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.
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.