weathering the storm

photo by jim@grahamstudios.com

There are some among us who believe that I control the weather. What else can explain that when I convert my closet from lightweight summer staples to wooly fall splendor, the temperatures climb back up into the 90s? Or how breaking out a pair of flip flops in the early spring can cause it to snow? While I did take credit for the earthquake that hit the mid-Atlantic earlier this week (after all, I was in the middle of an angry recounting of how it was the first week of school and my younger son’s class inexplicably was still without a teacher) please do not blame Hurricane Irene on me. Even though I am wholly unprepared for her to unleash her wrath on D.C.

Maybe it’s because I cannot imagine a situation worse than Snowmaggedon, when I was one of four houses on my block without power, which is not exactly the type of outage that sends Pepco immediately to the rescue. (Except Pepco did come sooner than expected thanks to a phone call to my friend Nathan, an arborist for the utility who came to my house during his “break” between 18-hour shifts to identify the problem and call-in a downed (live) wire.) Maybe it’s because the last two “hurricanes” I prepared for (Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and Hurricane Gloria in 1985) were severely downgraded by the time they hit my region. Maybe it’s my well-stocked wine “cellar.” Whatever the reason, I cannot succumb to the pre-storm hype.

I do have a seven-year old who is deathly afraid of this impending storm. So afraid that he had nightmares last night and has asked me approximately every seven minutes whether Hurricane Irene is here yet. He’s envisioning a flooded basement, a river running down our street, and felled trees. He collected every flashlight in the house and set about replacing the batteries of the ones that needed fresh juice. He asked me to bake chocolate chip cookies to make him feel better on this rainy day. And he is milking me for as much TV as possible before the power goes out.

I didn’t buy any bottled water, though I did get the kids their favorite snacks and bought some candles. I didn’t pick up any sand bags at RFK, but did buy fresh eggs at the farmer’s market this morning, even though I already had a dozen in my refrigerator (omelets tomorrow?). I don’t have an evacuation plan or a full tank of gas, but I’m not sure if it comes to that I would get far in my Prius with two kids and three cats.

Now that I have spelled it all out, I have a twinge of regret I am not better prepared, but there’s really nothing to do at this point but sit back, stay calm, hope for the best for our friends in the path of the brunt of the storm, and uncork some wine. Chardonnay and/or sparkling first and reds after the power has gone out.

And hopefully by Monday all the hurricane songs will be purged from my head.