Sep 21, 2008

Blackout in Mayberry

Sorry that I wasn’t able to write my blog last week. We had a giant wind storm and lost power long enough to lose the food in our fridge. Our power has obviously been restored now (or I wouldn’t be typing), but there are still thousands in the area without power, and it’s been almost a week!

When the electricity went out, we lit candles, chatted, and waited for the winds to die down. You get pensive during a storm. We talked about how fortunate we are to live in such a great neighborhood. Everyone here is kind, caring, and just so nice. They’re always helpful and these young parents are so devoted to their babies. There’s a smattering of us with older children too, and everyone gets along. I feel like we have a little utopia right here on our street.

You learn a lot about humans in the aftermath of a storm, especially when you start looting. The first thing I learned is that most of our neighbors are trusting and never lock their doors. How charming! On the east-coast, everything would be locked down, and people would have their loaded weapons pointed out the window at prospective trespassers. Too paranoid for me!

Next, I learned that people don't realize that expensive alarm systems are rendered useless without electricity. Our neighbor across the street is single, lives alone, and barely makes the bills, but she just bought an alarm system to protect her pride and joy -- a collection of French impressionist art. I know she worked hard to purchase all those valuable pieces, and I felt sad for her as my sons and I took each painting off the wall while she went out to buy an emergency radio. I told them to remember this lesson: never get attached to “stuff,” like this poor, crazy woman did. It’s funny how people get so out of perspective that they live and work for their “things.” I felt much better when we got home and hung her paintings on our living room wall. They didn’t look as good in her house.

I also learned that some people have great talents that they are afraid to share with the world. My best friend, Jenny, lives across the street and is practically a sister to me, but until we snuck into her house while she was outside helping an elderly neighbor, I never knew that she has a great talent for photography. I was ready to shut down her computer, the kind I’ve always wanted, when I noticed the most captivating pictures of her children on her screen saver. The photos were like art; she captured feelings, expressions, joy. As I carried her flat-screen monitor to my back door, I wondered if Jenny ever backed up her hard drive. I’d hate to think she’d lose all those photos because of a lack of foresight. I decided to print some out for myself before wiping out her hard drive, but my sons forgot to steal the printer. Kids! You can talk till you’re blue in the face, but they just never listen! I was still happy about my new windfall, but it hurt me to think that Jenny’s budding talent was thwarted due to a storm.

We walked through the neighborhood and got to chat with all the neighbors. When they, too, went to assist others, we were able to get all sorts of nice stuff – a Chihuahua, a sports-car, a Great Dane, some really well-behaved children (their parents should be proud), and this little grandmother who was just so adorable that we had to have her.

Now our entire neighborhood has electricity again, and things are back to normal. Yes, I have a house full of people, and I’m not sure where I’ll store all this new stuff, but we’ll get it all sorted out. That’s just the way it is after a storm -- work, work, work. I’m a little disturbed to see that the grandmother keeps drinking something out of a silver flask – not a good influence on a house full of children, but I’ll worry about it in the morning. As I go to bed and watch the blades of the Gonzales’ ceiling fan gently move the air in my bedroom, I feel a sense of peace to have such great people around me and to be blessed with so many new, material things and those sweet children, who I am now proud to call my own. With so many people in the house, Christmas is going to be very expensive, but I have faith that we will be provided for -- I heard the weatherman say we’re expecting a stormy winter.<>