You heard that in Bert Lahr’s voice, of course. If you didn’t…
Tornadoes! In the Hudson Valley! If you are still doubting the reality of climate change – its rapidity and just how strange and scary the weather has become, ugh, you begone as well. Two (!) tornadoes touched down less than 5 miles from my house last week. The storm hit while I was on my way home from work. I made my driveway, tried to park clear of the thrashing bending trees and wildly wiggling power lines, and waited out the deluge in the Rogue with the engine running. No point trying to get to the house – the power was already out and there was too much debris flying around.
This is a bit craven, but one of the things I’ve always loved most about where I live was its freedom from outrageous natural disasters. Aside from the (very occasional) destructive blizzard we were safe from the things that plagued other parts of the country. “We are the Hudson Valley. No mudslides, no earthquakes, no wildfires, no lava eruptions, no desiccating droughts. And absolutely NO tornadoes.” From our snug berth we watched the news and wondered at folk who lived places where their homes were routinely ripped off their foundations by winds and were drowned in floods and disappeared into sinkholes. Now? Now we are no longer immune. Sigh.
We were without power for two days. Mick HATED it. He’s a city boy at heart and when the taps don’t flow and the lights don’t glow it unnerves him. It’s a control thing, my guy doesn’t like being reminded he’s not in charge of every bit of his life.
I honestly didn’t mind too much. There was enough jugged water to flush with and I could wash myself. Over the years we’ve amassed quite the assortment of battery-powered lights so in the evenings I settled on the front porch with a lantern and read. When Joe Barky wasn’t running his dopey generator the quiet was astonishing, and with my lantern off the darkness was absolute. I got a glimmer of why some people like to go camping. Not so much that I want to grab a tent and head out, but camping in my house wasn’t too bad.
By Friday morning life was mostly back in its groove. I went off to work showered and fed. Just by chance I pulled even with a crew truck from Central Hudson at the light by the Hess station. I motioned for the driver to roll his window down. “Hi! Thanks for getting my power back on!” He beamed. “Sorry it took so long!” I waved him off. “You guys are doing great! Thanks again!” I rolled away as the crew in the truck waved and gave thumb’s up. I don’t believe in stinting praise. Real praise, not that hideous “You breathed in AND out! Great job, Jaxon!” crap they dish at kids. The work crews aren’t responsible for the shakiness of our grid nor do they create the weather. Some thanks are in order to the ones out there busting their buns getting things going again.
You know how people feel about veterans nowadays? Grateful and anxious to acknowledge their service? I’m feeling like that about everybody lately. If there’s vanity mixed in like, “Ooo, look at what a terrific person I am!” I believe it’s small. Mostly it’s about paying it forward. And the Golden Rule. I can’t do much. Can’t afford my own congressman, and anyway I am sick of divisiveness of every sort. I used to march, and even got hauled to the pokey a half dozen times. All the noisy contentious methods and petitions and boycotts – been there, too tired to do that anymore. So praise it is. This I can do. I understand compliments wig some people out, but I can’t worry about it. If a sincere bit of appreciation is a problem perhaps you should work on that. In the meantime I’ll be over here doing my wee bit to push back the ugly.
To sustain myself (and emotionally soothe against the constant sorrow and outrage) my media consumption has been curated for maximum happy distraction. The Royal Wedding! Even more David Attenborough! Maeve Binchy! ‘Shrek’! ‘Gwendy’s Button Box’! Heather Blake’s ‘Wishcraft’ cozies! ‘The Special Needs Hotel’! *, ‘Class Swap’!’ *, inane but adorable Hallmark channel movies *, cooking shows in eight different languages *, plus the current repeat read rotation: ‘The Cheerleader’ by Ruth Doan MacDougall, ‘Heidi’ by Johanna Spyri (Magnum Easy-Eye edition), and as always a Stephen King.
* – Amazon Prime.
I’m flinching because next up on the ‘new’ pile is an Anna Quindlen. A beautiful storyteller, for certain. Oh, but her stories bite! Hard. Emotionally, I mean. She’s not a sob sister and yet I get knocked sideways and cry at least once (usually more) when I read her novels. Anna Quindlen’s fiction is picked at sometimes – belittled because her settings and characters are most often in the affluent nicey-white burbs of NY or Boston. I object! In Anna Quindlen’s world privilege is no insulation from violence, tragedy, stupidity, or heartbreak. Maybe I’m not woke enough but I’ve never found her characters expecting extra patting or sympathy because they were too WASP-y to deserve tough times.
Then again I am also partial to Nancy Meyers’ movies. I watch and think, “Maybe right now I don’t have spotless beige linen furniture…but I could.”
