Notes from a Survivor

Dear Diary:

32 hours without electricity. I wake up at least twice as irritable as usual.

Can’t make coffee. Can’t do my (purple) hair in the dark. I have no clean clothes, because we can’t do laundry. Our food is spoiling in the fridge. I can’t get my email. I can’t work.

I load two bags of laundry, my laptop, and five bags of warmish food into my car. Irritated with the fact that there’s still a huge tree on my roof, I ring the neighbors’ doorbell. They don’t answer. I get angrier. (As Heather points out later, they have no power, either. The doorbell doesn’t work.)

Starbucks Guy: And how are you today?
Me: I have a tree on my house. Hook me up.

My dad calls the power company to see what’s going on. He gets all the answers I couldn’t get after two tries. On the phone with Heather, I tell her I wonder why. She says, ‘Have you looked in your pants lately?’

My mom and I stop back at my house so she can see the damage. One of the many opportunistic contractors wandering around asks us if he can give us a free quote for tree removal. I’m tired of waiting for the power company, so I say yes. In the meantime, one of the local newscasters appears and wants to interview me. I’m negotiating with the tree guy and juggling my constantly-ringing cellphone while the cameraman helps me run a wire up my hoodie.

The newscaster claps and tells me I’m a great TV personality. I feel a little better. We head to the lake to walk. Walking is good therapy.

We stop and get coffee and vegetable sandwiches. We go back to the house and the tree is already half-gone. My yard is swarming with flirty, half-dressed, tanned, muscular boys. I call Heather and tell her to get home as fast as she can.

I write checks for $3000 without really having the cash to back it up. We hear from the neighbors that the city is refusing to clean up the fallen trees in the street. Luckily, macho tree-removal guys respond well to girls asking nicely if they could also take care of the debris in front of the house. We sit and watch almost the entire contents of our backyard shooting out of the chipper-shredder.

We watch my interview on TV. I want to puke. This is my second TV interview ever. I’m not sure if it’s as bad as the first one. However, this means I now have 30 minutes of fame to everyone else’s 15.

I eat a gardenburger and wonder if I’ll be able to work from home tomorrow. Heather wonders if we have enough hot water left to shower tonight. We both wonder how we’re going to pay for the tree. I wonder if I should really go on this trip. We agree that, yes, I need to go.

I’m leaving Monday.

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