As you all are probably aware, much of the US is enduring a record breaking heat wave. And last week, nine states got hit with a major storm called a derecho. The worst of it dropped on Ohio and Virginia. I live in a valley in Virginia where the mountains normally shield us from harsh storms but my city was among the worst hit.
Friday night my husband and kids and I were out on the balcony enjoying the cool night breeze. Suddenly the lights flickered and a gust of wind came along that nearly blew over my little Henri. Toys scattered everywhere, my nightgown flew up, Aurora lost her bubble wand. We all got inside and listened to the wind howl and swirl around us. The lights went out for good and I sat down and kicked myself for letting the house become a mess. How was I going to run the dishwasher, do laundry, and vacuum, now? Darn procrastination!
Soon we realized how bad the storm was and how millions of people were without power. Then I realized that the fridge was going to get warm and I had my insulin in there. We went days without power-something I’ve never experienced and certainly not during a heat wave. The inside of the apartment reached 95 degrees and so we stocked the freezer with ice and packed not just my insulin inside but my strips and medications, too. It was a balancing act to make sure things were cool but not too cold. In the end all of my stuff ended up fine but I’m super grateful for some of the lessons I got from this experience:
-Sleeping on the balcony with Alex and the kids is not that bad. We were under the stars, doing something utterly new, young enough to handle the wooden planks against our backs, and nothing poisonous or disease carrying bit us. Ironically, I did get a bunch of bed bug bites, but I was the only one. I guess they went for the sweetest one (um, thanks diabetes).
-I learned that when the kids threw all three flashlights in the toilet last year, it caused them all to rust and be useless when we needed them the most. So no more children playing with the flashlights or other emergency supplies!
-I was having a mini meltdown just before the storm hit. I felt like I had too much to do and not enough time to do it. Then the power went out and I was forcefully removed from many of my tasks on the internet. I let out a sigh of relief and decided I’d attempt to go with the flow and focus on what was important.
-I drove around my city without stopping at any stoplights because they were all out, saw trees down in every direction, and heard an eerie silence. It was rather freeing and calming. It was also a break from the norm-something that always wakes me up and makes me feel alive. What about you?
-I ate a third or a fourth of what I normally eat for days because of enduring high heat that I’m not used to enduring. I wasn’t hungry. I realized I still have some anxious eating to tackle. Maybe this happens to others? We’re so comfortable in our climate controlled environments that we aren’t connected to what the body needs. I focused on staying hydrated and ate foods that digest quickly and felt great.
-I heard about people dying from the heat, kids who were crushed by trees, a couple who was electrocuted, etc. All I could do was feel really lucky.
-It was a humbling experience to sleep outside, on the floor of my sister’s apartment, and on my niece’s bed. Just as it was humbling to walk around with my air dried unkempt hair and sweaty clothes. Next time I see someone who looks a mess I’ll think about what struggle they might be up against.
-My kids had the best time of their lives because we were around so much family. They didn’t miss what I missed. They know the best thing in life is other people. I needed that reminder.
I really hope you all had a Happy 4th of July!
We all do have a lot to be grateful for, even if our country isn’t perfect.