Over the last 24 hours, I have struggled to put into words, even in my own mind, why I feel affected so strongly by this past weekend. On the face of it, there are no particular traumas direct enough to affect me:
- I didn’t experience the storm that ravaged Ottawa — I missed the rain before 4:15 p.m. as I was at work, and by 5:15, I was at home with Jacob hanging out and playing board games by flashlight, no real issues;
- One of the tornadoes hit our “area” and in theory it *could* affect me, but it wasn’t MY neighbourhood, proximity is more tangental in that it hit close to Jacob’s school. However, the school itself wasn’t affected and while the actual neighbourhood is near where I used to live, that was 20 years ago, and I never went over near the area that was hit…it’s pretty removed from my life, and I don’t feel any internal, personal resonance to the location; and,
- I was without power for 60 hours, but well, so what? Under the heading of #FirstWorldPowers, that ranks pretty low in impact. It was annoying, not debilitating.
I’m combing through the events of the last four days, but I can’t put my finger on something specific, or even feel like the cumulative effect should be resonating so strongly with me.
For context, Andrea left for work early, so I needed to drop the cub at the bus stop for his school bus. Made it just in time, and then while talking with another kid’s Mom who lives nearby that we’re friends with, it started to pour rain. By the time I got back to the house, a short two blocks away, I was soaked to the bone. It felt like I had gone swimming. I was still in casual clothes, so no big deal to change anyway, and then off to work. Good day, not as productive as I would have liked, but not bad. And then a little craziness to arrange transport schedules and logistics with Andrea from her day-long retreat and head home to get the cub. Nothing out of the ordinary but there was a tornado watch/warning in effect. Something that happens irregularly throughout the summer and usually turns out to be for naught. As we went up Woodroffe and got close to our house, traffic started to slow and it became obvious that there were lights out going down Woodroffe. A quick detour through our neighbourhood with other lights out and I dropped Andrea at home. Couldn’t get the dang garage door to open which I was doing from the street, and my first thought was the angle or the distance, and then we both suddenly realized, “Doh, it’s not just traffic lights that are out, our zone must be out too, therefore it won’t open!”. Of course. I drove to the other side of the neighbourhood and picked J up from the daycare, and voila, they still had power. So obviously not a “big” outage, right?
Back home, power definitely out, no biggie I thought. Andrea was getting ready for a girls weekend with her Mom and sister out of town, so they headed off and Jacob and I hunkered down to a couple of board games by the light of the patio doors, supplemented around 7:00 by a small lantern / flashlight and my astronomy powerpack that has a light on it. About 7:30 p.m., power still wasn’t back on yet, so I thought we might as well go out and grab some food somewhere. By now, I had seen some reports on Facebook and it was clear it was wider than we thought at 5:00 p.m., with some real damage some places nearby (Arlington Woods). I still figured that maybe it would take 24 hours for the power to come back on, but because I hadn’t seen much of any storm, I didn’t feel like it had been “that bad”. A temporary power problem plus some highly localized damage.
J and I drove over to Woodroffe and inched our way down to the Queensway. I had a choice to make — East towards downtown, Gloucester, Orleans, etc. but traffic didn’t look promising coming back. I opted to go West. Nothing for several blocks. Some buildings by Bayshore had power. Bells Corners looked dark, as did Moodie North. Near Castlefrank in Kanata, lights were on at the Legion, Wave Pool, and a new hotel (not sure it’s open yet), but a block or two South of that was dark. Centrum was mostly dark, and based just on the car lineups, if anything WAS open still, lineups inside would have been nuts. I backtracked and headed down the 416. Fallowfield, Strandherd, Barrhaven South, all dark. I went another exit or two and reversed direction.
