Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tales From The Windstorm

This story starts with a nap.

Yesterday, I came home from a busy day of teaching to find my dog and my fourth-born taking a lovely siesta on my bed. As the rain pitter-pattered peacefully against the window, I was irresistibly drawn to join them. Tugging on a free corner of the down comforter, I curled up in the last remaining corner of the bed and soon fell into a sweet dream of my own.


I awoke to sounds of great distress and destruction. Fierce winds had stirred up during my nap and now howled through my backyard, only gaining in force as they funneled between the rows of houses. But what caused the crash?

As I jumped up to pull shut the window, I suddenly understood. Two large panels of my six-foot cedar fence had burst from their supports, and now lay pell-mell across the garden. 

A homeowner's tragedy to be sure, but I've been lobbying to get those four-by-fours replaced for years now. Looks like my fence has finally earned itself a spot at the top of the to-do list and I can't say I'm all that sad. 

This is the first of my tales from our big wind storm, but it is not the last. 

* * * * * 

^ The gnarly winds whipping up the hill reached upwards of 60 miles per hour around my house, and reportedly topped out at close to 120 m.p.h. in the mountains. Lucky as we were, those gales still managed to wrestle this massive rose off my front trellis and deposit it on the sidewalk and street below. 

^ So this afternoon, armed with various trimming devices, an eight-foot ladder, heavy pair of gloves, and my able assistants, Daughters Number Two and Four, I wrestled the beast into submission. 

* * * * *

6:09 p.m. - Me, realizing that our power has miraculously survived the storm, so far:
                  "Tessa, maybe we should light some candles, just in case the power goes out."

                   Tessa: "Okay, I'm on it." Lights candles.

6:14 p.m. - We lose power. 

6:29 p.m. - Husband returns home from work: "So, what's the dinner plan?"
                  Me (pathetically): "Umm, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?"
                  Husband (purely logical): "But we're out of bread."
                  Me: "I just took a new loaf out of the freezer. We can defrost it....oh, well, toast it...."
                  Husband (who almost never suggests that we eat out): "Frozen PB & J? Let's eat out."
                  Me: :)

6:40 p.m. - Driving along the main drag through town, we realize the power outage is more                                   widespread than we expected. We pass one low-cost option after the next, all dark and                         clearly closed., Before we know it, we end up at Alderwood Mall, where the power is on                       and business at all the big chain/pricey restaurants is booming. 

6:55 p.m. - Husband: "Tessa, you have a lot of dietary restrictions. Where do you want to eat...the                          food court?"
                  Tessa, kind of joking, kind of not: "The food court is for hobos, How about P.F. Chang's?"
                  Me: "HOBOS? Really?? There are hobos who eat at the mall???"
                  Husband: "Alright."

7:15 p.m. - Me, happily tucking into my bowl of Singapore Street Noodles at a restaurant that I've                          been wanting to try for years: :)

* * * * * 

^Thankfully, my big red balls survived the storm virtually unscathed. One, obviously, was upended, but all the rest of the aerodynamic darlings stayed right in place, rather than rolling down the hill to crash in a billion pieces, as one might expect. 

* * * * *

Early this morning in the still hours before dawn, my brain emerged from the fog of sound sleep to hear Ranger scratching at my bedroom door. Slowly, I put together the facts of the matter.

Ranger wanted to go outside for his usual bathroom break.
He had missed the opportunity to slip out with my husband when he went downstairs.
It was in my best interests to help my dog make his way to the nearest bush.

And as I tossed back my covers, a fourth fact emerged:

The power was still out and it was freaking cold. 

I stumbled to the door, eased it open past Ranger's eager nose, and let him out first. Much to my delight, I found my husband, still at home, walking up the stairs with a flashlight to retrieve Ranger.

When Ranger scratches at a door to go out, the whole house knows what's up.

Ready to leap back into my warm bed, I paused for a moment to watch the merry twosome head downstairs. My husband descended the first two steps, his flashlight beam trained on the wall ahead, his feet finding their way on the dark steps.

Ranger, however, froze at the top landing. He stood, expectantly watching and waiting, though I couldn't imagine why. 

Then, on his own accord, my husband shifted the beam of light so that the steps themselves were now illuminated.

And Ranger immediately resumed his journey, safely trotting down the well-lit stairs.

All bragging aside, he is a remarkably smart and adaptable fellow. :)

* * * * * 

^ Here's the scene of the backyard crime. The fencing panel on the left is hanging as precariously as a six-year-old's front tooth; the gap to the right represents the second panel which fully crashed and burned into the neighbor's shrubbery. I wonder how long the queue will be to get fence repair after this mighty storm. 

* * * * *

Due to a downed power line drooping dangerously low over the street, Ranger and I were forced to alter the route of our daily walk today. When I veered off in this unexpected direction, he looked up at me in concern, clearly wondering if I had lost my mind. But as I rerouted us through a parking lot to eventually rejoin our normal path, he marched along happily, following my directional instructions and evidently trusting in my leadership. 

All that changed the moment he caught sight of our normal trail. Though it was now within sight of our vantage point in the parking lot, we could not feasibly get to our walking path of choice until we hiked to the far end of the second lot, and then looped back onto the trail.

But while Ranger originally trusted my guidance, as soon as he saw the familiar pathway in plain view, he was bound and determined to get us back on track. He obediently returned again and again to my side upon command, but each time I let him wander to his own devices, he bee-lined right back toward that trail.

Happy and satisfied was the little guy when we finally completed our short cut and returned to the normal circuit. And amused was I to learn just how much our daily traditions mean to him.

* * * * * 

^ Thank goodness my pallet garden was not harmed in the fence blow-out. I would have rebuilt it before dinner. 

* * * * *

The storm blew itself out before bedtime last night. Our power came back on around noon today. 

And when things got back to normal, I breathed a nice, big sigh of relief:

The load of laundry that was on spin when the storm hit can finally finish up.
Wool hats in the unheated house are no longer necessary.
The router is back online and hallelujah, the wifi is up.

And we can finally catch up on that all-important season finale of Below Deck that we so tragically missed last night. 

But I will admit, for all the drama and inconvenience, I had some fun during this wild adventure and I am a bit sad to see it end; I'll remember these tales from the windstorm for a long time to come. 

* * * * *

^Though the cats were a bit anxious during the heart of the storm, Luna quickly recovered his cool and headed back outdoors to supervise our clean-up.

Ooops, Looks like we missed an overturned chair. Sorry, boss. 

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