A week ago today, Monday, July 11th, the Chicago area suffered a horrible thunderstorm. Huge trees were knocked down,* bringing power lines with them. 860,000 Com Ed customers lost power. Some people in in the northern suburbs did not have their power restored until Friday night - four days later!
So in comparison I got off easy. Real easy. But if you had told me last Monday what I was enduring was just another inconvenience, I would have tackled you.
My day went as follows:
8:10 a.m. - Set out in car to drive to teach college level modern dance class. Think it just looks like another partly cloudy day, and feel skeptical that severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect, until the dark silver blue sky looming over downtown is visible.
8:30 a.m. - Get caught in monsoon-like conditions three blocks from work. Begin driving with nose pressed against windshield. Hear on radio that my neighborhood will be among the hardest hit.
9:00 a.m. - Hear that accompanist is stuck on train. Feel a palpable lack of motivation from the few students who managed to arrive on time. Wish had brought Ipod and had charged it for that matter. Run through several musicless scenarios and find each as painful as an unanesthetized root canal. Decide to join the yoga class across the hall, much to the students’ delight. Take class as well, not knowing what a high point this is in my day.
10:40 a.m. - See two voicemails left by my mother who is watching Riley and Aria, my 2.5 and 1 year old. Learn that the storm hit hard and the power is out. Children were terrified. Call Mother. Be asked the location of fusebox. Argue the futility of fiddling with a fusebox when the building/block/neighborhood/city has lost power. Explain fusebox’s location behind a picture in the hallway nonetheless. Drive home as fast as possible, noting all the fallen trees when I get back to my neighborhood.
11:00 a.m. - Arrive home to find the apartment as hot as a just-ran-the-marathon crotch. Also find wrong picture removed from the wall. Hug and kiss children. Assess the situation. No hot water. No stove. No internet (Eff me for not replacing the battery in my MacBook!). No opening of refrigerator or freezer. Are completely parched and have no liquid save tap water. Realize that escape routes such as the movies or the mall are not an option with young children who require a nap in their bed. Feel an anger and despair not felt since Job. Recommence discussion with Mother about the fusebox and the meaning of hallway versus front hall. Open all windows, which have not been washed since W’s Administration, and feel like an overheated, sloppy housekeeper. Wunh-wunh-wunh-wuuuuuuunh…
11:30 a.m. - Call husband and try to make plans for tonight’s dinner and sleeping arrangements. Beg him to come home early. Call other moms in neighborhood to learn who has the fortune of electricity. Learn that a tree fell on a friend’s car. With her husband in it. Yes, he was okay.
12:30 p.m. - Finally go out to eat after a hot, tired, hungry and thirsty Riley finished melting down, claiming that he hated restaurants when the opposite is true. Enjoy delicious lunch on my mom. Everyone behaves. Ok, yes this is definitely high point #2.
1:30 p.m. – Go to produce market to buy milk for the baby since the fridge must remain closed. Buy berries and like a doofus, forget to buy water, cold drinks and ice.
2:00 p.m. – Attempt to put down 2 kids who depend on some combo of warmed milk, air conditioning and white noise machines to get to sleep.
2:10 p.m. – Riley down, Aria crying. Muttering, grab Aria up from her crib to “play.”
2:15 p.m. – Try to supervise Aria while negotiating plans for evening. Dinner at my Mother’s condo nearby. Settled. A lovely friend has offered us her vacant and furnished condo that happens to be in same building as my mom’s. Feel lucky at the same time as super hot, bored and persecuted. Call and text friends to bitch and complain. Catch Aria eating a stick of sunscreen, squeezing behind the angled entertainment armoire (with about a million wires behind it) and trying to climb in kitchen garbage can. Restrain self from slitting wrists.
3:15 p.m. – Reattempt to put Aria down with more cold milk.
3:20 p.m. – Aria screaming. Abandon nap attempts. Put Aria crying, in Jumperoo where she will eventually fall asleep. Get in bed with the phone and a notebook.
3:30 p.m. - Quiet. Personal time!! High Point #3! Yessssss!
4:45 p.m. - Everyone awake. Prepare to go to Mother’s building.
5:00 p.m. - Power is ON! Rejoice! Text friends. Call husband. Do happy dance with kids. Feel a little silly that I felt so wronged by the day’s events. Ruminate about what a cushy, spoiled American I am (when a day in my stifling, boring, hot-water-free apartment would be paradise to many in the world), before going back to the witching-hours business as usual, hoping that next time, I will handle things just a little bit better.
* A fallen tree eastbound in Madison Park. Photo courtesy of Maja Fiket.