By this time it was getting closer to 9:00, and I was getting annoyed that I couldn’t find food for Jacob. If it was just me, I would have probably returned home, ate a bunch of little snack things, had some junk food, and moved on. Basically I would have not worried too much about the balance or health, just the fuel side. With Jacob, obviously I needed to be more responsible than that, so we gave up our tour search, and headed for home. I thought I would avoid Woodroffe and try going across Baseline, but when I got off at Hunt Club, I couldn’t go North on Cedarview. Lines down, trucks there trying to fix things, our first real signs of damage and repairs. I opted to go West again over to Moodie and back up to Bells Corners just in case anything was open, but it was all dark. Lights were out, but traffic was relatively light, and I made good time.
Near Queensway Hospital, power was on. The Hospital, traffic lights either side, a couple of buildings, all with power. And then we went by a Dollar Store and Fat Albert’s fast food place. Oh. My. God. I’ve been in that parking lot, which also serves an Appletree, when I thought it was busy at Hallowe’en or Christmas. This had about 3 times that many cars in it, and I momentarily thought, “Should I stop?” before my brain said, “Are you crazy?”. The rest of Baseline was fine.
I was trying to keep J’s spirits up, but we were now past 9:00 and he was thus both hungry and REALLY tired. I also didn’t realize that he had been still texting Andrea from the backseat while on my phone. I had given it to him to look at something, and he started texting her because, well, it was obvious when I got out of the car and read the history, he had been a bit stressed because nothing was open and there was nowhere to go.
We still had food of course back home, I just wanted something cooked and since I didn’t have an easy cooking solution, I had opted to go out. Instead, we ended up back at the dining room table eating apples, yogourt, a sandwich or something bread-like, and I think some chips too. He was pretty tired, so I helped him get his lenses out, and he tumbled into bed. I let him sleep in his clothes, he was so tired. And gave him a flashlight as his security blanket.
Then it was my turn. I switched all my mobile devices to maximum power saving modes, and made do with what I had. But the real challenge for me in a power outage of this sort is that I normally use a BiPAP machine to help with my sleep apnea. Sleeping without it is possible, sure, but if I even take a nap on a couch without it, I wake up with a sore throat the size of Montana. My throat dries out big time and it feels like I’m swallowing glass until I can rehydrate. So I prefer to use it, it works well for me. But no power = no machine in my case (some come with power backups), and thus I slept without it. Which meant I woke up every 45-90 minutes throughout the night, and would rehydrate, roll over, and try again. I also am a bit of a music/white noise fiend. One song and I’m out usually, but without the machine or any music, I was struggling. Probably the worst sleep I have had in my own bed in about 4 years. And that’s saying something for me.
But, whatever, I thought, the power would likely be back on for Saturday, it’s never more than about 12-18 hours, and even that is exceptionally long.
My alarm went off Saturday morning. I have it set for 7 days a week, but I turn it off and on each day, I don’t leave it running. Except apparently I did on Friday so it was still set Saturday morning, and it has battery backup. Ook. I tried to turn it off, but spoiler alert, Sunday showed me I had not done it correctly.
Jacob played on his tablet for awhile, then came into our bedroom and read by the big bright window. He was a little bored, but at least we could have normal cereal with still-cold milk. Plus apple juice, no toast, but doing okay. We started playing board games and that lasted until lunch time.
Information was a bit spotty about who had power and who didn’t. The Ottawa Hydro map was, at that time at least, borderline useless. Most people were relying on Facebook and Twitter to figure out what was happening, and crowdsourcing was helping.
Except in some cases it wasn’t. The official reports said Nepean was “out”. Yep, almost all of it. They also said Gloucester and Orleans in the same list, yet people were saying, “Nope, we have power”. Which looked like maybe there were some pockets with power. No, as it turns out the NEXT DAY (for me), what it actually meant was that tiny tips of Orleans and Gloucester to the South were affected. But the official reports just said Orleans or Gloucester the same way it said Nepean. So I thought they had NO power or rather were almost as badly affected as us. There were simply no really good comprehensive sources of info on Saturday morning. And some of the media pundits were pointing people to the badly updated, frequently crashed websites of Ottawa Hydro as if it was some great source of info. I get that linesmen were out busting their butts to fix the lines, and yay for them. But whoever was in charge back in the office of circulating info on Saturday, well, they mostly sucked. By late afternoon, it was improved; earlier, as an example, Centrepointe didn’t show up on the list of affected areas but did show up on the map, sometimes at least.
