Monday (8/10/20) just felt weird energetically.
I took Oakley out to tend to morning business. As we sauntered around the back yard, the sun that spilled through the cracks in the clouds was intense, the breeze blew cold, and the air felt as if a wet towel had been draped over everything.
Well, storms, probably severe ones, had been in the forecast since Friday. Once Oakley freshened up his boundary markers, we went inside and turned on the TV to check the weather.
And I was greeted with special reports about overnight looting in downtown Chicago. All I could do was watch the footage of windows getting smashed and the shards of glass glittering in the early morning sun.
Finally, they went to weather. This was not an ordinary storm; this was a derecho coming at us. A couple of years ago one trashed the Boundary Waters area in Minnesota. It’s a huge (in this case from well into Wisconsin to Peoria) storm complex with thunderstorms, straight-line winds of 58 miles or more, and 240 mile wide swaths of damage. It wasn’t expected until after lunch time.
Even though Chicago proper is some 50 miles east and this wasn’t going to impact us directly, it combined with the storm to relieve me of the desire to leave my house. “Oakley, just tell me when you need to go out, but I don’t think we’re going to go anywhere today,” I told him.
Oakley didn’t mind since I gave him a liver cracker while I told him about the change in plans.
Now what? Plug in phone. Have candles and flashlights at the ready. Bring in the trash can and lawnmower. And wait. And keep the TV on but muted.
It finally arrived around 2:45. My phone went off with news of the tornado watch as the crawlers on the TV rattled off the counties under watches and warnings. Off in the distance the siren wailed a song of incoming danger. On the TV the weather guys posted a red rectangle stretching from Sugar Grove (about eight miles north of me) to one of the tiny towns on the Route 47 corridor about five miles south).
And then we lost power.
Not much to do. I grabbed a biskie for Oakley and joined him in his storm shelter between the coffee table and the love seat. A bit of thunder. A bit of lightning, but mostly wind driving the hail and the rain into the windows.
I don’t know how long it lasted, but it had tapered off by about five. Called the power company. Made my report and waited.
Checked to make sure the sump pump pit hadn’t overflowed, hauled a ladder upstairs so I could pull a smoke alarm that sang its own death knell out of the ceiling in one of the bedrooms, and then sat and read.
And took Oakley out so he could touch up his boundary markers.
Thankfully, all the shingles were in place and the car parked outside was intact. Windows solid. Everything looked good.
Still no power and no signs of when it would be back. I lit several candles and read while Oakley sat next to me and napped.
I called the power company one more time, but the system had crashed. Turned out that about half a million people were in the same electric-less boat.
We went to bed a bit early. Not really anything else we could do. I took the battery operated lantern upstairs and read some more while the cricket songs floated in through the open windows accompanied by the rustle of the wind in the cornstalks.
The next morning sunlight filtered through the gaps in the curtains, gently waking me up. I went downstairs about 5:45. Just as I was putting water to boil on the stove, the electricity came back.
Again, I turned on the TV for weather. Seven confirmed tornados, including one in Chicago proper and one that damaged a church on the Wheaton College campus. A possible eighth one is being investigated about twelve miles to my west, suspicion raised by the downed utility lines and other damages.
Other than not being able to get to one of the forest preserves for a walk due to cleanup operations, it blossomed into a predictable Tuesday. Oakley went to daycare; I did some bits and pieces around the house. I picked Oakley up. He came home, inhaled dinner, and fell into a deep nap.
Cleanup at the little forest preserve continues today. The big forest preserve was open for business this morning, and we walked there to celebrate safe passage through the storm.
Somehow, we didn’t need to do anything else.