Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Smells Like Turpentine

One time, when I was 4, I told my brother to wash himself with turpentine. I don't know why I told him to do it but he did. And then he cried and cried and cried. Apparently, as we, I mean he, came to learn, turpentine isn't so great on the skin. And just in case you were thinking about trying that out for yourself don't. It'll burn.

This memory popped in my head today while on my run because the air was pungent with a pine and wood smell that remind me of turpentine.

It smelled like turpentine because all our tooth pick top heavy pines were snapped in this mornings storms.

Ryan woke me up with a cup of coffee just after 6:15. I sat in bed trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes and turned on the TV. At 6:19 I was trying to hear what Glen Burns was saying about the weather. There was that color block radar on the screen and a little blurb in the corner about when the storms would arrive in my area. It said the storms would be in my area at 6:49. And then at 6:21 the lights went out and hail, wind and rain pounded on my house.

I called to the kids to get up and go downstairs. Carmella, who was already up and in the now pitch black bathroom, called out "Uh, Mom, I think I might be a little scared." Beau, who I yanked out bed half asleep was really scared. He was trembling. Lala asked me why I didn't rock him or hold him. I told her because I was holding my coffee and that I hadn't had but one sip of it. Lala said: oh, well, why didn't you say so.

I put the kids downstairs and wandered around the house in the dark while the wind howled outside looking for a flashlight. I called Ryan, who was sitting in his truck in the driveway.
He answered and said: I'm in the driveway.
I said, slightly annoyed: I know. The power is out.
He said: I know.
I said: Where is a flashlight?
He said: In the playroom, wait, I see that somebody found it. . .

See how he tossed me under the bus there?

I know his thinking was, when he got in his car and the rain and wind started up: Yeah, I'm just gonna sit here in the quiet and sip my coffee and listen to the radio because in there? There it is dark and not quiet and there will be chaos. So yeah, I'm just gonna sit right here and watch that flash light bounce up and down the stairs and know that I am so much better off taking my chances with the wind, rain and hail in this quiet of my truck than with my wife who will make do stuff like, I don't know? Help.

Carmella had found the flashlight. She passed me on the stairs going to get Beau's blanket, his bear Oatmeal, a pillow for him and some other toy-because he was scared. She was all ready to set up camp.

Ryan, sat in the car listening to radio, quietly drinking his coffee while I fumbled in darkness trying to get my kids dressed and fed and figure out if they had school. When the heavy wind and rain relented he drove off to work. But then called me every few minutes with reports of down trees, fires, and traffic light outages. I guess this was how he "helped."

Beau seemed not to understand about the power being out. He kept asking why we couldn't turn on the TV and Carmella kept telling him because it was tune out TV week. Then he asked for waffles and eggs for breakfast but happily settled for a peanut butter sandwich. He also seemed unable to understand that just because there was no electricity he still had to wear pants, not pj pants to school. It was a strange morning.

We left early since I knew from Ryan that there was a tree blocking the front entrance to our neighborhood. Even still from the back entrance it is less than a mile and half to the school. It took me just over 15 minutes to get there. I'm a little anal about tardiness so I was happy that I at least got Carmella there with a minute to spare. Not that it mattered since everyone else was late.

Oh, did I mention that her school had no electricity? When I called they said "It's business as usual. We got a generator." But see, I don't consider dark classrooms and gloomily lit hallways as business as usual.

Getting Beau to school proved a circus. I already knew from seeing for myself and reports from my neighbor that most the roads getting to his school were closed. So I took the long route around which is still less than 10 miles. It took me over 45 minutes. His teacher though was almost 2 hours late. Beau's school though did have electricity.

When I got back to my neighborhood it had stopped raining and crews were working at cutting downed trees and getting electricity back up. I had to be at Carmella's school at 9 am to help with the literacy centers. I had 10 minutes. I figured I'd get there faster if I just ran rather than drove. The men working on the trees weren't too happy to help me navigate around the power lines but they accommodated me nevertheless.