I went downstairs to the basement and sorted through camping stuff with J’s help for light. One Coleman stove and two bins later, and I could cook…something. It has a little BBQ grill plate plus a burner, and I found our camping pot, fry pan, and toast-maker. I was good to go. I was a bit low on bread though i.e. buns. Hmm…I wondered if anything was open in Bells Corners yet. I knew Merivale was closed but we could do a quick run down Baseline and see what was what.
En route, we swung by Home Depot. Twitter had revealed them open with flashlights and batteries available, and while I had found some more battery-operated camping lanterns, one of our small flashlights that we use at the cottage at night for Jacob had died overnight, and I wanted to get him a new one. Nope, everything was gone. We did snag some Twizzlers though. 🙂
As we were leaving, we noticed the Pizza Pizza was somehow open. Apparently their ovens were working, and there were about 40 people sitting around inside waiting for pizza. About a 40 minute wait. Interesting, but no. Off to Bells Corners. As I neared Greenbank, I noticed that Milano’s was also apparently open, and it occurred to me a bunch of the pizza places could be working their grills. Interesting. Maybe Pizza Hut in Bells Corners too? Apparently not.
But the same stripmall has The Butchery in it. And people were going in and out. Hmm…okay, let’s check it out. They were fully powered, which of course they would need to be with 1000s of dollars of meat in their freezers. Of course, they have a generator. So they were operational, including their indoor food counter. Burgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings, etc. Why not? I only wanted some stuff to cook for dinner and some buns, but sure, why not lunch too…two awesome burgers, two onion rings, two waters, and we were set. I grabbed some buns on the way out, plus some fresh hotdogs (our fridge had now been off for almost 24 hours, so wasn’t relying on anything in it at that point). Jacob seemed okay with everything, and I thought, “Okay, some normalcy, all good”. And really, how much longer could the power be off? Even if they were saying “maybe days”.
Back home, we played more board games and I had a quick snooze on the couch. J seemed good playing on his dying tablet and reading, but apparently he wasn’t. He grabbed my phone and started texting Mom again. I felt bad as it was her birthday and her weekend away, and she was playing comforter to our worries.
We played some more games until 7:00 p.m., and then I had to call a time out to cook the hotdogs on the Coleman stove. I hooked up the stove to the extra propane tanks from the shed, got it lit, all good to go, and did three hot dogs. Not exactly gourmet cooking, but J chose the menu and I thought, “Why not? It is like camping after all.” We combined it with some dry stuff, all good.
Until right after dinner when Jacob promptly went into the bathroom and started heaving. All I could think was, “Oh bloody hell.” I get stressed under the best of circumstances when J is sick, partly a throw-back to when he was a kid and any little hiccup with feed or nausea was almost always a precursor to something new and different to deal with. A nasty portent of things to come. Except it wasn’t this time. He threw up twice, and was fine after that. He laid on the couch for awhile and then off to bed. Given the day, I followed soon after. I was worried though. He and I had eaten the exact same things for the previous 24 hours, and my stomach wasn’t great, plus I was feeling flushed. Signs of possible food poisoning, which I confess was not on my to do list for the weekend. False worry though.
And before we went to bed, I discussed and agreed to a new plan with Jacob. If we didn’t have power come Sunday morning, we were bugging out.
Sunday arrived with the alarm clock again, sigh, but honestly, who was sleeping anyway? I had re-powered the phone and two tablets with my astronomy astropack and for the first time since I’ve owned it, it was actually drained of power. Two nights of 4 hours each of slewing the telescope never drained it but mild use on Friday and recharging other devices like a regular power bank did it in on Saturday.
