Wednesday, December 19, 2007

AEP workers and friends, we love you!

Thank you to all who came to bail us out in Oklahoma last week and this week. We had a record-breaking power outage due to an ice storm two weekends ago, leaving us all (well, almost all. We won't talk about the lucky ones. Snobs.) in the dark for days. Literally. I was apparently among the fortunate ones when our power came back on Friday evening (it went out Sunday night); oy! My sister's family stayed with us until theirs came back on Monday evening, and I talked to a friend who just got hers today! Those without damage requiring an electrician are all back on now, but hundreds (thousands?) are still in the dark and the cold because of boxes and meters coming away from the house and other issues.

So there are thousands of wonderful men and women here from all over the country, sleeping on who knows what at the fairgrounds, helping our local men and women to get everyone back into their homes safe and sound. A big, huge, warm THANK YOU to you all! I wanted to bring you hot chocolate (the gas cooktop and the gas water heater were our lifesavers) when you worked on our street, but apparently I wasn't home at the time, or you didn't need to be on our actual street to fix our neighborhood. So thanks anyway!

Now, to the not so nice people at AEP, the higher ups: When there's a huge ice storm that knocks out the power for hundreds of thousands of people for days, even weeks, have a heart! Don't send out the monthly bill in the midst of everything! You'll get your money in due time, but next time, hold that stack of bills and emails for a week or so. Talk about insult to injury Friday morning, receiving a bill from a company whose utilities I was currently unable to use. Not that the outage was their fault, but the billing? Tactless and just plain mean. Especially to a mother who was at her wit's end, crying in Barnes and Noble while her two children who were supposed to be at school in the ideal world were fighting over books and accidentally knocking porcelain plates full of rice krispie treats (seriously, who was the nimrod who gave my 3 year old a real live plate, a rice krispie treat, and a PLASTIC fork??? Disaster waiting to happen as he insisted that he could cut the dessert with his fork. Yeah, uh huh.) onto the floor, shattering the plate, of course. Yeah, a few extra days would have been nice.

Last week we were all united (well, most of us. We've already mentioned the lucky ones who were out of cable for a day or so. Did I mention my temporary dislike for them yet?) as we tried to keep warm, feed our families, keep them occupied, and find them shelter of some sort. This week is another union, this time made up of moms who are scrambling to throw together tomorrow's or Friday's homeroom Winter/Christmas parties so the kids have something to do and eat; and the rest of the town trying frantically to make some sense of cleanliness and order in their homes again, Christmas shopping and mailing, and preparation for guests, travel, or both. Last week was "So is your power back on?" and "So are you guys braving the cold in your house or did you get lucky and get into a hotel before they filled up?" and "I hear there's still room at the shelter at ... church." This week is "You too? As long as the class has sugar and a goodie bag, they'll be happy" and "Oh, I know! I don't know where to start! Bills, shopping, cleaning, all of the above, all before Johnny gets out of school in an hour. You too?"

My sense of priority, lacking as it was before all of this, has taken a serious nosedive this week. NO idea what to do first! What a bad time of winter to have had all this happen! Why not in January, where all we'd be doing this week was cleaning up, sending our kids off to school each morning, and spending evenings eating soup and curling up with a good book, movie, or knitting project?

But at least I'm warm. And online. I kept telling myself all week that it was going to make for great stories later on. NOT all that comforting in the midst of it, though, I can tell you that! Lots of crying and freaking out lately. Serenity now!

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