Disaster Prone

It all started a couple of weeks ago as I sat in my home office working at my desk.  Something moved.  I thought it was me, then I thought it was just my stomach that went whoops and skidded sideways.  Then I realized it was my rolling desk chair.  Then the phone rang and it was Husband calling from his evacuated building to see if I was okay.  I said, you know, I’m feeling a little dizzy.  I hope I’m not coming down with something.  He said you’re coming down with an earthquake and I said WHAT?  If you’re reading this from California or Japan you’re thinking what a weenie, she doesn’t know what an earthquake is.  And you’d be right.  Here in New York we don’t know from earthquakes and the one we all felt that day was technically an aftershock.  But now we know what it feels like and as The Who famously predicated, we don’t get fooled again.

Husband and I left for a two-week vacation to the Southwest before hints of Hurricane Irene were in the air and flooding the Weather Channel.  Husband would eventually tell fellow travelers in New Mexico that we were from New York and just evacuated further west than advised.  The same day we flew out to Arizona, Son and Girlfriend departed for a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic.  They were due home the Sunday Irene hit NYC.  Daughter was in rural Pennsylvania at Boyfriend’s parents’ farmhouse and due back the same day.  Watching the Weather Channel in our Flagstaff hotel room, I realized both my kids would be stranded wherever they were.  I emailed Son and he said JetBlue had already canceled his return flight.

I called Daughter’s cell and asked if she was back in New York early because of Irene and she said, “Who’s Irene?”  I said don’t kid, this is a serious storm and she asked why I thought that and I said it’s all over the TV and she said the farmhouse doesn’t have TV.  Boyfriend’s parents apparently enjoy a more natural lifestyle than we do and probably even eat fresh food.  I said Bloomberg is shutting down the airports and subways Saturday at noon and Daughter said now you’re just talking crazy.  The subways NEVER shut down.  I said FIND A TELEVISION.

I emailed Son from Gallup, New Mexico and he said JetBlue got them on a plane leaving the Dominican Republic the following Saturday, that’s the best they could do, and it’s a good thing Son speaks Spanish so he could negotiate a good rate at the resort where they were extendedly staying.  Daughter’s boyfriend drove her to NYC the week following Irene and it took them five extra hours because New Jersey was such a hot mess.  I emailed Son from Santa Fe a few days later to tell him to keep an eye on Hurricane Katia which was then making its way toward the DR.  He said he and Girlfriend better be getting on that plane or JetBlue would have to deal with Hurricane Son.

The next morning in Taos I got an email from a friend in our neighborhood saying her basement got flooded from Irene so I started feeling anxious because we’d be gone another week and who knows what we’d find when we got back?  I emailed Son to please go over and do a walk through when he got home since we live in the same town.  The day he called from our living room to give his report, Husband and I were sitting in a rug auction at the Navajo Totah Festival in Farmington, New Mexico.  The rug I was waiting to bid on hadn’t come up yet among the 200 rugs being sold.  The Totah rug auction is a yearly event held in the town’s Civic Center auditorium with the bidders sitting in the mezzanine and the Native American weavers in the balcony.  It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been.  This year there were three older, white-haired women who looked like Iowa church ladies and they were bidding up a storm.  They spent over $20,000 on rugs with one going for $7,500 alone. The weavers in the balcony kept giving them standing ovations.  It was crazy.  My bidding limit for the very small one I was waiting for was $200 and I was hoping none of the three rich old ladies wanted to buy it for a placemat.

Just as my rug hit the podium my cell phone rang.

SON:  The first floor looks perfect and so does the basement.

OSV:  Great.  How about upstairs?  (holding up bidding card)  One fifty!

SON:  One fifty what?

OSV:  Not you, the rug.  I’m bidding on a rug. (waving card again)  One seventy!

SON:  Okay, upstairs looks great.

OSV:  Great!

WOMAN NEXT TO ME:  Yes, it is a great little rug.

OSV:  No, my upstairs.  It’s not wet.

WOMAN:  (nodding with a strange smile)  That’s nice.

I looked behind me to make sure none of the Money Sisters were bidding.  Their cards were down.  My treasure was too minor for them.

AUCTIONEER:  Sold to number 25!

SON:  I’m taking off now, everything’s fine here.  Did you get the rug?

OSV:  Got it.

SON:  Good going, Mom.  Relaxing vacation, huh?

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