Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dear Mother Nature: You Win

Last Sunday I prepared for the deadly storms that raced across the Midwest.  When it was over, I touched base with my family members, making sure all were safe and suffered no ill-effects from the storm.  Everything was fine, and I had a little haha moment for being smarter than Mother Nature.  But she wasn't done with me yet.

Late Sunday night, my mom called and said their power had gone out.  After the storm, the winds picked up and blew trees down on power lines all over our county.  By Monday morning, still without power, my parents' house was getting cold, which is not pleasant for my 95 year old grandmother.  In a rare moment of selflessness, I offered to pick Gran up and bring her to my house for the day.  I wanted her warm and taken care of, and also thought it would be fun to spend a day with Gran.  She's a pretty fun lady.

That one moment, the quick decision to do something nice, led to a series of events that would throw me so far off schedule I won't be caught up until next week.

I brought Gran to my house Monday morning, thinking I would set her up in our big Lazy Boy in front of the TV, since she has a regular schedule of shows she watches everyday.  I wrapped a blanket around her, poured her a glass of Pepsi, and turned the TV on.  First she asked me to turn the volume up.  A little more.  A little more.  Just a bit more.  By the time I reached volume level 70, Gran said, "that's good."  It was really, really loud.  Then she asked me if I could turn the heat up a bit.  Certainly. I cranked the thermostat to 70 degrees.

The loud TV bothered me; I like a quiet house.  No big deal, though.  Gran is 95, I'm sure her hearing isn't as sharp as it used to be.  I can handle one day of a loud TV.  Then she called to me and asked if the heat could be turned up a little more.  No problem.

This went on all morning, so that by lunch time, the thermostat was set at 78 degrees, I was wearing shorts and a tank top, and covering Gran with another blanket.  All the while Andy Griffith was yelling at me from the TV. Ok, I can handle this.  No big deal.

Late in the afternoon, my parents still didn't have power.  I asked my husband if we could take them and Gran to a cottage on a nearby lake for the night, since we don't have an extra bed.  He made the arrangements, and my mom called from work saying they would be here soon to pick Gran up.

Looking back, I can say coulda shoulda woulda all I want, but the fact is, I dropped the ball here.  I gave my parents instructions for getting into the lake cottage, put Gran in the car, and sent them on their way.  They were going to stop at their house to pack a few things, then head to the lake.

As soon as they left, I turned the TV off and forbid my husband and daughter from watching TV or talking loudly.  I turned the thermostat off, put away the blankets Gran had wrapped up in, and served dinner.  Ten minutes after my parents and Gran had left, the phone rang, and my mom was shouting on the other end of the line "Call 911!  We all fell in the driveway!!!!"  Scuba jumped in the car and took off for my parents' house, I called 911.

Both my parents and Gran ended up in the ER.  I spent 6 hours there while they were bandaged up, cat scanned, x-rayed, and tended to.  Gran had tripped when they got of the car, and as she fell she took mom and dad down with her.  They were pretty banged up, with Gran taking the worst of it.  I felt terrible.  I never should have let them go their house alone.  With no power, it was very dark outside.  What a mess!

It was the wee hours of Tuesday morning before I was able to take them to the lake and get them tucked in for the night.  When we stepped through the cottage door, I was surprised by how warm it felt and to see a fire burning brightly in the fireplace.  Scuba and my daughter had driven to the cottage while we were in the ER and made up the beds, started the fire, and left the lights on for us.  I could have cried at the sweetness of it.

My parents have since gotten their power back.  I cleaned up the cottage, helped them get settled back at home, and brought Gran over to my house and helped her shower.  She said she felt dirty from being in the ER, and I did, too, so I understood her need for a long, hot shower.

I have pretty much lost three work days this week.  I'm not complaining; I am happy to take care of Gran and help my parents out.  But had I been more on top of things, much of this could have been avoided.  I made the mistake of thinking once the storm had passed, I didn't have to be prepared.  If only I hadn't forgotten how dark it would be outside my parents' house with no power, I could have prevented Gran's bruises and cracked rib; I could have kept my dad from tearing his hand up, and kept my mom from injuring her hip.

Life happens, and I roll with it.  But when stuff happens because I didn't think a situation through, I only have myself to blame.  And Mother Nature.

This week has been a good reminder for me.  When out in the woods and the mountains and the wilderness, Mother Nature is unpredictable and unforgiving of those who are ill prepared.  I won't forget that any time soon.  Prepare for the worst of Mother Nature and enjoy the best of her.  And never, ever, assume she is done with you.