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The Curse of Hurricane Irene

My husband, Mike, and I went to bed Saturday with Hurricane Irene raging outside our door, but electrical power miraculously still intact. I awoke at 2:30am sensing the house was too quiet, too dark, and not adequately air-conditioned.

Damn. Almost made it.

I reported our power outage to the electric company via cell phone, received the obligatory “it’ll be fixed about 10 minutes after you promise to sell your soul to the devil for one 2001 rerun of Wheel of Fortune” answer, and went back to bed, aware I’d awake the next day to a starring role in local production of “Pioneer Woman & the Melting Ice Cream.”

We spent the next day in dim light watching tree branches crash to the ground outside our home.

“Wow!” said Mike as a huge branch fell in our neighbors’ yard. “Thank goodness his girls weren’t sitting under that tree!”

I squinted at Mike. “Why the hell would his teenage girls be sitting under the tree during a hurricane?”

“They were out there all summer in beach chairs,” said Mike.

“But CURRENTLY, there is a HURRICANE outside.”

Mike shrugged. “Just lucky, that’s all.”

(Later, we would go over and talk to our neighbor as he chopped up that big tree branch. First thing he said to us? “Thank goodness my girls weren’t sitting under there!” – much to Mike’s delight.)

We made the best of our day without electricity, cleaning the house and charging cell phones in the car. The dread of sundown and rising temperatures finally broke our pioneering spirit. By that time, living without basic human needs like 800 satellite channels had us bedraggled and beaten. Even if the electricity did return, it would only make us feel obligated to start wet-vacing the inch of water in our basement. Whoo-whoo.

We packed up the dog and headed for a local hotel with visions of local news channels and room service dancing in our heads. Not wanting to leave the dog diligently protecting our hotel room from every hallway passerby daring to speak outside our door, we holed up in the room. We brought clothes to sleep in, chargers for our phones and three bottles of red wine to avoid paying the hotel four-times their worth.

Settling in, and trying to cheer up stressed-Mike and frazzled-dog, I childishly jumped on the bed, determined to make the evening an exciting adventure.  As I did so, my foot caught the edge of the nightstand and I drop-kicked my glass of red wine across the room.  My phone blew up with NFL scouts calling to see if I was available for placekicking duties. It was that bad.

I froze in horror as rivulets of wine dripped down my face and stains bled across the white bed covers.

I had wanted to create a party atmosphere. Instead, I had recreated The Shining.

Mike stared at me, shaking his head.

“Your shorts are on backwards,” was all he said.

I looked down at the sweatpants shorts I’d put on and saw the back pocket on my thigh.

I think that was the moment things started to really go downhill for me.

The next morning we went home to our dead house. With little else to do, we took the dog for a walk. Stepping up on a curb, my muddy shoe slipped, and I plunged headlong into a stop sign pole. Inches from losing my teeth, I caught the pole with my left hand at the last possible second, and slammed my jaw into that hand, effectively punching myself in the face.

I managed to survive the walk without further incident. Afterwards, bored out of my mind, I went to Sam’s Club for 4lb bags of pistachios and enough pasta in one container to feed Little Italy. I got half way there before realizing that instead of grabbing my Sam’s membership card; I’d grabbed my license. I turned around and retrieved the card, incurring much head shaking from Mike in the process.

I shopped, and proceeded to pay with the MasterCard I keep specifically for use at Sam’s, which doesn’t accept Visa.

“This card is expired,” said the cashier.

I felt my stomach sink. The only other card I had with me was a Visa. If I called Mike and asked him to bring me the new card, it would only provide him more ammunition for his theory that I can’t make it through life without the help of himself and an army of various professionals.

“Oh, BUT, for the emergency, for a limited time, we’re taking Visa!” said the girl. “Let me see if it still works.”

What luck! I held my breath as she attempted to run the Visa.

It worked!

My curse had been lifted!