Still no power, but it was time to start planning #OperationBugout. By this time, it was now apparent that Orleans had full power the entire time, including my brother-in-law and niece, but he isn’t active on FB so had no idea we were even looking for places to go eat, refuel the car, etc. Or crash. Apparently my brother’s house in Stittsville was with power too the whole time. Hello???? 🙂
Anyway, although we had agreed we were going “somewhere”, I was stressed about three things at this point.
- Wherever we went, I needed gas in the car. I had about a quarter of a tank, and while it would get me a fair distance, I needed to know wherever I was going would have power at gas stations when I got there so I could get fuel. I had thought about heading out on Saturday to go to Peterborough, but with no power near me, no power in Kanata, questionable power in Stittsville and Carleton Place, it would be Mississippi Mills before I hit a gas station not in the list of affected areas. And if I made it that far, and they DIDN’T have power and gas, we’d be screwed with a capital F.
- I wanted Jacob to be able to take his Xbox with him, and not somewhere he would find additionally stressful or someone bugging him to do something else just to get him off the game. He was bored without his games to play, something he looks forward to regularly on weekends, and it would give him some normalcy back pretty quick. His texting was showing signs of frustration and stress, and he had had some tears on Saturday. Poor little monkey. And this is the trooper who never complained once on the flight from hell coming back from Mexico.
- I didn’t yet know what to do about the freezers. Both were dead, but I hadn’t opened them at all, and I was hopeful they were still relatively frozen inside. We were coming up on 40 hours of the 48 hour cut-off, so if I was going somewhere, taking the freezer stuff with us was a huge potential plus.
I fully expected to go to Peterborough, but the freezer wasn’t going to work for that. And even if we did go, I needed to go get gas first.
Our friends Mary Ellen and Paul had been affected on Friday and Saturday, but their neighbour helped them out on the freezer front by running a cord from their generator over to power their freezer. Then they got their power back completely, and were offering us refuge. Gas was available en route, they were close by, Jacob loves them both (they like games like Catan and Ticket to Ride too!), and they were happy to let him bring his Xbox. Sold!
Well, I should rephrase. I was sold, but I wanted to give J the options and let him make the decision he was most comfortable with too. I made some toast on the Coleman stove, and while munching, he agreed Paul and Mary Ellen were his preferred option. Our plan was in place.
We packed really badly. Way too many little bags, probably could have left half of it behind. I didn’t tell Paul and ME, but we actually brought enough clothes for three days if need be. Eek! I was cognizant of the Mark Twain quote about house guests and fish both beginning to smell after three days, so I hoped it wouldn’t go that long.
The freezer stuff was really interesting though. I knew we couldn’t take it all with us, just not enough room at the inn, but I wanted to save two things at least. First, the major meat in our pantry freezer. Lots of chicken, pork and beef in varying forms. Actually way too much and we regularly say we should use some of it up. Second, Andrea just did an outing to SupperWorks which is not only a bit expensive but also a bit of work. I couldn’t take a bunch of muffins and things she JUST MADE LAST WEEK, which was a bit sad, but I could take the big stuff. Two big coolers and a small cooler.
Here’s the really interesting part though. I had worked out with Jacob that we would load the car with everything but the food, and we would do that last so that it would minimize time out of the freezer. Usually when we go to the cottage or something, Jacob helps move bags around a bit near the door so I can grab them more easily, but this time he carried stuff out to the car directly for me. Then, when we started the freezer, I asked him to help, and I handed him meat while he put it in the cooler. Normally he would complain everything was way too cold, blah blah blah, but not this time. He was the perfect little helper. Then when the first cooler was full, I took it out to the car and he kept going. More like shoved me aside and took over while I made a run to the car as pack mule. When I got back, the freezer was empty and he was ready to start on the fridge freezer. We did that together too, and we were good to go. About an hour in total from the time I said “go” until we were bugging out. In retrospect, I wonder if part of his engagement was not just simply something to do, but a clear role he could play to help take charge of his situation.
