Our usually temperate and climactically neutral home town was hit by high winds yesterday. (Thanks, Ike!) I believe the gusts got up to about 50 mph, which will knock a person down, if not some tree limbs. It was strange to have all that wind and very little if any rain. We were doing OK until about 7:15 p.m. when the power went out. Doc was working, so the girls and I went over to Frank's to check and see if he and his son were ok. They were. They had decided to head over to John & Michelle's house to finish cooking and watch the Browns lose.
We were standing in the driveway, talking about our plans when we heard a large, crunching noise, like a giant eating a Cheeto. We turned in the direction of the noise in time to see a large limb from a tall tree crash down on Frank's picnic table.
"Well, we'd better be getting in the house," I said, turning to gather up the girls. But they were already gone, two blond streaks of lightning. I was still making my traditional, lingering, midwestern good-bye when I heard the giant reach for another Cheeto...right over my head. I myself became a streak of lightning to avoid getting hit by a tree myself.
Needless to say, the girls were totally freaked out. We got into the house and I asked them if they wanted to go to Grandma and Pop's house. They did and Riley immediately began packing a bag. I thought that was a little much. Surely the power would be back on soon and we could come home. My parents still had power, so at least we could go there and...I don't know what...maybe stop freaking out.
I gathered the essentials plus the loaves of bread that were ready to go in the oven and headed to the car. I loaded the loaves on the shelf behind the back seat and the teddy bear, blankie and other comforting goo-gahs in the front. The kids buckled themselves in and we were off. On our way out of the driveway, I saw our other neighbors, Wally & Ms. Snap out in their front yard. We checked in on them and they were ok. Ms. Snap said she'd call me when the power came back on; they were staying put. We pulled out of their driveway and headed down the street, only to be faced with low-dangling wires. I maneuvered my way around them after making a sudden stop, where my bread flew off the back shelf. Luckily, Riley caught the tray and put it back, so no harm done.
We got to Mom & Dad's and I went to call Doc at work. They didn't have power at the bakery either and he wasn't sure if he wanted to come to Mom & Dad's or not. He said he'd stop home first, regardless. That should have been my clue that he wasn't coming to meet us at my folks. After baking my breadand waiting a good half hour after he should have been home, I called and let the phone ring and ring and ring. Finally he picked up; he'd just gotten in the door. He was still non-committal about his plans, but he said he'd call me after he got himself situated.
I waited and waited. I tried calling and got no answer. I didn't know what to do. I had no clothes with me for work the next day and I didn't want to bring the kids back to a dark house. I needed to talk to Doc, so, I got back on the road, leaving the kids to watch Return of the Jedi with Pop. When I got home, I found Wally walking around my neighbor, Jerry's, front yard. Jerry's truck was blaring the Browns-Steelers game, but Jerry was nowhere to be found. It was weird and kind of surreal. The wind was blowing like crazy and Jimmy Donovan was telling us all about the game as if nothing strange was happening at all.
We wandered over to Franks and found Doc over there, watching a movie and having a beer. Oooh, I was ticked. Frank kept asking me to sit down and relax, but I couldn't even answer him. I finally got a word in edgewise and asked Doc to come back to the house and help me out for a minute. He had the flashlight and we made our way through the back yards into the garage. We stood there for a moment trying to figure out what to do. We were at an impasse. The kids were at my parents, Doc wasn't about to leave and I wanted everyone to be together.
It ended up that I was able to find some clothes and all my stuff to take over to Mom & Dad's. Doc wanted to be home in case a tree fell on the house and it caught on fire. I kind of thought that was exactly the situation wherein I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the house. But Doc's a post-apocalyptic man; he's ready for the end of the world. So we parted ways agreeing to disagree and I made my third trip out.
By the time I got back to my parents, I was wound so tight from stress and PMS that I could have chewed through nails. The girls where asleep and Pop was not far from it. My Grandma and cousins were still up though and asked if I wanted to play poker. Why not? But then Wendi saw the box of hair color I brought and asked if I would rather she color my hair for me.
"Yes," I said, "That would be great."
We got into our jammies and I mixed the solution and she donned the gloves. We got a chair and some towels and a comb. I sat down and she spent the next 20 minutes applying the hair color. I don't know why this is, but if someone brushes my hair for me, it flips my switch from "torqued" to "mellow" in about 3 seconds. I could feel all that weird stress that had blustered around me all day dwindle and die down.
We chatted about this and that as she applied the color and we waited for the timer to go off. She also offered to rinse the color out for me and I almost passed out from gratitude. We got the water at the right temperature and I knealt on a towel in the bathroom near the tub. I leaned forward over the edge of the tub and let her begin rinsing.
She talked about what a great color this would be on me and how much like her daughter's hair color it is. She also told me it would be "glamourous." I just listened and felt overwhelmed by her kindness. I felt blessed to have her washing away the gunk, both physical and metaphysical. I could feel the tension and white noise leave my head flow out through my hair follicles and run down the strands of "Roasted Coffee" hair, into the drain.
I felt renewed; baptized by hair color. I was forgiven for being a basket case all day; all the tension and strain was washed away. I was glad to be in my jammies talking with the girls about hair and the mystery of men's minds. We eventually decided to head to bed. I hugged Wendi and told her to be safe on the road. She and Carol were leaving to continue their "Faith Walk" around the perimiter of the US. They wouldn't be back until Christmas. I told her I'd miss her very much and thanked her for coloring my hair.
I went to bed feeling loved and blessed and fortunate for having a family of strong, resourceful people. I was reluctantly proud that Doc was able to brave out the storm in the dark and protect the homestead. I felt lucky to have a homebase in my parents' house where we could all meet and find our bearings. And I was certainly blessed by an impomptu and healing slumber party.