I returned to my car and threw my 4700 Gatorades into the trunk. I slammed it shut, eager to get home, electricity or not. I had to stop pushing my luck before Mike concluded I’d completely lost my mind.

I returned the cart, feeling my pockets for my keys as I made my way back to my locked car.

That’s when it hit me.

They keys were in the trunk.

 

 

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Author Amy Vansant enjoys long walks on the beach, anything to do with her Labradoodle Gordon and frantically getting nothing useful done.
Amy Vansant

30 Responses

  1. Debbie Cotter

    This one had me laughing! I can relate to the red wine story incident, only to be told you are wearing your shorts backwards!

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    • Amy Vansant

      Hey Debbie – thanks for stopping by! If you’re passing by a copy of Chesapeake Bay mag check us out in the Sept. issue. Mike is mortified they used a picture of a tee he hasn’t worn in years – I want to be able to tell him that all his old friends are laughing…. 🙂

      Sorry it took so long to respond – my spam bot thought you were spam and I just noticed and approved!

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  2. Name (Required)

    well at least you have your health?

    yeah I’ll go ahead and punch myself in the face for typing that.

    Hope everything improves soon.

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  3. Heather

    UGH. Truly awful. Hope things are on the upswing now. We lost power for 26 hours, but have a generator, so nothing spoiled form our fridge or freezer. Still not fun. The high winds scared the bejeezus out of me. We lost a few large branches and got an inch of water in our crawlspace. No biggie, really.

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    • Amy Vansant

      Oh I’m definitely happy it wasn’t much worse – Glad you got your power back too! It’s the only time my husband and I play cards, so we had that going for us…

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  4. Sherri

    I was out of electricity for 3 days – can you just imagine the “science project” happening in the fridge that must be cleaned and everything tossed. If I don’t do that soon, the various items will start to evolve, sprout, grow legs, and then eventually walk out of the fridge on their own – another piece of proof that Darwin knew what he was talking about.

    We always loose electricity where we live in Eastport. knowing this, we readied for the “Happening” by Milton, my long-time partner (also we are childless & happy about it), going to the grocery store to get emergency food – nothing that had to be cooked or kept cold supposedly. So what does he bring home?? Fresh subs loaded with dressing, fresh yogurt, watermelon, 2 bags of ice (for the cooler holding the BEER) and tea bags (I don’t drink coffee). Forget how I can’t make hot water for the tea but everything fresh is now bad because it has been sitting in the hot, dead, fridge for 3 days!

    But that’s OK, because he’s the smartest man I live with (and the only one of course).

    Let’s look on the bright side shall we. The ONLY time the fridge is seriously cleaned out (OK maybe the only time EVER) is when there is a hurricane and we lose power for 3 days.

    Moral of this story is . . . Ok maybe no moral except never let your partner go out for emergency food without supervision.

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    • Amy Vansant

      Sorry it took so long to respond – my spam bot thought you were spam and I just noticed and approved!

      The even brighter side for me was that MIKE cleaned our fridge! 🙂

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  5. Phil

    Well, it’s a shame that the hurricane caused so much trouble, but it could have been worse: the girls could have been sitting under that tree. Thank goodness that they weren’t.

    No, seriously, I’m sorry you had an unpleasant experience, but I enjoyed reading this funny retelling (helped by the fact that I didn’t get hit by the hurricane).

    – Phil
    Phil recently posted..3 Ways to Break in Your New Locker

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  6. Courtney

    OH NO! This sounds like a totally typical day for me haha – that is, without the hurricane. I luckily just moved further away from the east coast = no hurricane damage for me! I hope you guys get everything fixed up and settled quickly =) good luck!

    Oh, and, thank God those girls weren’t sitting under that tree!

