Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wind storm and gratitude

Oh, yes, Thanksgiving was more than a week away which means the ubiquitous "I'm thankful for..." moment has passed me by.  I did, however, assign my students a short essay with that topic, and one of them noted that they had similar assignments when they were in first grade.  Nice.
As for Turkey Day, it was a great weekend.  We braved the crowds of LAX, which ended up being lighter than we expected, and made it safely to Texas.  Over Thanksgiving, we enjoyed much good food and drink (lots of good drink).  In addition to the usual turkey, we stuffed ourselves on Friday, eating Mexican food for lunch and dinner, once on "our" side of the border and the other time on the "other" side.  Good times and lots of margaritas!
We also made the most of our travels!  The first photo is from our layover in Houston - damn, those beers are Texan-sized!

Upon our return to LA, our bags were delayed for no reason at all.  So, we got a drink at the Encounter bar, this crazy, futuristic 60's-style bar/restaurant (it looks like something out of "The Jetsons!").  Instead of being angry and impatient about our bags, I totally chilled out:

Now, back to the theme of gratitude.  It's a timely topic since I found myself more grateful than ever yesterday afternoon when we walked into our house and discovered that we had POWER for the first time in 60+ hours!  Power meant heat, lights, heat, refrigerator, heat, washing machine, heat.  Did I mention heat?!  I realize that we don't live in the Northeast, so losing power for 2.5 days doesn't have quite the same bite that it could, but our house had settled into a rather cold state, not budging much above 58 degrees (or something like that - maybe 55?!).  I spent the past few days wearing long underwear, Smart Wool socks and a beanie as I wandered around the house!
All of this made me hyper-aware of the fact that:
1. I obviously could not survive well if suddenly transported to a different time period where heat was not common.
2.  I am totally lame.
3.  I am totally lame.

Despite days of some grumbling and feeling 'on edge', I tried to be appreciative of the fact that we did NOT have any major damage, unlike many, many people in the Pasadena area who were not so lucky.  Michael and I also enjoyed a few candlelit nights of backgammon (I emerged the winner one night while he completely routed me the next) and good conversation.  I try not to take for granted the fact that I consider myself lucky in many ways, but this served as an important reminder, especially when it comes to living and sharing a life with a person whom I actually like and with whom I enjoy spending time.  I do believe that the regular day-to-day humming along of life can mask whether or not you actually like the person that, in theory, is your partner, in one way or another, but when you have nothing else but candles and conversation, then you sure as hell had better enjoy each other's company!
So, we did survive the crazy, record-breaking windstorm of 2011, and we both enjoyed a serendipitously unexpected day off work on Thursday.  I have experienced snow days before, when I lived in Philly and Seattle, but never a 'wind day', so this was something new.  Michael and I spent much time in the car driving around so that we could charge our cellphones.  Crazy, I know!
Friday was a bit complicated at work.  We still did not have power on Friday, nor did many of my students.  I took my cellphones and other electronic items to work and plugged them in; so did many of my students!   Needless to say, very few people (I include myself in this group) could focus on Friday.  I think people's emotions ranged from giddiness to frustration to anger.  While we resorted to bar food on Thursday, we were determined to eat in house on Friday.  We still had eggs and a few other items that we could cook up on the stovetop which did still work thanks to the gas stove.  Cooking by headlamp and candles - almost like camping!  Especially considering that I wore multiple layers.  I think my teeth were still chattering:

Finally, on Saturday - bliss, oh, bliss, our power came back on!  I would like to say that I'm a more profound person, but I was ecstatic when we walked into a WARM house.  After avoiding being in our house for a few days because of the chill that set into my bones as soon I walked into the house, it delighted me to feel welcome in my own house and to not pull on my long underwear to hang out on the sofa!

So, we still have a little shrine that we resurrected in order to remember our 2.5 day 'ordeal'.  Please note the bottles as our candle-holders!


mindful mule said...

There is something nice about forced downtime, reading by candlelight, and going to bed at 8pm.

Mexican food in Mexico sounds awesome!

kilax said...

When we had crazy wind storms this summer and our power went out I felt the same way! We only had it out for a day but it was one of the hottest days of the year... I felt bad how much I rely on electricity!

Kristina said...

Mr. Mindful,
YES - the forced downtime was great, especially on Thursday when we had a day off school! We have contemplated having a "no electricity" night once a month or so. We shall see about that.
And the Mexican food was GREAT! So were the margaritas...

I was actually thankful that it happened in December and not the summer. While it was cold (NOT, of course, by your standards), I can handle the chill much better than terrible heat. Ugh!
Yeah - the reliance on modern day comforts was really highlighted throughout the power outage.