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November 23, 1998

Into the Wind

I woke up sometime when it was light. I had no idea what time it actually was until I got to the kitchen and the clock said 7:20 a.m.. I started mixing up the pancake batter, and Mom got into the kitchen right when I was starting to look for the powdered milk. She pulled it out of the fridge, and so I was set. Mom scolded me for being up, but was okay with the fact that I'd go back to bed after I mixed stuff up. So, I hugged her again before going back to bed and wished her a good day.

Sleep was pretty easy to get again, and I woke up again when John came into the room all clean and showered and damp and aware of the time. If we were going to get to our 12 o'clock flight, we had to leave home before 11, and it was nearly 10 with pancakes yet to go. The batter wasn't as foamy as I wanted it to be, so I added a bit of baking powder and soda and it foamed up instantly. Aiee... but they baked up okay. Halfway through, I realized that Mom and Dad might not have any maple syrup, and Dad volunteered a quick trip to go get some. He went and got some and got back just a few minutes after the last pancake was done. So that was good timing.

We saved on pancake for Mom as she said that she really wanted to taste one. They were just white flour and the more commercial prep of sourdough, so less sour. They had the texture I've come to expect from the pancakes. Yum.

By the time we were done, packed and ready it was just a little past 11, so we zoomed to the airport, and Dad dropped us off with a hug and a smile. It was a pretty good visit, all together, though my lungs and eyes were still burning from the smog.

We managed to get bulkhead seats, so were seated first with the first class passangers. Turns out we got first dibs because we had to put all our stuff in the overhead bins, so they made it a bit easier for us by letting us get on first. That was nice.

During the ride I read a book that Genevieve had given me, Managra, which is a Dr. Who adventure written up into a book. It was lovely, creepy, and sufficiently pedantic about why things worked for the Doctor to come off really, really well. I loved the plot twists and turns and the whole oddball psionics and technobabble involved in multiple replications of historic and even fictionally historic entities and personalities in a historic recreation of Europe gone mad. And the Doctor has always intrigued me as being powerful, alien, yet vulnerable both physically and through the people he loved. So it's a cool balance that the book managed to capture as well. I loved a line where a woman says that she thinks he has bad dreams.

It was an intriguing read, with more horrific elements, and casual mentions of sexual oddities than I've seen in most American fiction, treated with the British style of humor that is so hard to really quantify. Nice alterations of drama and humor as well, and I enjoyed some of the characterizations of the really evil critters.

The flight itself was smooth sailing until we got into the northwest, as the winds were starting to pick up with the windstorm that was coming in that evening. Turned out the day had been clear until just an hour before our plane was supposed to come in, and then the skies opened up and it was pouring when we came out of the airport. Picking up Fezzik was simple, and he was very glad to see us, in fact, so glad that he decided he was going to sit right in the middle of all the people in the van and so lay down in between the two front seats rather than going to the area in the back of the van. We couldn't move him, so there he stayed. He got lots of pets from all four of us, so was pretty content.

The house was nearly colder than outside, when we got in. Turned out that the batteries to the heater controls had died while we were gone, so there was no heat in the house while we were away. Very fuel efficient. But the house was a cold as a crypt. We turned on the power, turned on the TV, and found out that a big windstorm was headed our way and that we needed new batteries for the flashlight we took with us on our walks with Fezzik every night. So we started the heater and went off to the grocery store.

It was mobbed.

All the news channels had been warning everyone about the big winter storm coming, so everyone was out stocking up on things. I was paranoid enough to buy two gallons of drinking water in a container, just in case. It'd be enough for a while, and we had the wood stove for heat and for cooking, in the worst case, and the outdoor gas grill for windstorms would be just fine as all the gas lines were underground. No use, whatsoever, if it were an earthquake, but good for storms. Candles everywhere to hand, and matches and lighters scattered about the house.

We got some canned things, and stuff for burritos as we still had some flour tortillas we wanted to eat, and the fresh veggies looked good, if expensive compared to California prices. Nothing frozen, though we did get milk as there wasn't much in the fridge and John would use it for breakfast.

Dinner went without a hitch. Monday night football went all the way to the last five minutes before the brownouts started happening. Small outages here and there. The wind was hitting the windows with a boom and rattling them in their frames, and frozen rain was pelting all the windows, with occassional gusts that sounded like someone was throwing a bucket of water at the glass. Fezzik would sometimes bark at booming wind, and he curled up close to the couch, where we could pet him where he lay.

The weather slowly got worse and worse, and as we went to bed, it was howling around the house, the trees sounding like the ocean in a winter storm. It was amazing to listen to the hiss and roar of the wind through the trees. Nearly impossible to get to sleep, though, and Fezzik came upstairs, where it was warmer. Later, in the middle of the night, he started shaking his head a lot, the jingle of his collar kept waking me up, so I went down, took his collar off and put ear cleaner in his ear, which got him to whine a little, so something was up in there. After washing his ear out, he shook his head again, but without the collar, no jingling.

Finally, around 4, things quieted down again, and I finally was able to really sleep.

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