeast Texas, but that is exactly my point. I don't live on the coast, and one of the few benefits of that is not having to worry about hurricanes and the woes associated with them. Until now.


anne mancine said...

It occurs to me that the title of my post is a play on a cultural reference that no one younger than me will understand. I will explain. When Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) was running for president, his campaign buttons read "I Like Ike".

So there you have it.

julie said...

whoa, i didn't realize the hurricane had blown up there already! you mentioned yesterday that it seemed like some clouds were blowing in, and said something about the hurricane, but i couldn't imagine it was there yet. we watched the pre-game show for the browns game, and it looked pretty impossible for the quarterbacks to throw in that amount of wind. sucks that you guys lost power! hope you didn't lose too much of the fridge stuff.

when hanna came through, andrew and i did actually go out and buy some candles for that, but turned out not to need them.

glad it cooled down enough for you to sleep!

julie said...

by the way, no word on pat yet.

anne mancine said...

Poor Pat! How long has he been in Houston? A couple of weeks? Let me know when you guys hear something.

julie said...

well, when last we heard, he had headed out finally (before the storm, but way after the evacuation started) to a friend who lives in a college town near there, maybe an hour away. andrew's mom says the landlord told pat that his dwelling and car are fine, but andrew hasn't talked to pat yet so we don't know how he's doing or when he's going back. i'm not even sure he'd been there a full two weeks when this blew in. no wonder the position was available, eh?

julie said...

oh, also, ohio did get it pretty bad, turns out--not just your imagination. bad enough to be making the national news! 70mph wind gusts, tons of people without power, and crews from our own local power company trekking to cleveland to help out.

anne mancine said...

Yeah, there are many people here in Portage County still without power, so I am starting to feel a little luckier.

So, Pat evacuated without his car? I'm a little confused...