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  7. Amy B

    Wow, I thought my running into a door a few weeks ago was bad. Clearly you beat me with your walking/punching-yourself-in-the-face-as-you-fall-into-a-stop-sign issue. Talk about overachieving…

    However, I totally understand the whole “when it rains, it pours” thing when it comes to luck. At some point, I just start laughing manically about what could possibly happen next. It makes my friends nervous.
    Amy B recently posted..My Reward For Going

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  8. Amy Vansant

    I agree when things start to go bad I try VERY hard to stay positive, because if I wallow in it, it always gets worse. This obviously worked because I locked my keys in the truck but did NOT slam it on my hand.

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    • Amy Vansant

      I’d say I’m embarrassed to say Mike has stopped me on more than one occasion from going to a meeting with my clothing tags hanging out of my neck, or price tags… or stickers… but really, at this point, it’s hard to be embarrassed by it anymore.

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  9. Lance

    Anyone commenting under name required is me, apparently. I’m engaged in a robot fued with your robot butler. Don’t worry, no lawyers will be used and we’ll avoid prison rules. This will be over soon.

    Glad you and Mike are ok.
    Lance recently posted..Float On

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  10. Amy Vansant

    Hey that one worked! Thanks for letting me know about the spam bot issue. Been getting more hits lately and I think Bot thought “REAL people don’t want to read her shit…” I would kick its ass myself, but I get 10 “your site has great information – much like! Here’s my site: viagrarocks etc etc…” a day. Usually SpamBot is pretty cool about shutting them down. Apparently now that I’ve introduced him, he’s cool with you. Figures. Bots. What can you do.
    PS: he keeps a shiv in his LEFT ankle bolt.

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  11. liz

    sorry to hear about your hurricane antics! hilarious post though. i read it at work and let out several loud bursts within ear-shot of the boss. fortunately we only lost power for 3 days; no damage other than mental. the whole having to sit around and converse with words bit…
    liz recently posted..pause for hurricane

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  12. Elle Marie

    Some of the funny things men say, eh? My mother wrote me and said now she knows how I feel (I’m living in Tokyo) with the earthquake, but my goodness, y’all getting beating up over there on the East Coast, gesh! We have a typhoon that will hit us here Friday/Saturday. Oh yea, thanks for saving me from your spam folder too. I hope the weather was fair (not hot and sticky) without the AC
    Elle Marie recently posted..cheeky: wild & cuh-raazy

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  13. Ms. D

    Oh, lady, you’ve got nothing on my hurricane story. Much of our stories are the same, charging cell phones in the car, hopelessly calling the electric company hoping they say that someone is on-site fixing our power, but it gets worse for us. We thought we were being responsible. After 18-ish hours without power, we stocked our fridge with ice (thank you Harris Teeter for having ice available), so we didn’t lose any food. We decided not to go to a hotel, we could handle this. Fine, good, it was a nice night on Sunday night, and we were too drunk to care that we didn’t have power on both Saturday and Sunday night.

    But, on Sunday night, I decided to fire up almost all the candles I had in the house. I was going to use my house as normally as possible, dammit! Many, many years ago, in a land far, far away from DC, I lived with a roommate who had to-be-unexplained access to free, high-quality candles and their attendant accessories. So, in our house, in a going-on-2-days power outage, we had candles out the ass. We could have lit up the whole neighborhood, but instead we decided to light up our whole house, um, literally. A candelabra in the kitchen, tea lights galore in the living room. Designer candles in the office. And a fateful wall-mounted sconce in the bathroom. A very fateful wall-mounted sconce in the bathroom. It turns out you’re supposed to use tea lights in that wall-mounted sconce, but I had used 3″ votives. And that is when I set the house on fire. We were out in the car around 10 PM, furiously checking PEPCO’s mobile app on our plugged-in cell phones when we looked up at the front window and thought, “boy, it looks smokey in there” (the BF swears that he thought the same thing I did at the same moment). At first, I didn’t think much about it, but then I realized that the windows were open and it wasn’t just our dirty windows creating an illusion. And then I heard a smoke alarm…OMGOMGOMG!!!! I charged inside, grabbed the fire extinguisher out of the kitchen, and was, fortunately, able to put out the bathroom wall before the whole building went up. So then we spent a smokey, smelly Sunday night in our dark, hot home, and fortunately got our power back before we got home from work on Monday. I am a living, breathing sitcom…one that my BF is an unwilling participant in…

