05 July 2012

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces

It seems there is a sort of storm called a derecho. I'd never heard the term before, despite the fact that the BBC reported that such storms are locally known by that name in the Washington area, and that the weather blog at the Washington Post said they tend to occur in this area once every 4 years.

('When local weather becomes international news' is probably a good a sign as any that you've had some impressive meteorological activity).

We lost power at the beginning of the storm on Friday night, and got it back on Tuesday afternoon.

It should be noted that without electricity we also were without running water, since we need electricity to run the well pump.

We were able to decamp to my mother's house for the duration, where she had electricity and running water. We consider it fortunate that the only property damage was a cracked windshield (courtesy of a fallen branch) and insurance covered most of that. It could have been worse. It was still bad enough.

Monday morning, on the Office of Personnel Management's word that the government was open, and absent any specific information on my agency's web site, I got up and drove to work, only to be turned away at the door because the building had no power. Telework was suggested as an alternative to taking 'unscheduled leave,' but the telephone systems and network drives were all unavailable, because those need electricity to run, too. It seems unfair to be forced to take annual leave under those circumstances.

I usually try to avoid shopping on national holidays, because it seems to me that national holidays should be, you know, holidays. Even for people who work retail. I may be fighting a losing battle here, but I have to live with myself, and so I try.

I usually try to clean my house with 'eco-friendly' substances like baking soda or lemon juice, and elbow grease.

I am not ashamed, however, to admit I drove to Safeway on the Fourth of July and bought a gallon of bleach, among other things. I had to throw out everything in my fridge, and the house smelled like feet.

It is unfortunate but true that my county has recently switched to once-weekly trash collection (down from twice weekly, allegedly to cut costs) so that even as I discard spoiled foodstuffs, I will have to wait until next Tuesday to have them removed by our hardworking (and long-suffering) sanitation crews. My options are to put the bags outside, where they will probably attract raccoons, or keep them inside, where they will not likely improve the indoor aroma. I am trying to direct as much as I can to the composter, but still, and ugh.

If the composter puts you in mind of the garden, please, don't ask. For all the wind and chaos, we got very little rain, and it's a wasteland.

T.S. Eliot

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