Friday, November 13, 2009

A Night of Darkness

It was a dark and stormy night. A November nor'easter was flashing its windy, rainy head, flooding the area, ripping off branches and stripping the trees of the last of their colorful leaves. Inside, our family was hunkered down, cuddled in warm blankets, watching the first of our fresh stock of movie rentals, Wall-E. And right in the middle, just when the story starts to get real weird and political for a kids movie, with the fat people suffering from bone loss, the electricity went out, abruptly putting an end to our stormy night movie marathon. Claire's first reaction was to say with some distress, "What happened to Wall-E?"; My first reaction was to let out a wicked cackle and say with some giddy excitement, "Let's play Murder!"; Cody's first reaction was to grab the flashlight and say with some steady calmness, "I am going to load the guns."

Maybe I should preface this story with some important facts that will in some part explain our reactions.

First of all, Claire likes Wall-E regardless of the weird, political fat people part. Second, growing up, when there were power outages at night, I remember our family playing games, like Murder- you know, with candles and the blinking? And thirdly, Cody doesn't normally react this way in power outages. But in our area, there was a storm a couple of years ago that knocked out power for two weeks and we knew going into this storm that it was going to be pretty big, with wide-spread flooding and big winds. And being prepared in emergency survival situations is Cody's forte.

So while I played shadow puppets with the girls and made random ghost noises in the dark to try to scare the girls witless, Cody was piling up the matches and candles, prioritizing the flashlights based on what batteries they took, organizing our water supply, mentally going over our food supply, loading my gun, loading the shotgun, loading the AK 47 clips, and finally, taking a hot shower before the hot water ran out.

What's funny is that you don't really know which parts I am serious about and which parts I am kidding about.

It's all true.

Earlier that day, as we were anticipating the great storm, Cody came to me with a request. "Will you humor me with something?" Now Cody may have great survival instincts, but I have great 'roll-my-eyes' instincts, and anytime I am approached with a request to humor, I know there is going to be major eye-rolling and possible mocking going on. I was right, as usual.

"I want to show you how to load and unload the AK," he said in all seriousness, but with half a smile, because he knows me and my potential for mocking.

[Insert my mocking and eye rolling]

I understand his desire to be prepared and to protect his family, home, and food when calamitous crap hits the fan, but can he really see me using the AK. . . ever? I am more of a mace person. You attack my family, I will mace you. And if I was going to use a gun to defend myself, it would be a shotgun. Back in my Halo playing days, I totally rocked the shotgun- up close and personal was my style, no aiming necessary. Why would real life be any different? (the same question asked many a times by Halo nerds, and the main reason they can't find girlfriends)

As we said prayers that night, just to reiterate what was still her main concern, Claire's final petition in her prayer was that the electricity would come back on and that we could finish watching Wall-E. Morgan and she went to bed, peacefully, exhausted from our extensive shadow dancing. I bid them one final "wa-Ha-HA" as I blew out the candles and closed their door for a peaceful nights rest.

As for me, I wasn't as concerned about the potential rioting, looting, and mass public chaos that a food and water shortage from a prolonged power outage could cause (after all, by this point, the power had only been out for about two hours). I was more concerned by the fact that three kids was not going to be enough to play a good, rousing game of Murder, or even more importantly, Mafia. I was stuck pondering how I was going to convince Cody that we needed to have at least five more kids. I was shaken out of my reverie by the sound of something landing hard on the ground outside. I shifted my concern to the huge, ancient pecan tree in our front yard, afraid that it might be blown over in the wind storm, or at the least, one of it's huge appendages would fall and smash our vehicles. So Cody donned his camouflaged rain gear and braved the rain, wind, and pelting pecans, to move his truck out of the way of danger.

When he came back inside, he expressed to me how pleased he was that he had these rain clothes, and headlamps, and guns, and every other piece of hunting/fishing equipment that he has purchased over the years, feeling totally justified in the thousands of dollars spent, because it all came down to this one moment. This one moment of emergency preparedness (power's been out for 2.25 hours now). For this peace of mind, it made it all worth it.

