Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hurricane Chronicles

Part One: Boys weekend, or now I’m the bad guy

Primo and Seconda have been stuck together, without any break, since the first of August. At first there were growing pains and then it was a lovefest and now it is just a matter of time before one of them kills or seriously maims the other. They just need some time apart. Which is how it came to be that one night before bed a few weeks ago, Primo asked David, for the first time ever, if he could spend a whole day just with his father, and only his father.

David and I both thought this was a capital idea, and they planned a hiking trip to Bear Mountain for this past Saturday. Primo, who doesn’t really like hiking or traveling, was so excited for the Boys Weekend, it was a little stupefying. So was David. I don’t know what they had planned but I am sure it involved hamburgers and video games. They were going to make their own trail mix. But at the start of the week, I started hearing reports of an impeding hurricane, slated to hit New York over the weekend.

“There is supposed to be a hurricane this weekend, “ I casually mentioned to David.

“I KNOW that already!” he replied.

“I’m just saying . . . “

“I KNOW what you’re just saying,” he went on, “You want me to move Boys Weekend.”

And with some grumbling and mumbling, he did. He moved it to Friday night and Saturday, rather than Saturday and Sunday. We both figured this would solve the problem because the bad weather was supposed to hit on Sunday.

On Friday morning, I awoke to a bunch of emails in my inbox from friends in other cities, warning me to be careful and asking if we needed to evacuate.

“Evacuate?” I thought, “What the fuck?”

Then I checked the news and fully freaked out. This wasn’t the kind of hurricane I was used to, which sort of vaguely passes in our general direction; for the first time in decades, this hurricane was set to hit New York directly. And it sounded like a motherfucker.

“David,” I started. He knew where I was headed.

“We’ll be fine,” he said, “We’ll be back tomorrow and the storm isn’t supposed to hit til Sunday.”

I told him the MTA was shutting down the subways and buses for the first time in HISTORY. Evacuation centers were being set up throughout the city. This was not a time to take a hiking trip.

David rescheduled the trip for another weekend but he wasn’t happy about it.

Later, we told Primo that Boys Weekend was postponed. He was even LESS happy about it.

“This is all your fault Mommy!” he cried.

Of course it is. It always is. Clearly, I planned the hurricane for this weekend. Clearly, I am well connected and have no sense of self preservation. And also, I love to be cooped up in my tiny apartment with a cranky, disappointed husband, and two children that are on the verge of killing each other. Oh wait, did I neglect to mebtion the fifth member of the hurricane cabin fever party, my eighty year old grandmother, heretofore referred to as Apocalypse Jane?

In her defense, my grandmother has good reason to panic at moments like these. She lived through WW II in Italy. She hid from the Nazis for months in a cabin in the woods eating only cornmeal and tree bark. This is a woman who is always ready for crisis. So much so that she seemed relieved when it strikes, because it affirms her general opinion that it is always looming. Also, she watches the news approximately 20 hours a day. The combination is the creation of a panic system at least as powerful as the hurricane, probably more so.

“I don’t worry for me,” Nonnie was saying every fifteen minutes, “I already lived my whole life. I worry for you people! You have a whole life to life!”

“I don’t think it’s come to that yet Nonnie.”

“All we can do is pray now,” she continued.

Then we informed me that she would spend the hurricane at our house. Apocalypse Jane joins the team!

For the exciting continuation of the Hurricane Chronicles, tune in tomorrow . . .