A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. . . .

The lines have been drawn and the city has been divided. There are those with and those without. No matter where you are or what you are doing the mutual concern sounds and common question rings in everyone's conversation, "Do you have power?" The ones who have seem almost apologetic to answer yes to those who have not. Those who are without are merely seeking a fellow sufferer to commiserate with.

And it has been suffering. True, we still have a home. True, we can now go to the store without a two hour wait in line. And true, we can run to the nearest fast food place for a quick bite to eat and a breath of fresh air conditioning. But then we must return to our muggy, dark and eerily quiet homes to rummage in the blackness for our belongings and lay in our bed praying for the slightest breeze.

Time has been divided as well. There is Before the Storm and After the Storm. Or perhaps you go by Before Ike and After Ike. The novelty of it all (if there ever was any) has certainly lost its shine. The first week After the Storm was filled with busyness and gratefulness and sheer determination to be strong in the face of whatever may come. The second week has been filled with deep sighs at yet another day of hurricane hair, showering by flashlight and eating cheap fast food. Also the petty envy and the childish whining that fills my heart while longingly looking out my window at the porch lights of my neighbor across the street. Wah.

One thread runs common through all of us, whether in a season of light or a season of darkness, we are all very tired. I've decided we are all suffering from P.I.T. Post Ike Trauma or P.I.S.T. Post Ike Severe (or Stress &) Trauma. Symptoms include: Crying/laughing or cussing at the sight of a porch light (not yours), a bag of ice, a gas can, a grill or the sound of a generator. Exhaustion. The appearance of having chicken pox (from the hawk-sized mosquitoes biting you while you sit outside at night trying to catch a cool breeze while staring plotting ways to run electricity from your neighbors house to yours). Scratches, bruises, blisters, sunburn, heatstroke and callouses from hauling the forest from your backyard to your curb. Exhaustion. Forgetfulness. Repeating the following Do you have power yet? Is that the microwave? Is that a power line truck? Who has ice? Do you have power yet? and exhaustion.

I hope this doesn't come across as whiny and negative. As I said before there are pockets of joy we've been able to delve our little hands in to and grab hold of some semblance of peace. We have learned much about ourselves and one another. Found reserves of strength deep within that would not have been discovered if not for the current situation.

For instance I have learned that it is possible to cook pasta, make coffee and even bake a pie on a grill as well as a variety of dishes only thought possible with the modern miracles known as KitchenAid, Cuisinart and General Electric.

I've found it is possible to live without tv, radio, internet and sometimes air conditioning, but NOT Starbucks. You can have serious, even life threatening withdrawals from Starbucks. And I don't even drink the fancy stuff. Just straight coffee ma'am, thank you very much. You would have thought they were giving away the store the day I found they were open again. I squealed with the delight of a preteen viewing the Jonas Brothers when I saw the Open sign finally return to my crack dealer Java Love Distributor. Sigh.

I now know I am still able to do my own pedicure. (dangit) I have become quite the spoiled little brat regarding my feet and was at the point where I refused to even think about touching them myself. I must say, they aren't as pretty nor is it as relaxing as having My Le, sorry Tammy give me a pedicure, but nonetheless still possible. At least I can reach them now...(small weight loss surgery update: I've lost 133 pounds and have 32 to go. I have gone from a size 26/28 to a 12/14. I am at almost 7 months post surgery and will post pictures soon barring another hurricane of course.)

I have discovered it is possible to be in the close proximity of two teenagers and one husband for 24 hours a day and 14 days straight without committing murder. Although I must say I've not been happier in the past two weeks than the day the kids went back to school and I was able to spend 8 child-free hours - even if it was at work.

Tomorrow marks 14 days without for our family. Oh but weep not for me for there is hope...yesterday as we entered our neighborhood the sight of huge orange and white trucks filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears. When we got home there were 4 large, smelly, filthy and sweaty men in my backyard fixing the the power lines and I've never wanted to hug a stranger more. While we are still without and others around us may have light, we have each other, we have the love of fa...oh who am I kidding? I WANT MY LIGHTS ON NOW!!!!

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.


  1. I can't even imagine living thru all that- I am such a hothouse flower :-P
    Praying that life gets back to some form of normal quickly & you continue to find those pockets of joy.

  2. my heart goes out to you Dana, it really does, but hey, hey, hey ...you just try to sneak a wee detail in there about being little miss size 12 ... hurrah! hurrah!! HURRAH!!!


  3. Meg,
    Thanks! It wasn't Katrina, but it wasn't pretty either!

    You are too observant, I did try to sneak that in! Thanks! I can't believe it myself!!

  4. for whatever reason, the power was out here in our house in nj tonight.

    for only two hours.

    but it seemed like a lifetime.

    i just reminded myself that if dana can handle it for 2+ weeks, surely i could suffer for one night.

    and kudos on the size 12/14.....woo hoo!!!!

  5. Definitely did not come across as whiney and negative, but completely human and understandable! I am praying that you get your lights on soon.

    Pie on the grill? I never, ever would have thought it. Truly, necessity is the mother of invention.

    And, sorry, but can I squeal? ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THREE POUNDS??!!! How amazing and awesome is THAT?? Very extremely.

  6. Jenn,
    No power is no power...no matter how long, it is an inconvenience, an annoyance and a hindrance. We rely on it for more than we realize.
    Thanks for the kudos!

    Pie on the grill. And apparently one can make a frozen pizza, although I haven't tried I am thinking of adding that to my culinary skillz next.
    OF COURSE you can squeel! I did, a LOT!!! :)


and remember, words are my love language...