This past week has been a whirlwind of people, parties, and (for some, a lack of) power. In anticipation of a busy busy week, Kirios and I decided to relax at my apartment and watch a movie late Friday night. I noticed heat lightning outside my window, a common occurrence during summer heat waves. Then Kirios noticed that the flickering switched to inside – the power was going on and off. Within seconds of him pointing this out, a horrible storm ripped through my neighborhood and the rest of the DC metropolitan area. Kirios and I watched trees and dust blowing down the block from my window. The power went out and we grabbed our flashlights. I was lucky – it was restored moments later. Half of my block and almost everyone in the surrounding area did not get their power restored. Kirios’ family had no power from Friday night until Wednesday afternoon. During my two years in Silver Spring, multiple day power outages were quite commonplace, and I had a lot of sympathy for the powerless people sweating through our 100 degree heat wave.
Around half an hour after the storm passed, Kirios decided to drive home to pick up his glasses and some other things, since he hadn’t originally intended to stay at my apartment that night. His home is less than 2 miles from mine – none of the traffic lights were working. Entire trees and large branches riddled the road, frequently forcing people to drive in the lane of opposing traffic. A tree fell onto the roof of one house – the roof had completely caved in. Kirios’ close neighbors had a large tree fall in their yard, taking a mangled bundle of cables down with it. Miraculously, the tree did not harm their house. But they’re still without power and will have to pay a couple thousand dollars to remove it and repair their lines before the power company will help them.
Saturday morning was a strange one. While I had power, my cable and internet were down. We had a full day of plans, and tried to maintain some normalcy to our lives, but the whole area was disrupted. In the afternoon, Kirios and his dad brought over many of the perishable items in their refrigerator/freezer to store in mine. I went out to get a manicure. Until Saturday, I’ve only had 3 manicures in my life, but I figured with a cocktail party and two weddings, now was the time to splurge. I walked several powerless blocks where all of the businesses were closed, passing two nail salons. There were branches and debris everywhere, and multiple dead birds. That’s always an ominous sign. I knew my quest for a manicure wasn’t hopeless when I started to see people holding Starbucks cups. I reached a block with power – and a nail salon! An hour later I had partaken in conversations about open restaurants, waiting lists for generators, and where to donate spoiling food. I also had pretty nails.
When I returned to my apartment, I saw the full fridge, but Kirios was gone. I called to check in and see how he and his parents were doing, but he didn’t answer. Twice. I thought about driving over to his house to check on him, but then I realized if I did, I probably wouldn’t have phone reception either, which would make it hard for him or anyone else to check on me. So I stayed put. He knew where I was. Eventually he called me, but we kept getting cut off after a few seconds. He came back over shortly after anyway, I suspect he was using me for my air conditioning at that point!
I also checked in with my cousin who lives about 20 minutes from me. Her parents were visiting from Florida and we were all planning to get together for an early dinner. She lost power and her parents made reservations at a nearby Hilton. (Later Saturday I heard on the radio that every Marriott in the greater DC area was sold out.) My relatives were having a hard time finding restaurants that would answer the phone.
Kirios and I left to meet up with my relatives around 4:30, but before going to dinner we made a stop in Rockville to check on our friend’s house. He and his parents had spent the past week at the beach, and were returning home a day early having heard about the storm. As we approached his neighborhood, we saw the same signs of destruction. Downed trees, powerless traffic lights, and basketball hoops on the ground… I was nervous, not wanting to have to call back with bad news. Luckily his home seemed fine, at least from the outside. They didn’t have power, but they also didn’t have any damage.
We met my aunt, uncle, and cousin at California Pizza Kitchen in the mall. The mall was filled with people charging their phones, iPads, and computers at any and every outlet. Some people were just there cooling off. But if you didn’t know better, you’d have thought it was the week before Christmas. Kirios guessed that the mall was running on a back up generator – although it was air conditioned, it didn’t have the typical freezing temperature of the mall. Despite the craziness, we were able to have a nice meal with my family.
Next update to include parties and more people!