I spent the morning on the porch, enjoying the cool breeze as I chugged the coffee I brewed while briefly plugged into the generator; you have to drink it quickly, while it’s still warm, as the power was switched back to the fridge. The breeze cooled me after a night of hot sleep — our room never cooling down after temperatures were in the high 90’s yesterday. I finished reading a book, weeping into my coffee cup.
I looked at the sky and sighed. More storms coming, no doubt adding on to the time until we get power back.
I called my husband, working at the fire station today — lucky man with air conditioning and Internet access. He confirmed storms were on the way and asked me to turn off the generator, tarp it up. I stubbed my toe walking in the door. I cried hot tears of frustration and exhaustion as I jumped around, too tired to even come up with obscenities.
I am at my limit.
We sent the boys to stay with my parents, finding no need for them to endure the extreme temperatures, the frustration oozing from their parents pores. They are happy splashing in the pool, eating more than just the peanut butter and bread that we have left, making more memories with their beloved Papau and YiaYia. I am jealous of my children.
Yesterday was the 4th of July — and the two of us sweaty parents did not get to celebrate it with our little boys. I didn’t get to see them in the shirts I carefully picked out for them this year: three jets crossing one another with red, white and blue trails. I didn’t get to eat good food with them or splash them in the pool. I didn’t get to watch their eyes fill with wonder as they watched the fireworks. As I watched the fireworks in our city, alone with my husband, I felt childlike awe and wonder mixed with sadness; I missed my boys. I had big plans this year, as my husband was off on Independence Day, to make crafts (yes, me) and decorate and make good things to eat and celebrate in style. None of it happened. A holiday lost in a way, gained in another. Surely we won’t forget this one, that’s for certain.
What our 4th Looked Like
I have, thus far, chosen to stay in Ohio, with my husband and the house. While I could very easily head to my parents’ home north of Pittsburgh, I stay. I feel lead to stay because I don’t like the idea of abandoning my husband, leaving him to shoulder the burden of caring for the house and the generator and the birds our gallon of milk all by his lonesome. We are a team. We are a hot, sweaty, frustrated, exhausted, confused team. We’ve also had some good moments together over the past few days in the not-exactly-quiet, as the hum of generators has increased — more and more families in our neighborhood finding and plunking down the money to keep a fan, a fridge, a light running. As the hot, stifling air sat on our sweaty skin yesterday, we smiled at one another and said, “I love you, even if you’re sweaty.” What else can we do? Nothing. Well, except read books. I’ve gone through two.
Every time we drive through town, sometimes with no destination in mind but solely to enjoy some air conditioning and phone charging, I want to hug every power company lineman I see. Today I saw a crew from Alabama; Alabama is my new favorite state. I am sure these hard-working linemen are as hot and as frustrated as we are, though I am curious as to how many AEP executives already have power back in their homes. The country road leading out of our neighborhood has power; I may go move in with the deputy who just built a new deck.
Someday the electricity will come back on and I will do laundry, clean up the clutter that has overtaken the house since we got home from vacation to this mess. At some point in time this summer, we will choose to go without electricity and hang out in a tent — though that keeps getting put off as this power outage is eating away at our summer, making us rearrange plans and dreams of relaxation. When it comes back on and my children are home and everyone is safe, I will breathe. Slowly.
Until then, I wait. I look to the skies and I wait. What else is there to do?
Note: All iPhone photos. My DSLR battery is dead and I don’t want to waste generator power to charge it.