He laid his head down on his pillow and closed his eyes. For him, this night was the pinnacle of all his studying and practical applications (which, no doubt, all his hours of hunting and fishing are); this was his Hunger Games, his Triple Crown, his creme de la creme, his Mount Everest, his Tour De France, his National Spelling Bee. He fell fast asleep, with complete peace and satisfaction knowing that he was fulfilling his job as protector of our family, more than ready to face whatever struggles or horrors we might have to face. He fell asleep, with his feet metaphorically dug in, ready and prepared for the long haul.

An hour later, the power came back on.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bests and Worsts

It was the best of weeks; it was the worst of weeks.

Back in the golden days of blogging, my sister and I would write posts about the best and worst part of our weeks. I haven't done it in years, but I have had just such a week that showcased my embarrassing incompetence tucked in with the kinds of redeeming things that make life fine.

note: for perspective and clarification sake, this particular week happened two weeks ago.

Let's start with my moments of embarrassing incompetence. I have two, in the same week. I was a superstar that week. First off, I lost my credit card at a gas station. I have never lost my credit card before and the person who happened to find it decided they wanted to get some gas of their own, in three different gas stations, all on me. Sweet. Who uses a credit card that isn't theirs?? I know. That is a naive question. But thankfully, our credit card takes care of fraud charges. Unfortunately, that is only the first of two majorly dumb moments by me.

The second is potentially more costly. I backed our minivan into a parked car. Sweet. I was going super slow, and was actually in the middle of a seven point turn, and what resulted was a scratch in my bumper and a small, barely noticeable dent in the door of the other car. So I had to leave a note (because I am not the kind of person who puts dents in cars and then drives away and I am not the kind of person who uses other people's credit cards). Grrrrrr. That's all I have to say about that.

I did have a couple of high points that week, too. It was the week we went to Busch Gardens, and it was so much fun to watch my kiddos enjoy the rides (okay, mostly I watched Claire enjoy the rides, and Morgan just tolerate them). The second thing that week was a girls night I had with some gals from the ward. I hosted it here at my house and I was excited to have a good night of talking, laughing, swedish fish, and getting to know the woman here better. It didn't disappoint. I had such a good time and it was so refreshing. And. . . they all showed up with gifts for baby boy. My friend, Amy, had arranged a surprise baby shower for me. I was so surprised and touch. Not only was it very helpful in getting ready for the baby, but also it meant a lot to me that I have friends here that wanted to celebrate with me the coming of our little one.

That is comforting. It made the things that didn't go so right that week seem not quite so important. Thank you Amy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Lost Art

There is so much to Halloween nowadays. Back in the day you just went trick or treating once, where you went door to door, rang on doorbells. You know, you really had to work for your candy. Nowadays, you have the trunk or treat at the church, the school party, the trick or treating at dad's work, and then finally the night of trick or treating, but by that point you have so much candy in the house, you start wondering if you are actually a share holder in the amalgam business. I seriously don't like trunk or treats and here is why. It's just a line of kids, moving slowly with their hands and bags (sometimes pillowcases, darn teenagers) held out, waiting mindlessly for some guy in a witch hat to put candy in their bag. Where is the sport in that? There is no walking up patio steps, no ringing doorbells, no sing song "trick or treat" and "thank you", no preening in your costume at each house as the old ladies try to guess what kinda princess/scary murderer you are. It's over in 20 minutes at trunk or treats. Why don't they just spare us the assembly line and hand each of us a bag of candy as we pull through the parking lot? We don't even have to stop. A drive-thru trick or treat is just as sporting.

Do I sound cynical? A week of non-stop eating candy has done that to me.

I made the girls costumes this year- loved Morgans, wished I wouldn't have attempted Claire. Claire wore hers to the trunk or treat and then the rest of the week I let her wear a dress up dress with wings. Morgan really got the concept of trick or treating this year. She thinks it is the best idea in the whole world, that she dresses up in a costume and people hand her candy. She wakes everyone morning and nap, demanding more chocolate.

{A sweet moment, Claire helping Morgan feel better after she fell and skinned her knee}

{An awkward moment, just trying to get a sisters picture}

As much as I love Halloween, I am glad it is over. And that it is now November. I am having a baby in November. Who will most likely be born on a sugar high. Sorry, baby boy.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween