Monday, November 3, 2008

Life, Unplugged

I have lived here all my life, and am used to at least the threat of hurricanes. I would never wish one on anyone, and the sounds from about 5am during Ike's landfall are going to haunt me for a long time. Our neighborhood, at a little over 7 weeks since Ike, only looks marginally better. Most fences are still down, some are in huge piles by the street, and most roofs are still sporting fanciful blue tarps. Most of us are still waiting on insurance checks, which is why most repairs are still in limbo.

But at least we have electricity! And that is, for the most part, a good thing. But I have learned it's both a blessing and a curse.

We were without power for two whole weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, and I had pretty much decided the Amish were insane to purposefully live that way, sans electricity and all its accompanying wonders. 90 degrees, 100% humidity, and no air conditioning will do that to you. But now I rather envy them.

During those two weeks, with no work and no school for me, and no school for my son, both of us un-yoked from the everyday distractions of t.v., video games, the telephone, etc., some amazing things happened. We finally, after 7 years, got to actually know our neighbors. We all hung out every night in the relative cool of the outside, laughing, barbequeing what food was still unspoiled, and making the best of things. And my son and I actually READ. Real books, not electronic ones. We got to know each other better, too. Now we all have "hurricane night" at least every two weeks, where we all get together and make a concerted effort to ignore the distractions, and just enjoy the company.

I do dearly love my air conditioning... even work for an air conditioning company. And if my house were on fire, I'd have my son under one arm, and both the T.V. and the DVR under the other. But progress isn't always a good thing... and sometimes we have to just "unplug" and refocus on the simple things. I think it's a great gift to our children, to be able to teach them about balance in life. Now to pry the Guitar Hero controller out of my son's hands....

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