I had heard Costco on Merivale was open, and it was, but not the gas bar. Lights were out all the way to the river, but just after we crossed the bridge to Riverside, a wondrous sight appeared. I knew the strip mall there was open, but the sight to behold was a functioning gas station with only six cars in line ahead of me. I pulled in and was ready to kiss someone. Then, as we sat in line, I realized some people were getting to the front, talking to the woman running the line, and then pulling out and leaving. WTF? Oh, maybe cash only or something? Nope, turns out they didn’t have any regular gas left. Or the next grade. Or even the one after that. They had only the super ultra gas left, albeit at the regular price. I said YOLO and pulled in. But as I started to get ready to pump, I remembered a niggling sentence in the manual for the car about not using the higher grade fuels or something. Anyway, everyone else was, but I still asked one of the workers if the high end hurt the cars if it didn’t require it. He said no, I shrugged and filled the tank.
I couldn’t believe how more secure I felt after having filled the tank. One of my big stressors was gone. If I had to go to Orleans or Peterborough, I was golden. Jacob and I celebrated by going into the store to get popsicles. I joked with him that I felt like we lived in the middle of nowhere and were coming to town to see this new “electric light” technology for the first time, “ooh, lights!”. I felt the same way about functioning traffic lights, like in a one-light town.
We arrived at Paul and ME’s place, unloaded stuff into the entryway and then moved all the frozen stuff into the freezers. It all fit. I couldn’t believe it. Except for two pizzas, which I don’t even know why I tried to save, but they were starting to thaw, so we decided to have those for lunch.
After we started moving stuff downstairs to where we would sleep, Paul took Jacob into the TV room and set up the Xbox right away. It was awesome. I went in about 10 minutes later to check on him and he was lost in the game, everything for him coming up normal for a bit. Eternally grateful just seeing him distracted. He said he was fine throughout, but not only was he texting mom and giving lie to his state, he also insisted on taking his flashlight with us just in case there was another storm or tornado.
We had pizza for lunch, another “normal activity” and we heard a bit about their experience over the previous two days. I didn’t even think of the fact that they’re on well water, so no power = no water, something we didn’t have to deal with at all.
After lunch, I needed to crash. Andrea was on her way back with her sister and would be swinging by the house before joining us, but I had gone two nights with really crappy sleep. With Jacob in excellent hands, I doubt he even noticed me down for the count, and I was out for about three hours I think. With my machine keeping me under. It was awesome.
And Andrea arrived in time for supper, but I thought Jacob would have launched himself at her. Nope, he played it cool. We had a nice old-style Sunday dinner with potatoes, roast beef, veggies and dessert (via Andrea) in the form of apple strudel. Sweet Jesus, it was nice to be back to real food with real cooking power.
Although I have to confess, I had had an option that I didn’t know was safe or not. We have a natural gas BBQ with a direct line off the house. I suspected I could use it in the power outage, but I wasn’t sure if it was safe since I didn’t know if there were any internal regulators that relied on power, for instance. I didn’t want to test it to find out, and I kept forgetting to ask anyone or google it. But since I had the Coleman stove, it wasn’t a big need anyway. Would have been easier though. Except the real problem was not having food to cook without opening the freezer or being able to buy something fresh somewhere. Still, I think if I had known it was workable, I would have risked opening the freezer for more real food. The accoutrements would have suffered, but well, next time, perhaps.
After supper, we played Ticket to Ride on networked tablets which was a lot of fun. And then I surfed for awhile on my tablet, which along with all my other devices, were now fully restored to power. We also saw that the government had basically decided everyone should stay home on Monday and not clog the traffic lanes just to commute. Which was good, cuz I wasn’t going in anyway.
I crashed around 11:00 and slept through the night.
If I thought the alarm clock going off was jolting, it has nothing on their security alarm going off accidentally first thing in the morning. 🙂 But easy to take in stride when you’ve had a great night’s sleep and power is available.
