Back in April of 2011 we had some vicious storms roll through Knoxville. Tornado force winds with hail. Wicked stuff. We just had Frank then but the only interior room was the downstairs bath and even with just the three of us it was cramped.
Anyway we got through that storm although not before losing the siding, roof shingles, gutters, and mail box. The deck was also reduced to a rickety lawsuit waiting to happen. We had the house fixed and I rebuilt the deck last summer. But I never quite got over the anxiety of it all.
So flash forward to 20 February of this year. Tracy was in California for the week on business. A storm of some type was predicted for Thursday into Friday but for some reason it never grabbed my attention. Apparently my anxiety must be waning. I mean I’m not a rush out and buy eggs, milk, and bread at the first report of a storm type of guy, but I am my father’s son.
That means communications baby. Weather channel on the main TV, the NOAA weather app and the local NBC affiliate storm team app going on the phone, and a standard weather app going on the iPad. I’m plugged in for a storm, but I also need to be charged up. Well for this caper I didn’t do any of that. When the Sharknado hit and took out the power at 2:30am, I awoke immediately realizing I was not prepared. Not a phone charged, not an app cued up. Couple that with my fear of the dark while alone, documented two posts back: Captain Kirk made me turn the lights on, and this could be the mother of all freak outs.
It got dark too. We’re talking vastness of space dark. Our Sac has no street lights, so when all the lights from the houses disappear, it goes zombies coming out of the ground dark. As Frank used to say, I can’t like that. Again these things never happen during a calm Sunday brunch. Always the dead of night, always the dead of night.
The power snapped back on about 2 minutes into my adrenaline rush. It was then that I realized how damn noisy our house is. I mean everything made noise coming back on. No lights of course, just noisy things going beep in the dark.
The microwave sounded like a cat being slowly crushed by one of those things that smooths out the tar in the road. The printers sounded like Russian dancing bears trying to come through the kitchen window. After my Nutella no doubt. The alarm system decided this would be a good time to tell me the motion sensor batteries were low. It does this with an ear-splitting tone that could make a dolphin cry and doesn’t stop until you punch in the password. As I’m on my fifth attempt at the f*&%#ng password the house goes quiet. Power out again.
Our electricity is all below ground. It doesn’t surface until the main highway. So it’s unusual for it to go out, especially off and on in relative rapid succession. Must be a poor squirrel dangling between two sets of wires. I imagine as the wind blows hard enough, his ass makes contact with the lower set of wires shorting out the power. For whatever reason that made me laugh at 3am. I also imagine the squirrel in question was not laughing.
In the quiet and terrifying darkness I wait for a second, wait for a different noise to pierce the night. The cry of my 4 yr. old and 23 month old never comes. Can’t figure out why. I head to Frank’s room and he’s sawing lumber, out cold. Truthfully I’d rather he was awake. I could use the company. A quick peek at AM and she’s out cold too. That is hard to believe. She sleeps very light. On this night she never woke up. Slept through till 9am. Nice.
The power came back on ten minutes later. This time the symphony of rebooting and some vicious thunder and lighting got Frank out of bed. He’s crying, he wants something to put over his ears. I tell him to put his head under his pillow. I get the look. You know, the look that says “Dude, really? It’s the apocalypse out there and you think a pillow will do the trick?” Ok, what do you want.
“I need your work ear phones!”
He’s talking about my ear protection I had when I worked on the flight line in the Air Force. I have an old pair in the garage that I use when I do yard work. He wore those a year ago. How he remembered they were there is beyond me. But no matter cause I’m trudging through the dark downstairs and into the garage to find work headphones.
The thunder really kicked up a notch and that drove Frank, with headphones, Lenny/Lambie, and his giraffe blanket into my bed. He slept on Tracy’s side and fell asleep with his thunder noise dampeners on. I finally fell asleep too.
A second round of thunderstorms roll through around 4:00. I wake to see this:
He’s out cold but clearly bracing for the noise of thunder in his sleep. What that kid won’t do for Lenny. The other midget never woke up at all. Still can’t believe she slept through the entire night. Never made a peep, never even jostled.
I made one more check on her before settling back into bed watching the local news storm coverage at 4:00am.
I was way too jacked up to sleep. I was playing golf in the morning, provided the course was still there. My first tee time since hurting my ribs in late November and surviving the night of the noisy reboot, not once but twice, was too much to process. No point in sleeping now.
Besides I had to make a mental list of electronic gadgets to get rid of in the morning.
And find a better hiding spot for my Nutella.