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August 27, 2007

Clicking our Heels

WendyI'm probably not the first person to discuss the storms Chicago had this past week. However, I found the storm exhilarating and exciting while also being reminiscent of the TV thriller "The Day After". I happened to be driving along the lake when the storm engulfed Chicagoland. It was eerily similar to what I thought a hurricane would be like. I drove around instant lakes, huge tree parts that littered the streets and avoided people that searched for cover and hung on to light posts so as not to blow away. The storm came in an instant and roared it's ugly head upon an unsuspecting urban oasis. I drove maneuvered, white knuckled, several miles home as I made my way through the obstacle course of the aftermath of the storm.

I arrived home to no electricity and my husband and boys who were armed with a shared flashlight under a homemade fort of sofa pillows. We didn't want to panic the kids and although we didn't have a crystal ball, we intended things would be OK and that we would make this experience an "adventure".

Our pre-storm plan was to have Papa join us for dinner and since the power was out, we opted for the comfort of a Jewish Deli.  While at dinner, another wave of the storm came through and it was somehow safer having most of our family together in a central place.  This allowed me leave panic by the wayside and ridiculously enjoy the excitement and exhilarating-ness of the storm.   We watched the rain fall sideways as it danced with the ferocious 80mph winds.  It was  another adventure getting to the car, navigating the flash floods and then, after making our way through another obstacle course of mature trees split like toothpicks and debris, we were home.

Until we left again, five minutes later,  because I realized that we needed more than one flashlight and water.   By now it was close to 8pm.  We traveled as a familial pack.  Hubs stayed in the car with the baby and I took our older son into the store.  The shoppers were a strange mix of young singles, filling their carts with beer and similar staples, as if oblivious to the current weather and moms and dads, with kids in tow, debating which flashlights lasted the longest and attempting to figure out how many batteries and gallons of water to buy.  Although there wasn't a feeling of hysteria at the store, there was a sense of urgency in the air. 

We left the store and checked a friends house, who was out of town.  We took some pictures of  trees that were down in the most precarious places and then made our way home through eerie  dark and quiet streets.  The lantern type flashlights worked like a charm and my oldest left his on in his room all night.  It was still lit in the AM.  A great plug for battery bunny. 

By lunchtime the next day, our power was back up.  Cleaning crews continue to make their way up and down the tree littered side streets.  Some homes and businesses still have no power.   The airports are almost back to schedule.  The sun is shining again and as for our block, we are clicking our heels and thankful we are home...thankful to be enjoying our annual block party....thankful that all we lost was 24 hours of power and one mature tree but no residents.

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