Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Portrait of the artist as a refugee

This week was E. Vent. Ful.

First, you heard about the earthquake, right? A 5.8 in Virginia last Tuesday. I was standing in the kitchen shaking my fist at what I thought was a convoy of construction trucks driving by our house because they have an uncanny way of knowing exactly when Maureen is napping. But then the noise changed and sounded like a very strong gust of wind except when I looked outside it wasn't windy. The grandfather clock started chiming loudly, the way it does when you walk past it too heavily. And the lantern hanging over the sink began to swing back and forth. My stomach went all queasy, and I realized we were having an earthquake. Mo slept through it. Robb was sitting at his desk on the boat, but it sloshed the water in the creek and shook the floating dock enough to bounce him around in his chair.

Second, NOAA sent Robb out of town Thursday to help with the hurricane response in Norfolk. Making new surveys of ports after natural disasters is part of his job description. He simply had not been called upon to respond in an emergency until now. Whoosh, off he went. That same day there was an aftershock of 4.5.

Third, without my usual childcare provider--Robb--I was unable to go to work on Friday and Saturday.

Fourth, I panicked about being home alone with a baby and a dog in a hurricane. So I packed up my show and went on the road to Mom's house where I would be safe from the long soggy arm of the storm. They were calling for 8 inches of rain at my house. Walking the dog in that nonsense is bad enough because Sukey refuses to relieve herself in inclement weather but begs to go out constantly, but trying to do it with Maureen in tow in a monsoon... I don't even want to figure that out. Mom has a fenced yard. Problem solved.

Fifth, Mo and I had a nice visit with Aunt Julie on Friday morning. Coastal Hospice ordered all of its patients to evacuate the Ocean City area well in advance of the storm. She and Uncle Rich came to stay at Paul's house. She looks astonishingly like a Brigham. That is to say she has my great-grandfather's thinness and sharp features and nearly has the height. Since I was little Julie always had more meat on her bones, and she resembled the Bealls more. But now she looks like Sissy except very tired. She was glad to see Maureen. And I was glad to see her glad.

Sixth, I fell on the stairs a Mom's house on Saturday afternoon. Mo was in my arms, and I missed the last step. I've walked up and down those stairs about five billions times in my life, so why would I now miscalculate the number of steps to the bottom? That information is a muscle memory. It's like knowing when to kneel, sit, and stand in a Catholic worship service. It's practically hardwired into my DNA. In the split second before my foot turned under and was crushed under the combined 200 pounds of us, I thought, That wasn't the last step, and then we tumbled down onto the tile. I managed to tuck the baby in like a little football. She was startled by the impact but not hurt. Thank goodness. We went to the emergency room, I had x-rays, and the doctor told me I broke my foot. A nurse splinted it and sent me home with crutches. The baby was an angel for the three hours we spent at the hospital. We all went home in the pouring rain.

Seventh, the hurricane cometh. No damage at Mom's house. And around 10pm we heard a large tree go over, but it was in the woods and didn't hurt anything. We lost phone, internet, and tv in one of the surges. Robb's parents in Howard County lost power, as did George and Chere near Baltimore. At our house at Fig Point a rain gutter came loose. But other nearby neighborhoods in Southern Maryland did not fare so well. Lots of trees fell on houses. A swath of Maryland from St. Mary's, Calvert, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore Counties is still in the dark. Including our house where electricity is not expected to be restored until Friday. Robb is sailing home tomorrow to take stock of the situation at the house. Mo and I and Sukey will remain here until we have electric again.

Eighth, I had a freezer full of pumped breast milk. A three week supply. It was my insurance policy against illness, injury, and intoxication. Gone. Justlikethat. I need to stop thinking about it now because I might start blubbering on Mom's laptop.

Ninth, I went to see an ortho on Monday. The ER doctor mis-read my x-rays. My foot is not broken. Halelujah! I have a sprain and a walking boot and no crutches!

Tenth, this week Maureen sprouted two front bottom teeth. One day nothing, the next day teeth were poking out. Crazy! She is so close to crawling it's not even funny. She gets up on all fours and rocks and kind of tosses her torso forward. And she discovered loud. She says, "huhhhHAAAAGHTH!!!!!!" It sounds like she might be gagging to death, but she looks terribly pleased with herself and amused while she's doing it and afterward. I made the sound loudly back at her, and she started to cry. Apparently when she does it it's hilarious, but when I do it it's terrifying. So now I mimic back quietly. The queen approves of this modification. When Robb called tonight I told him how she loves the barnyard sound effects that Gramma Lizzy adds to one of her bedtime stories.

Oh, and that Maureen said her first two words. Robb feels like he's missed all kinds of Mo-isms this week, so he asked breathlessly, "What were they???"

"Go 'Skins."

He paused, and in his best stop-teasing-me-voice replied, "They were not!"


Tmomma said...

i had to throw away a month or two supply of pumped milk when we figured out Bug had allergies. Good times, esp since I was working full time and my supply was sure to dwindle at some point.

Glad your foot is only sprained, that's great news!

Hope this week is less eventful, enjoy the time with your mom, tell her I say hello!

Rebecca said...

LOL - Go Skins! Love the post Barb, and I'm so glad your foot is not broken.

bbmowery said...

Still no electricity at our house, 110 hours and counting. I have been imagining the smell that is waiting for us there.