What a crappy day out there. It is only raining, but it is right at the edge of freezing. The trees are coated in ice which is really quite pretty. Unfortunately, it is also quite heavy.

I watched and looked and watched some more and then decided that I really wanted to get into the office. I know the route isn’t that bad and has no bridges. I called the café that is in the same building as the office to see if we had power there and the lady said she had power at her place. I opted to go and knew I could drive in rain. Even if it was cold rain.

As I was driving there would be a traffic light or two out and then they were back on again. People were driving sensibly for the weather conditions, neither speeding or pretending they were snails. All was going well. I turned down Gum St which is a small back road and there was a large portion of a pine tree entirely blocking my lane. Some guy had pulled over and was going to try to move it. I pulled over and asked if he wanted help. He said he could manage. He tried. It was heavy. I again offered. He looked at my gray hair and said it was too heavy. I told him I worked out and lifted weights. I should have used the magic word, CrossFit, to see if that would have changed his mind. He was giving up. I’m sure we could have moved it together. But he doubted the power since I wasn’t dressed funny.

I got to work and got the computer started. I got the phone messages. I called Boss A to tell her that the roads weren’t bad, but that lots of trees had fallen, especially in the old part of town that is full of old trees hanging over the roads.

She bought a new house last summer and it sits on a beautifully wooded lot. Her trees were attacking. One tree branch was so weighted with ice that it had bowed down and stuck to her ice-covered car. Branches were hitting the roof regularly and a large branch was blocking the road. She was not going to be coming in.

I got messages and cancelled appointments for today. I was able to send out a couple important emails and get things set up for post-storm.

The lights began flickering again. Then they went out. Almost immediately after that, the bells on the door jingled and I was amazed to see the UPS guy there. He said he was debating using the elevator, but the box he was delivering was large but light. It contained four toner cartridges so it wasn’t really heavy. He would have been trapped. Luckily he wasn’t.

But the power wasn’t coming back on. The only other thing I really wanted to do was get water bottles out in the hall. We have about a quart of water left and the guy was supposed to come today. I’m sure he won’t, but I can’t be sure he won’t leave early tomorrow and try to catch up and be at our office before we are opened again. So, the water bottles got to the hall.

My biggest problem with this is that the office was dark. We have two rooms with windows and two rooms without. My office has one window and the lobby has none. It is around a corner so any light in my office – the one with the broken blind that doesn’t open – wouldn’t get around to the lobby. I needed a flashlight.

One of the things I specifically asked about before getting my new phone was whether or not it had a flashlight. We determined that it did. Great. I looked at my apps for the flashlight. Nothing there. I looked in the widgets for my flashlight. Nothing there. Favorite this and that and then off to a different letter and no freaking (not really the word I was thinking) flashlight.

I knew I had seen something like a flashlight and so I propped the broken blind up on the printer so I had some light to make it easier on my bad eyes and slowly went through all the widgets. And there it was, under the letter A. Why in the name of all that’s holy would you call something we have been calling a flashlight since before I was born (unless you are British and call it a torch, but it wasn’t there, either) and suddenly rename the damn thing Assistive Light? What? It is a flashlight. Call it a flashlight.

With my assistive light functional, I could find the empty water bottles and get the office ready to be abandoned. If the power is out long enough, the freezer in the mini-fridge will defrost and drip water everywhere so I put a stack of napkins in there to catch the water. I locked up everything and left.

Traffic lights were out intermittently. It was nasty, cold rain and just sucked out there. And yet … drivers were being kind to each other. At intersections with broken lights, people just treated it as a four way stop and we all got through without too much pain.

Emergency folks were out all over, cutting up trees and getting them off the roads. Fire fighters, police, power company people, cable people, concerned folks … were out there helping make this all better as quickly as possible. I was amazed at the kindness humans exhibited toward complete strangers who could never “repay” the favor. We all acted like we were in this together instead of each man for himself.

I’m back home safely. We have power here, at least for now, but no cable so I can’t post this until later. It continues to rain and it is nasty out there. But inside the cars of my fellow travelers were angels and crews along the streets trying to clear the way can only be described as heroes. As nasty as it was out there, it was a beautiful ride home.

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