Tag: Humor

Evacuation

Jeff Parker / Florida Today

From this post’s title and the fact that I’ve already written about my colonoscopy you may be thinking I’m going there again. But this time I’m referring to the evacuation of Floridians due to Hurricane Irma. Having been victimized by New York area traffic jams since I first took the wheel in high school, the media coverage showing miles of traffic trying to move north, while the southbound lanes remain completely empty makes me wince.

My concern over Irma making landfall in Florida is more than simply as a compassionate observer. As sure as migrating birds flee from gray, snowy winters, my sister and her husband retired to the warm and sunny Gulf Coast a couple of years ago. Long before there was any specific weather-related threat, they fortified their new ‘nest’ with hurricane shutters and removed any tall trees that were within striking distance of the roof. As news of Irma in the Caribbean began to disseminate, they planned to “hunker down” (in quotes due to its nauseating overuse in storm coverage.)

Making plans during a hurricane is like trying hit a moving target. Plan A included ordering a camp stove from Amazon (with overnight delivery) and stocking up on Dinty Moore Hearty Meals. My sister and I both tend to be rule-followers, so when the recommendation to evacuate was given, the idea of riding it out was changed to Plan B, an impromptu trip to Atlanta. As my sister went online to book accommodations, options for hotel rooms were disappearing by the minute. But, being the resourceful one, she reserved a room for a somewhat reasonable rate.

weatherman

While all-day news coverage of Irma is creating panic over the intensity of the storm and destruction in the Caribbean, the station’s weather reporter stands in a street in Puerto Rico with torrents of rain soaking his waterproof suit and bracing against the wind to keep from being blown away. Scenes like this instill enough fear to develop Plan C: LEAVE NOW! A hotel room at a halfway point is hastily booked and car packed. It’s time to batten down the hatches (AKA hurricane shutters) and go.

What should have been an eight-hour trip, becomes a fifteen-hour ordeal. They arrive safely in Atlanta only to learn that Irma will be following them there in a few days’ time. Having never been to Atlanta, my optimistic sister considered taking in the sights, but worrying about the storm, stoked by media attention, put a damper on having fun. After several days, Irma, now a tropical storm, has passed and they are eager to return home. Wait, not so fast! You must endure the same torturous fifteen-hour traffic-congested road trip because the same million people that evacuated are now trying to get home too!

Tiny yet insidious germs lurk among the hundreds of hotel guests, trying to make you “it” in their game of tag. They sneak up on you, starting with an occasional cough and soreness in the throat. Before you know it, the nose faucet is running full blast accompanied by sneezing, aching, and general malaise. My poor sis brings home colds and infections the way some folks bring home souvenirs. In the throes of head cold misery, she swears that next time, if there is one, they will stay put. In her words, “I’d rather risk death than go through another evacuation.”

Advertisements

Our House Has Abandonment Issues

Moving

At about the turn of the millennium, we had job opportunities in a different state and began talking about the possibility of moving. In making our house a home, we put a lot of love and care into it and it made me sad to think about leaving it. But the more we talked about a new house and looked at real estate listings, or property for new construction, the more my sadness about the idea of moving turned to excitement.

We weighed the pros and cons of various communities such as property taxes, traffic and commute time. Where is the nearest supermarket? Does the area have good doctors and hospitals? What style house we want? How many bedrooms do we need? Do we want a pool? We aren’t the quick and easy decision-making types. I’ll admit that sometimes we even have trouble deciding what to drink for cocktail hour. So choosing a new house required long hours of research and deliberation.

Through the months of conversations about moving, we are unaware that our plans are being overheard. In the kitchen, and laundry room, and basement, they’ve been listening. They become angry that they will be left behind, abandoned after years of faithful service. They concoct a scheme to retaliate. One by one they will refuse to work and punish us for leaving them. Major household appliances unite and plan to strike!

Appliances1 Illustration by Bob RichCredit: Bob Rich

My first encounter with the major household appliance strike begins one morning in the laundry room as I drop a load of wash on top of the dryer. Did I just hear a ghostly snicker with sinister intent? Cue the cartoon animated angry machines accompanied by spooky music.

As the washing machine begins the wash cycle, I notice something doesn’t seem right. The agitator is clunking, followed by the spin cycle throwing everything to one side. Inside the machine are chunks of gray debris that look like the accumulation of 10 years of liquid detergent and lint. Maybe all that’s needed is to give the washer a good cleaning with hot water and white vinegar. Unfortunately, the cleaning cycle only leads to more wreckage.

It’s time to call in the big guns for his expert opinion. After a couple of hours of trouble-shooting, the laundry room floor is littered with machine parts and tools. My husband seldom admits defeat, but in this case, the better option is to replace the washer rather than repair it. We’ll have to buy a new one to use for six months until we sell the house. Revenge of the major appliances has begun.

Angered by the abandonment of our eventual move, one-by-one they quit on us. In the months after replacing the washer, the refrigerator and the hot water heater follow suit. All we can hope for is that we sell the house before summer so we won’t need to buy an air conditioner, too.

More than 15 years have passed and we’ve started to talk about moving again. We had forgotten about the appliance rebellion so many years ago and so we haven’t been cautious about discussing the move in front of “them”. Ironically, the washing machine is the first to revolt. A few months later the side-by-side, water and ice-dispensing refrigerator/freezer quits in protest. I wonder which one of them will be next?