I should have stayed home because the literacy centers were canceled. Apparently they make kids go to school when it is dark but they don't make them try to read in the darkness. Carmella's teacher commented to me that she felt she was there just to babysit today. I kinda agreed. I think it was ridiculous they went to school with no electricity. But since she said she didn't need me I left. I ran the long way home this time to avoid tangoing with the powerlines. Little 2 mile warm up.

After I got home the electricity was still out. I decided that I would go run rather than go to the gym. I figured the electricity was probably out there anyway. I took Lola with me. I was planning on doing my 10 mile loop but I got distracted and forgot to turn off. So I ended up running almost 18 miles. I did bring some money so around 6 miles I stopped and bought some Gatorade. I shared half with Lola. Not sure if that is good for dogs but she seemed to like it.

It ended up that I had a great run and, bonus, got in an unplanned long run this week.

I took pictures with my camera phone of the weather destruction. Sorry that the quality is crappy.

This was on the way back. I pass it on the way out to but I was across the street and didn't think to take a picture of it then. Plus all the crews were there at that time. You really can't see all the down trees but the sidewalk all the way down the hill was covered with pine trees and broken fence. Throughout our run we had been leaping over limbs and debris (little plyometrics mixed in!). But here we couldn't leap over. And here, like in some other areas, there were car parts tangled in the tree debris. I counted three bumpers in these.

This next one is at a little over 5 miles into my run. We were coming down the sidewalk and there was this huge thing in the middle of the sidewalk. I stopped when I got to it and marveled at what a frightening sight it must have been to see a trampoline flying back and forth across the road. There were parts of it on both sides of the road and parts of its legs were hung up on the fence across the street.

This one is fuzzy. Sorry. My camera phone has crappy quality. I try to hold my breath while I take the picture so it isn't so fuzzy. But I was trying to be quick here because people were in the front yard crying. I felt terrible for them. I hope they were just sad at the destruction and not devastated by some other significant loss.
Here is Lola in our last 2 miles. At this point she kept looking at me as if to say; Really, seriously? Are we done yet? She looks way tired.
And I came upon this in the last half mile:

Can you see what that is? It is a hawk. I don't know if it was struck by lightening or the wind blew it or if it lost some mid air bird war. But it was so weird how it was cradled there in that tree. Creepy, but I had to take a picture. That just isn't something you see everyday.

And since I started this post with a memory I will also finish with one.

The hawk made me think of the time when a boyfriend, (for those of you that have known me forever I am talking about Brett S) came to pick me up for a date. I was in high school and this was Brett's first time at my house. His first time meeting my mom. Lala was in the front yard posing a dead crow when he drove up. She was taking pictures she could draw from -because you know, dead stuff starts to smell after a while. Brett was horrified, because you know, his mom just didn't do stuff like play with dead birds.

Lala was oblivious and excitedly told him how she had found it while she was out running. She didn't want to run home with the dead bird because, well that would be crazy. So she hid it in the bushes, you know, so no one else would get it. Because, you know, who doesn't want a dead bird?
I hope everyone weathered the storms and are okay.


  1. Wow! I heard about the storm down there! Glad you all are safe.

    LOL...on your mom and the dead black bird!

    Running is so much better where there are things to see! Be careful of down power lines.

    Stay safe,

  2. Doug and I thought that our front door had blown open but it was just the rain, blowing into the porch and into the door. I didn't even think to wake the kids.

    I'm sorry about the hawk. It is a creepy photo, though.

    Luckily, I got my run in before the lightning got too close and the rain began.

    The lady who gave me advice on the BT forum said no fueling for a 5K. I'm with you though - I get thirsty. Just don't know how you'd attach water to your body during a swim.

  3. Crazy pics!! You guys had it much worse on that side of town-things weren't nearly as bad inside the perimeter.

    Also and FYI: I was at the open water swim last year and didn't see anyone with water. Some people did have gel packets though. I once swam 4 miles in the pool (don't do it) and didn't eat/drink anything, then almost passed out when I got out. Good luck out there-watch out for the boats!