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      • Ms. D

        Oh, certainly not looking for sympathy. Why do you think we have a fire extinguisher in a place where I knew where it was IMMEDIATELY (hint: it’s not because of the BF, except that when he moved in he suggested we get one…yeah, he knows me too well)? While I appreciate that I realized what was going on quickly, I’m actually most impressed that it was the bathroom, the only room without sprinklers, so our house didn’t get deluged, and that the windows were already open so opening the door didn’t fuel the fire. I’m a walking disaster, and that just gets amplified by disastrous things. And since most of these turn out harmless, if annoying (this one cost us about half of today, replacing a patch of drywall, and part of tomorrow, repainting…not too bad, overall), it ends up being funny. I came home a few days later to find a box of tea lights on the counter with a BIG ASS bow. Just glad to know my spaztasticness is appreciated.

        While I’m replying to this, I’m sorry to hear you were without power and water for so long, Stacy. That sucks so much more than our 2 days, and that was torture (even with water)! I remember when I was a kid in the Midwest and we had a big tornado and they had the power mostly on much faster. Seems everything is going down hill…

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      • Amy Vansant

        You sound eerily familiar. I am a total disaster myself. Even as a kid I think I spilled my milk like every third dinner.

        We had basement flood/no electricity for the hurricane, basement flood even worse a week later due to deluge, and our washer broke – probably from all the heavy wet towels spinning around in it. I’m hoping that makes three and that’s it!

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      • Ms. D

        Yeah, wasn’t last week CRAZY? There’s a partially-constructed ark in my yard…lol. 🙂 Seriously, though, we have random people from the basement sitting in our cube farm because the basement of my office flooded, and they won’t know if/when they can move back in for 2 weeks! Sorry to hear it got into your house. I used to live an English basement, and I was never happier about moving above ground a few years ago than last week. I would have had to take the whole week off to keep sucking up water before it damaged my stuff! I joked that, while I am from a very snowy area, I had never seen snow like during snowpocalypse/snowmageddon/frosty’s revenge, and now I will also say I’ve never seen rain like last week! At several points, I couldn’t see the building across the street from my office, and it just kept going like that for hours, over and over again!

        And, yes, I’m the kid who spilled their milk/juice every day. It makes no sense…I am a dancer and play several sports that require a lot of coordination, and do well at those things, but ask me to walk through my house and I’ll trip over my own feet. 🙂

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  14. Stacey

    We lost power for five days. I didn’t punch myself in the face or nearly burn the house down, but I had to carry in water from the stream in our yard every time I wanted to flush a toilet.
    Stacey recently posted..Sweetness

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    • Amy Vansant

      Where do you live? 1803? Nah, kidding, that sucks. It didn’t hit us afterwards that at least we had city water for showers when we started hearing about how “well people” ALSO lost water when they lost electricity. Do you mind if I call you “well people?” 🙂

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  15. Jessica

    Wow, sounds like you are competing with me for the award of awesome incidents. The kicked wine glass was hilarious (not quite me) but the face plant sounds right up my alley. AND I locked my keys in the truck of my car about six months ago – where? Sam’s. It was great. My neighbors (and luckily landlords) had to rescue me and let me in my house to get my spare key because my husband was on patrol with the Coast Guard. Oh and I just LOVE that MC/Visa conundrum. I almost always forget and try to use my Visa and then feel like a moron each and every time. Especially when I remember there’s no money in the MC account and have to go home and transfer money from savings just to buy some stinking groceries. We were out of town and missed the entire event that was Irene so I don’t have any hurricane curse stories of my own.
    Add your Twitter:

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