Shortly after awakening, Andrea had a text from our neighbour — power in our zone was back on! Apparently, it had come on the night before, somewhere between 11:00 and midnight. Or approximately 60 hours after it had gone out.
We had breakfast, I grabbed a hot shower, we played some more Ticket to Ride on tablets, and then we packed up and headed home. We were religiously following news reports on social media and links from friends like Aliza whose home was in a safe zone, and we knew that most people were back up now. Small pockets remained near Jacob’s old and new schools, and it quickly became apparent that J’s school was unlikely to be open on Tuesday either.
We got back home and started the fun of repacking freezers and throwing all the old stuff out. It’s pretty heavy, so we couldn’t fill the garbage bags that full, but we did use four of them to empty everything out, while making notes of all the staples to restock on. Condiments, dairy, juices, veggies, etc. Some of it may have been salvageable, but I have no interest in playing Russian roulette with food poisoning.
By the time we finished, it was lunchtime, and we decided to try our luck out and about while running some other small regular errands like going to the drugstore. Subway was open, and so we grabbed what they had available…paninis, no subs. It was okay, nothing special, just fuel. J was a bit disappointed that he couldn’t have his normal sub though.
Afterwards, we drove around a bit in the area to check on things, go to the drugstore, etc., and make a veggie run to our favorite local produce stand in Bells Corners. Which was open and everything working great. They had had a bit of damage, but easily reset. Then on the way back, we did the bad thing we’re not supposed to do. We played disaster tourist.
I know, I know, we’re not supposed to, but we wanted to see what was going on around J’s school. At least that’s my rationalization and I’m sticking to it. I actually expected detours around the hit areas and then suddenly found ourselves going right by the main hit in Arlington Woods. We weren’t intrusive or anything, just not quite what I meant to do but there’s only one road through that zone. J’s school is fine, from the looks of it, but buildings at the back of the yard took a hit (other properties) and some of the debris is still in their yard. The road in front of the school is still completely blocked off and it quickly became clear even end of day Tuesday would be optimistic for the school.
Then we went back home, cleaned the last of the fridge, put some of our new veggies back in it (yay, us!) and I headed to the grocery store. I had been a bit worried that if I left it too late in the day, it would be decimated by the time I got there. Maybe some small parts had been, but overall, I needn’t have worried — they didn’t have anything to sell in the key areas anyway.
The Independent Grocer off Merivale at Meadowlands is my local grocery store of choice. I hate the huge busy stores; while their selection and price might be a bit better, it’s a lot less stressful at the smaller stores. The fruit and veggie area was heavily picked through, but no more than it usually is after a busy weekend. Fresh salads were all blocked off as not for sale, but bread was plentiful. The deli area was completely bare of all products and obviously no fresh stuff had arrived (there were multiple delivery trucks in the parking lot which is unusual for that store). As I turned the corner, I was surprised a little to see not only was all the regular meat gone, but all the hot dogs and packaged stuff too. If they had generators, apparently they didn’t stay going to the end! Equally, all dairy was blocked off (still on the shelves but not fit for sale) and they had emptied all the freezers of the frozen aisle. Massive loss. I did find Nestle Quik though, even if I didn’t find any milk, so it wasn’t a total loss. 😉 Mostly I just stocked up on things like condiments.
Back home, we restocked part of the fridge, and had BBQ burgers for dinner with nice green beans and apple strudel and cinnamon buns for dinner. The rest of the night was pretty much back to our normal biweekly Monday night activity — cleaning up our crap around the house so the cleaners can come on Tuesday.
I mentioned earlier that J’s school was closed, and it is now confirmed as closed until at least Thursday. Their plan is to reopen Friday, but I won’t be surprised if we get a new message Thursday saying oops. Nevertheless, I had emailed yesterday to work saying that with Jacob off, I was staying home. But I have to confess. With all the stuff still in flux on Monday, I did not feel mentally ready to even consider work today.
Part of the reason I’m working through this blog entry is to help me figure out what’s going on. I wasn’t severely affected, but I feel like I’ve been through a wringer.
