Shark Girl is in exile. No, I have not committed a heinous crime, nor has my past finally caught up with me. The recent winter storm has driven me out of my home and into the arms of the In-Laws. (Yes, Tree Frog, I live in the Northeast!)
It all started on Saturday, when we were hosting a Halloween party. As the first guests arrived, the power went out. “Cool!” shouted one of my son’s friends. Shark Girl, however, was wondering how to keep fifteen 4 to 11 year olds entertained for three hours without going outside or using electronics. Just when Husband and SG were resorting to tricks like, “Honey, dress up like a fortune teller!” or “Give them a tour of our dark basement!” power mercifully returned and we put on Little Shop of Horrors. When the power finally went off for good, around 7 PM, I was exhausted anyway and glad to retire early to the comforts of bed.
I awoke to a disaster area—limbs down, and a whole city in the dark. It has been this way since Saturday night. No electricity for 5 days. Our utility company’s best estimate is that we will have power restored by Monday afternoon.
I am not complaining. My family spent Sunday afternoon discussing how we are fortunate in this storm: our old gas furnace provides heat to our bedrooms and scalding hot water. We also have a gas stove. Many people are without heat and water all together. Given our fortunate circumstances we can stay “unplugged” in our home. We have retreated to the comforts of the In-Laws several times, because, well, 9-Year Old and 5-Year Old have discovered that fighting is a great way to pass the time when there’s no E. Wait—they fought before. The difference is that now, since school is cancelled, I am home with them constantly, confined to the bedrooms, and have to deal with their assiduous brotherly aggression. It brings out the worst in my parenting style: screaming, bulging neck veins, bug eyes, unexecutable threats.
So I write to you today from exile at the In-Laws. In a fit of optimism, I brought my gi down for this trip and tried to find a place to do some jiu jitsu. No luck. Maybe my gym will be open tonight? Not likely. My daily runs have taken me past downed trees and power lines. Yesterday, four days into the storm, even on foot I had to pick through debris on the roads, hop over cables and duck (yes, at 4’11”, duck) for low-hanging wires. I wanted to post some pics for you, but my camera has either been broken by 5-Year Old (most likely) or is out of juice (less likely). Last night I did a frantic search by flashlight for its charger. The shadow play on the office clutter made me motion sick, so I gave up. You’ll have to get your disaster pictures elsewhere. Sorry!
I will leave you with a recent jiu jitsu exchange between Husband and me. It was a tender moment, a warm embrace. Unfortunately it occurred just after I learned some judo foot sweeps, and I was trying to keep them fresh in my mind. Husband leaned down to kiss SG gently on the lips.
SG: (practicing foot-sweep motion) I could take you down right here.
Husband: You have a one-track mind. (Another gentle kiss.)
SG: So do you.
Husband: Yeah, but mine’s normal.
Sigh. Husbands just don’t understand!
This is Shark Girl signing off from an undisclosed home somewhere in the Northeast.