Friday, 10 am: Hurricane time all the time…on every station. Morning team warns violent winds will topple trees like proverbial matchsticks; advises trimming bushes and trees with dead branches close to the house. I pick shriveled leaves off dying jade plant; give it a soupcon of water.
Saturday, 2 pm: Pictures of ravaged North Carolina landscape demonstrate need to stock up on water and non-perishable foods to survive days, or even weeks, without power should the storm unexpectedly shift its track. I check supply of peanut butter (two jars), bread (seven hamburger buns leftover from the last cookout) and liquids (a case of beer in the basement); ready to take Irene’s best punch.
Saturday, 11 pm: Reports from New York City confirm every local weatherman’s worst fear: the monster is becoming more tame by the hour and will take aim on central Massachusetts, not Boston. Nevertheless, they warn us that wicked winds will endanger electrical grid – so we shouldn’t think about trying to sleep too soundly tonight. I fill the bathtub with enough water to flush the toilets for a month, then set alarm for 10 am to make sure I don’t oversleep the pending show.
Sunday, 9 am: Rain, which pounded the roof for a good 25 minutes, is now heavy mist. Wind is intermittently howling through the trees, though only a few twigs litter the backyard – no flying objects in evidence. I turn off alarm and return to dreams of flying over tattered rooftops.
Sunday, 6 pm: Bands of rain and strongest winds long over, so my wife and I head out for monthly poetry meet-up. Round first curve to spy 40-foot oak lying across the road. Call 911 to report the tree downing, then take back way to poetry.
Monday, 8 am: Picture perfect summer day; power still on, no water damage in sight. Empty tub, put away candles, make PB&J sandwich for breakfast, while suspiciously eying one of the oaks in back, which seems to be leaning farther to the west than it used to.
Monday, 4 pm: Receive phone call from next-door neighbor who wants to know if power is back on yet. Since power in our house is still cranking strong, I plead ignorance. His cell phone suddenly goes dead.
Tuesday, 10 am: Run into another neighbor walking his dog; his sleuthing has uncovered half dozen houses on the street still without power, which is odd since we all share underground utilities. Offer him my house for showering and fresh drinking water. He declines declaring the power company promised to fix the outage by Thursday.
Wednesday, 11 am: Spot power company truck in front of house…just minutes before electricity goes dead. Take candles back out of the drawer and make PB&J sandwich for lunch.
Wednesday, noon: Power restored – for 37 minutes. Decide only appropriate course of action is to dig into Jonathan Franzen’s latest 500+ page novel, which I’ve been staring at lamely for four months.
Wednesday, 5 pm: Three chapters in, power restored. Call my wife and suggest dinner out since everything in freezer is still hard as granite. Leave candles on counter just in case.