Tales in the dark

With the ongoing weather- and age-related home issues we've had in recent years, I have been (sort of) joking to T that I am ready to just pack up the cats and a few sentimental items, quietly drive away, and let nature have her way with our house. She obviously wants our stuff and it is exhausting to constantly fight her for it. Between the wind and water and frequent power outages, these battles are quickly becoming a war.

In our neighborhood we no longer depend on continuous electricity and have coolers and flashlights at the ready. I don't cry anymore when I have to toss spoiled food from the freezer (Although it was quite painful to say goodbye to the gorgeous rhubarb custard pie I baked for my Called to the Table column this week. We ate only two slices before the pie sadly died from lack of refrigeration.), and T has developed a nice relationship with the wet vac rental guy.

We feel a lot less sorry for ourselves when we hear about friends who have thigh-high water in their basements, and farmers who have lost a year's worth of crops. I'm tinged with embarrassment for complaining about our ankle-deep ocean. In fact, I am thinking of filling the basement with sand and renting it out for indoor beach parties. Heck, when life gives you water, hire a lifeguard!

There have been brief moments of, yes, quiet bliss. This weekend we were in the middle of a Game of Thrones binge viewing when the lights flickered and the power loudly moaned its goodbye to our block. T found his battery-powered lamp and read out loud to me from the Civil War saga he's been enjoying all summer. Listening in the dark to his voice reminded me of a camping trip, years ago, when we visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites I hadn't yet been to, and made a brief stop at a Civil War battle site near Springfield, Missouri. One night we sat by the campfire roasting marshmallows and drinking sparkling wine from plastic tumblers while T talked about his favorite moments in American history, and I knew he was the guy for me.

As T read about the Battle of Wilson's Creek, I watched our neighbors from across the street stumbling blindly in the dark like confused and frightened children. The power never goes out on their side, even during last year's infamous three-day apocalypse. But last weekend they joined us in the shadows, and seemed a bit rattled from the experience. I wanted to comfort them with my burgeoning survival expertise, yet all I could muster was a warning from Game of Thrones. "Winter is coming!" I said to T. He nodded in understanding and kept reading to me by the glow of his blue lamp.


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