Are my recently depleted energies that low that this just taxed them further? Was it worry about Jacob that was ramping me up, like I had to handle it better for him? Was it that Andrea was away and I was helping him alone for a change? Was it that my normal backup support system would be to buy my way out of the situation with accessing local stores and restaurants but those options were not available? Is it that in the event of an apocalypse my family will have to rely on the kindness of strangers to survive? Is it that my sleep was so screwed up that it just didn’t let me cope well for the 48 hours that I really needed it? Is there some other cause, related to the energy question, that is running me down and I’m just resonating with this situation in lieu of the other one? Did the limited gas make me feel “stuck” in the situation, unable to get away, a common ailment from when I was younger with much emotional trauma tied to it? And who invented liquid soap and why? (Sorry, small Sure Thing movie reference).
Andrea headed off to work today, and Jacob and I stayed home. The cleaners came around 10:00 and we bailed a short while later, headed for Orleans to access the stocked grocery stores. I didn’t need meat, that had been saved, but I did need deli, dairy, and the frozen section. Here’s where my reaction starts to get a bit weird.
J was hungry so we had lunch before our shopping. He didn’t get his normal sub on Monday, so he wanted Subway again. Okay, no worries, in we go. I felt while standing in line that I was somehow in a foreign land. Or, in conjunction with an experience a bit later, more like I wasn’t used to this level of service and selection. Almost like it was gluttonous. At SUBWAY?
Anyway, we finished, went over to Metro, walked in the door, and I felt like I had been living in a developing country all my life and had never seen such opulent displays of available food. I have heard of people returning from postings and having that reaction, which makes sense, but today, *I* was having that reaction. I felt like it was gluttonous again. Overwhelming. Just too much food available. Selfish even, that I could simply walk in and buy what we needed, mere groceries, while people had lost their homes. A neighbour to survivor’s guilt, perhaps, since the simple fickle hand of fate did not touch my neighbourhood or my house? I don’t know.
The feeling passed, but when I was going through the deli, I felt like I suddenly wanted to tell someone MY STORY. The deli woman didn’t care, she was actually quite rude, but why was I suddenly wanting to ask people questions and have them ask me? Was it partly that I am, by nature, not the most social of creatures, but now wanted / craved alternative social attention? I didn’t regale the cleaners at all, and they’re young attractive women. Nor the guy at the Subway. But here, in the opulent grocery store, I suddenly felt the need to talk. Was I trying to ease my guilt by somehow suggesting that I, too, had suffered and was there as a humble refugee seeking food as my homeland had none? WTF?????
We stocked up, three full bins of frozen and dairy. Then again, while going through the cashier line, I suddenly felt desperate to know if they’d been busy, and tell them my short tale of mostly limited woe (oh, scary, I lost power).
In another strange element, I saw that Metro had different brands of back ribs than I have been trying of late…we’ve been taste-testing a bunch, and worked through six different brands, with Jacob, Andrea and I ranking them simply in terms of taste. Why is that relevant? Because as soon as I saw the two other options they had, I immediately HAD TO HAVE THEM TONIGHT. This, after Andrea and I agreed recently that we had been having them once a week for several weeks and could take a break for a week or two, and even then only sporadically. But that didn’t seem to matter to me, this was something NORMAL (I think that’s the reason) and I HAD TO DO IT. Again, WTF?
J and I got home, filled the freezer, played some online games, and then he and I played some board and card games (Dice Forge, alleys/Tok/Tock, and Quiddler). After supper, we forced him into a routine of piano and bath while Andrea and I addressed the more mundane / routine tasks of making lunches and loading/unloading the dishwasher. Normal life again.
Yet as this blog clearly shows me, I don’t feel quite like I’m there yet. I feel like I’m neither back to normal nor even really ready for nornal. I don’t know why, and it puzzles me. I feel almost like it’s some sort of post-trauma reaction, but without the acute trauma. Puzzling.