Speaking of living spaces, I’ve been sleeping on the front porch. I love it out there. There’s an old but still springy and comfy twin mattress and box spring that we pretend is a daybed, and screened windows and an efficient ceiling fan. I crashed there the first time because of the power outage. My room was an airless sauna without the a/c and on the porch it was cool and breezy. I had a really good sleep that night and have been there since.
Living on the porch (mostly, I’m here in my office now) has added real-life experience to my tiny house daydreams. I know I could do it now. Before using the porch my tiny house living was an HGTV zipless fuck. It was all about the layout and decor. I had no idea if I’d actually be content in such a wee space. Question answered. Yes, yes I would. Add a galley kitchen where the boot shelves are and tuck a bathroom in somewhere and I’m all kinds of good. The zipless part, of course, is the mysterious financing of my tiny personal nest and the alternate timeline without Mick or my kids but also no grief like they died.
One very important detail I knew even before moving onto the porch was the bed has to be on the main level. NO loft bedrooms. Too impractical for me, not only am I very tall and don’t do 3′ ceilings, I pee at least twice a night and I refuse to clamber down a ladder at 3:00 am to use the potty. In my tiny house the loft would be for storage. Out of season clothing, cleaning stuff (ever notice on tiny house shows there’s never a visible broom or vacuum?), and all the rest of the unlovely but necessary goods I need for a whole life. Books, holiday decor, table linens, movies, and accessories. I have a minimal wardrobe, even now, and without scarves, hats, jewelry, and an army of nail polishes and lipsticks I might as well be Amish for all the pizzazz my actual clothing has.
Though I did punch things up today. I went shopping for myself.
GASP! Say it isn’t so, LA!
Please, it’s me. The clearance mojo was strong. My retail spidey-sense called me to the weird little ghost mall. Three stops and I was on my way home with two dresses, a gorgeous top, earrings, and two pair of sandals. You’ll hurt yourself when I tell you how much. $68 and change. For all of it. Everything was clearanced already then an additional 40% off. Who buys earrings for 83 cents? I do.
I took Terri T’s advice and am trying to stop punishing myself. I MUST get over that I’m fat again. So. Got a super short haircut. Toe and finger nails are a lovely orchid. Clothes. Pretty ones. Casual swingy dresses in a soft jersey- princess seaming, scoop necked, short sleeved. One is a navy and white floral paisley and the other an abstract of brushstrokes of blues on a white background. For the top I did retreat to black, but this thing is cool. Gauze, pin-tucks, lace inserts, bell sleeves – Stevie Nicks would approve. The sandals are mega-casual. Leather flip-flops, and a pair of faux Tevas. I am definitely a woman in comfortable shoes*.
*This used to be a euphemism about a certain style of lesbian but nowadays it refers to any woman who follows her own lead.
Which, unfortunately has to be on my own time, I’m not sure of the exact thing that pushed management over the edge but there was a big notice posted at the time clock about dress code violations and consequences thereof a couple days ago. All kinds of blabba about tats and piercings and hair colors and styles and appropriate footwear. The last I can see because it’s a safety thing, but ain’t nobody going to storm out of the store and start a boycott because their cashier had purple hair or an accent nail with glitter on it. I loathe how little faith corporate types have in people. They are so risk avoidant its pathetic. ONE crankenpuss complains and it prompts an entire new policy. How about the other thousands of people who managed to do their shopping just fine? Why not ask them how they feel? It’s the shoe bomber approach- one asshole tried to light his shoe on fire and now EVERYBODY has to take off their damn shoes to go through airport security. ONE asshole complained the deli clerk didn’t cut her low-sodium turkey breast thin enough and now it takes an hour to get your stuff at the deli because every clerk has to cut a slice and get the customer’s approval for every single meat and cheese they order. EVERY ONE. You know how long this takes? Especially when the thickness has to be debated? Multiple inspection slices – “Um, maybe a tiny bit thicker this time?”. GAH! So it goes until you want to grab a salami and commit an unnatural act on the picky-pants customer. You know how much business they lose because some folks won’t wait? But this truth never enters the sanctum where the decisions are made.
Feh. I believe in common sense marketing like I believe in common sense everything. I do believe in great service. But perfect service is impossible. Nor is it desirable. Perfect service means everything and everyone is so watered down and homogenized that ‘bland’ is considered racy.
Golly, I’ve been adding to this for days now trying to bring it back to tornadoes. No pithy callback forthcoming though. Nor a summation. Guess I got no spin. Heh.
Much love, ~LA