Getaway gone bad.

Friday morning

  • Leave 2 hours later than planned due to teaming, pouring, buckets and buckets of torrential rain (after weeks of drought). No way to load the car (or get the almost-never-used-in-the-three-years-we’ve-owned-them bicycles up on the roof rack) without getting soaked.
  • Notice the practical, water-conserving rain barrel is overflowing (despite the overflow valve) and open the valve so it drains down the driveway instead of flooding the garage.
  • Load the car when rain reduces to a drizzle.
  • Drive 2 hours to Cook Forest in the same rainy drizzle.

Friday noon

  • “Arrive at destination.” So announces Thomas, our newly acquired British GPS navigator that I don’t like much because of his proclivity to send us down winding, 2-lane roads when there are perfectly good highways nearby.
  • Unload car and cooler, lamenting the state of the rental house (blast those Internet pictures). Pigs (not pit bulls) in lipstick come to mind.
  • Watch it rain for the rest of the day with family.


  • Watch it rain all day with family.
  • Decide to take a drive in the rain.
  • Discover MARVELOUS BEST-EVER ICE CREAM at the little concessionnaire in the park.

Sunday noon

  • Sun at last! And record heat (mid-’80s). Decide to take almost-never-used-in-the-three-years-we’ve-owned-them bicycles to the park for a ride along the river.
  • Enjoy a lovely 3-mile ride.
  • Curse all things bicycle on the exhausting 3-mile ride back, especially manufacturer of expensive “made for women” bicycle seat akin to riding astride a balance beam.
  • Discover MARVELOUS BEST-EVER ICE CREAM place also makes the MOST INCREDIBLE CURLY FRIES YOU HAVE EVER EATEN. Top them off with another MARVELOUS BEST-EVER ICE CREAM cone to recover from 6-mile balance-beam ride.
  • See careless, inconsiderate jerks from New York park next to us at concessionnaire and think they ding our car door with theirs. Forget to check before they pull away.
  • Visit “rustic furniture” place and dream about owning a log cabin one day. Realize it’s a pipe dream because we’ll never be able to retire due to having to bail out irresponsible home-buyers, mortgagers, insurance companies, hurricane evacuation-refusers, and assorted other money-sucking leeches.

Sunday evening

  • Hunker down to watch nationally televised Steelers game. Notice the wind is really whipping outside, and wind warnings are crawling all over the bottom of the TV screen.
  • Endure blinking lights, intermittent TV outages. Dig through rental trying to find working flashlights (2) and candles (none).
  • Completely lose power at the end of the first quarter. Worry that you will also have no water because there is probably a well and pump.
  • Walk along the road and see neighbors. Hear that power is off all the way to Clarion (20 miles away).
  • Go to bed — nothing else to do.
  • Wake up at 2:30 a.m. when electricity (and all the lights) come back on.


  • Still no cable.
  • Notice considerable door ding from careless, inconsiderate jerks from New York. Realize it will cost at least $100 to fix their one second of “it’s all about me” carelessness.
  • Pack up and go, leaving sister, mom, and brother #1 behind. Drive home in beautiful, cool sunshine.
  • Discover minimal debris from storm. Start to water plants (not using the now-empty rain barrel), unpack, do laundry, clean up assorted cat puke.
  • Stop everything when power goes out at home for 1-1/2 hours.


  • Start working bright and early. Discover numerous e-mail requests for new projects and annoying rework of project drafted 5 weeks ago.
  • Discover through brother #2 that power is still out at my mother’s house since Sunday — literally only her house and about 5 others on the same line (the one where the power always goes out and nobody else’s does).
  • Lament loss of food in fridge and full-size upright freezer.
  • Discover when sister returns home with mother that brother #3 has redistributed most of the freezer food to neighbors and cousins.
  • Discover power company is estimating FRIDAY NIGHT before power is restored in her area. FIVE DAYS AFTER IT WENT OUT.
  • Curse power company.
  • Frantically keep working to make up for time lost and new projects requested while away.
  • Discover front tire almost flat. Fill it and drive an hour each way to pick up mother and bring her here.
  • See power crews working near her house as we pull away.
  • Sigh.


  • Lament no sign of power at mother’s yet. (Power crews must have been a cruel hoax.)
  • Raalize next much-anticipated getaway (aka vacation to North Carolina mountains) is only 2-1/2 weeks away.
  • Wonder if it’s even worth it.

No vacation goes unpunished.
              ~ Karl Hakkarainen