QOTD: "It is customary to write in Latin when a person doesn't know what he is talking about and doesn't want others to find out." - Janusz Karczak
Reading: Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Books
Listening to: Jim Malcolm, Rohallion
Decluttering accomplishments: addressed Rosh Hashanah cards
The title of this comes from a joke that was popular when I was a kid and is, alas, completely outdated now. Back in my youth (i.e. when the giant redwoods were saplings), hurricanes were always given female names. When I was, say, nine years old, the following was thought to be very very witty:
Q: Why are hurricanes named after girls?
A: Because they aren't him-icanes
One of the sillier consequences of the move to gender-neutral language (something I am mostly in favor of, by the way) was the idea to alternate female and male names for tropical storms. So the joke is obsolete, but I still couldn't resist.
By the time Isabel got here, she was down to a tropical storm. By the way, she later became just a tropical depression, which raises the question of whether it isn't inherently depressing no longer to be a hurricane. But storm is bad enough, particularly inland where people have no clue as to what to do. Or, more to the point, where houses don't have proper storm windows and shutters and such. Having some experience on the subject, I took everything in from the balcony, filled up my water bottles, and made sure the batteries in the flashlights and the radio were working. Had I been entirely together, I'd have also dug out some AAA batteries so I could have used the other radio, but at least I had one that worked.
The catch in all of this is that we were scheduled to have a major program review on Thursday. This is a quarterly meeting with the CEOs of our contractors and various people with a lot of stars on their shoulders and fancy titles. When I left the office at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the meeting was still on. At about 7:45 p.m. I got a call at home telling me that the government was shutting down on Thursday and our meeting was cancelled. I did manage to reach the senior vice president of my company by voicemail and keep him from getting on a red-eye out here. Tomorrow will be interesting as we try to figure out what to do.
Shutting down Thursday was really not necessary in my opinion, as the storm didn't hit until late in the day. The metro closed at 11 a.m., for example, while the skies were barely cloudy. I suppose excessive caution is better than recklessness, though, which leads me to one of my past hurricane stories. Hurricane Belle came when I was in high school and I guess I hadn't paid enough attention to exactly when it was supposed to reach Long Island because I went out on a long bike ride. It started raining when I was at about the furthest from home that I'd planned to ride. Raining heavily. So I decided to take a shortcut, only I didn't actually know where to turn on the shortcut. To make a long story short, by the time I got home, the water was up to my knees (and that's higher on a bike than on foot). I got in suprisingly little trouble, probably because my parents were relieved I got home at all. There are times when I am amazed that I survived my childhood.
My other good childhood hurricane story is probably not true, since the chronology doesn't seem to match any storm I've seen written about. The way I remember it is that a major hurricane hit just after we moved into our house. My father turned to my mother and said, "Well, Bea, if the house stands through this, I'll know we made a good buy." As a three-year-old, I did not find that reassuring. Maybe there was a nor'easter and not a hurricane. They're just as destructive but don't get cute names.
Anyway, Isabel mostly went west of us and the highest gusts here were no more than 60 miles per hour. That was enough to knock out our power and it was out about 19 hours. No big deal - I had flashlights (and candles, if need be) at the ready and a good supply of trashy novels to read. (And, yes, we were off work again Friday, so I had time to read some of those trashy novels.) We're also still being advised to boil water as the power outage also affected the water purification plants. Not a big deal, since I had filled up those water bottles. And I have a gas stove so cooking was feasible. The stove has an electric ignition, but can be lit with a match. (At least one of my neighbors hadn't figured that out, though! The mind boggles.)
Things are back to normal now, though there are still some traffic lights out. We'll get caught up at work somehow and things will go on.
As for other things that happened this week, I went to see Old Blind Dogs play at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday night. They were the featured artist at the free concert on the Millennium Stage and were as much fun as usual. One of the things I really like about living here is the sheer variety of cultural attractions and this is a good example. A few people I talked to during intermission and after the concert were already fans, but there were other people who had never heard of them before and came just because it was something free to do.
The other event of the week was going to the Knit-out on the Mall today. I picked up flyers (and discount coupons) from a lot of local yarn stores and guilds. I figure that going to a knitting group would be another way to expand my social circles. And I can always use the discounts. Not that I need more yarn, but everybody who does needlework has the stash problem. I figure that my den holds the equivalent of three complete sheep!
Copyright 2003 Miriam H. Nadel