Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Fourth

We headed up to the cabin this past weekend, like we do every year on the 4th of July. The weekend started out crazy sauce on Friday night with some insane weather, and things got a little better the next morning when the sun came up, and then it got a LOT better when FINALLY we got power back after about 22 hours of flushing toilets with buckets and opening the refrigerator only when absolutely necessary and running to the store to buy more flashlights. Eff.

So yeah, Friday night at around 8:00 we were hanging out in the cabin, just having finished doing the bath and jammies thing for the little ones, getting them all ready for bed, when all of a sudden the weather turned… weird. Dan and his brother were roaming around outside, I think putting away all of the crap as thunderstorms were supposed to be rolling in shortly. And then the lights started flickering and the trees started dancing (seriously, it looked like the Lost smoke monster might be coming for us from the woods) and all of a sudden John (my brother-in Law, not John Locke) burst into the cabin screaming, “I think there’s a tornado coming, A TORNADO! Everyone RUN! To the shower house! QUICK! MOVE! RUN!” And that very moment the power went out and children were screaming and people were tripping all over each other, and I held on to my baby as tight as I could and raced outside toward the cement shower house with him in my arms.

Dan was the last one in the shower house, and we did a little headcount. Four children, three dogs, six adults, everyone was accounted for. The door was closed, and along with the wind howling we heard cracking outside and tree branches falling on the roof. It was dope scary people. Bella hid under the bench we were sitting on and was probably the last one to come out when it was all over. Poor little pup.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the sky over the lake; it was the freakiest thing ever, this huge dark foreboding wall cloud just hanging there. The stuff on the roof that we heard coming down on us were just a handful of small branches, no big deal, but just 150 feet down the road there were huge trees down blocking the road and on top of cabins.


I guess the same storm ripped through the greater area of Wisconsin that we were in, power was out all over vacation-land, and though there were no actual tornadoes, the wind caused a lot of damage.

Thank God we were all safe, yes, I am thankful for that. But seriously… we were out of power after that until the next evening. UGH. And I was SO WHINY about it. Mother Nature is so inconvenient! I wanted to go home.

First of all, already we have this notoriously horrible (adorable) little sleeper. When we were at the cabin for Memorial Day Weekend, we had one terrible night where he screamed inconsolably for almost a full hour and a half in the middle of the night. We could do nothing to calm him, he didn’t want to be held, but if we put him down he’d just aimlessly stumble around and bash his head against the bedside table. If we put him in the pack-n-play he’d climb right out and stumble around and bash his head against the bed. Milk? NO! Boob? NO! Book? NO!

So was it night terrors? Scared to wake up in a strange place? We have no idea what his deal was, but it was just the worst thing I have ever experienced and everything I have done since in my life has been in an effort to avoid a repeat middle-of-the-night screaming scenario.

As an aside, I have to give the kid props, he’s sleeping so much better these days, which means we’re all getting much more sleep and the bags I’ve had under my eyes since he was a newborn are starting to fade slightly. But of course, all bets are off at the cabin. AND THEN Mother Nature has to throw a curveball at us, take away our blessed electricity so that it’s dark and scary. We were night-light-less and worst of all, without our beloved fan for white noise.

Gus wouldn’t go to sleep at first, he was understandably freaked out, and those walls are so thin, he could hear everyone loud and clear in the next room. We finally resigned to just hang out with him until he passed out. Reading books on the couch, chatting with my brother and his wife. After 10:00 we finally went to bed, mostly out of boredom, and of course the night went better than expected. I freely admit that I tend to overreact, anticipate the worst, and blow things out of proportion in my mind. I can be a real peach to live with sometimes.

Anyway, we remembered that we had brought this battery-powered portable ipod docking station, so we put Jack Johnson’s Curious George album on repeat and prayed for the batteries to magically never die. What’s amazing? They didn’t until 6:00 AM. Of course I barely got any sleep, because I would wake up every hour, look at the time on my phone, and be amazed that an hour had passed and the music was still going. Then I would convince myself that it was about to die… any second now, and Gus would be awake screaming, and he would NEVER go back to sleep with the deafening silence! Surely we were doomed! So I would just lay there, waiting, listening, afraid to even move and cause the bed to creak. Surely then he would wake up and we would be doomed!


We were not doomed. The sun came up, and life seemed much more manageable.

Still, I was pissed and annoyed that the $130 of food I had purchased the day before was busy going bad in the refrigerator, and all of our phones were nearly dead so we couldn’t sit on hold with the power company to find out when we might have electricity again. We went into town for breakfast and it was crazy packed, because seemingly everyone outside of town was out of power, and there was talk that it could be anywhere between 3-5 days.

I was ready to pack up the car and head home the second I heard that, but cooler heads prevailed, and instead we ran some errands. We bought a power adapter thing for the car to charge our phones, a battery-powered radio to play static while Gus took his nap, more batteries for the flashlights, ice so we could save some of our food in coolers, and gallons of water to do dishes with (the water at the cabin is from a well, which is pumped by electricity, thus, I was not even able to wash my face that morning).

And we managed, and it wasn’t a bad day at all. And I read half of my book that afternoon lying out in the sun. In hindsight it was actually beyond lovely. The worst was just in the not knowing how long we’d be without power. My brother says it’s because I’m a woman and we worry about things that are out of our control. Yes, it’s insulting that he’s making a broad stereotype about women like that, but seriously, OF COURSE I worry about things that are beyond my control! I want to control everything! Everything would spiral out of control if I couldn’t, well, control it!

He may have me pegged.

Well as I alluded to at the beginning of all this, power was back on by the time we had dinner on the table. A few hours before we saw a couple trucks from the electric company drive past, and I did a little happy dance, and relented my earlier stance that if we didn’t have power by evening we were packing up and heading back to the city. Clearly they were working on it, and it was only a matter of time, and my need to control the situation in the only way that was possible started to subside.

The rest of the weekend was just perfection… beautiful weather, a happy little swimming toddler, blowing bubbles, tranquil boat rides, laughs around the camp fire, card games, sitting in the water with a good book for two hours. Funny how none of those things involve electricity, but still I let myself get so worked up about being forced to go without it.

Was this weekend just one big lesson about going with the flow, making the best of things, not sweating the small stuff, and all of those kinds of clich├ęs?

Hmmm… maybe. Cruel lesson Mother Nature. Not. Cool.

(I'll be back tomorrow with pictures, still have to get them off my camera.)


Erin said...

My neighbor was at a cabin in a similarly scary sounding storm! It didn't hit where we were, thankfully, but that sounds so scary... and I would have definitely been freaking out must as much as you were! Glad everything still went well!

Lisa said...

Wow, what a weekend! I'm so glad that you guys were all safe. Thank goodness for that shower house so close.

I thought I had it rough camping this weekend, but your day of a sudden loss of power has me beat. At least your docking station pulled through for the Gus man to sleep and you guys were able to enjoy the next day! I would have been just as annoyed about it all as you were. Cruel lesson indeed, but at least it ended with perfection!

Mandy said...

That sounds scary - we have some friends up that way that were in the same situation. Actually they were stuck in their cabin until help arrived becuase several big trees had toppled over onto the house... but like you said everyone was safe so they didn't care about the rest of it! None the less the lack of power would be very annoying, you lasted longer than I probably would have. At least the rest of the weekend was perfect... can't wait to see pictures!