Rainy Day

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Welcome to my rainy day.

So far there’s been: a 1:30am thunderstorm with a yet-to-be-identified tree fall, a 3am panic attack from weirdo schmeardo nightmare, an overly optimistic 6am alarm, and a more realistic 7am alarm followed by a 10 minute snooze button, hand-holding school drop off, slight leaky-eyed tears driving home from drop-off… big emotions swirling for what turned out to be an adventurous day.

In other news, MotherHerisme wore lipstick! W H A T WHAT the what what?!!? Like fuh reals? YES. She had on a pinkish orangey melon colored lipstick like back in the day. In my growing up times, and until maybe the past decade, MotherHerisme was always lipsticked, usually foundationed, and occasionally mascara-ed with tidy hair, outrageous sparkle shirts, cozy pants and shiny shoes. While she still sucks up the energy in the room, it used to be she sucked it all up to blow back out in enthusiastic boisterous gregarious loudnesses. In the past decade she just broke down into massive seriously full-on narcissistic, fist banging, leg kicking, throwing things, screaming, crying, temper-tantrum mode. It has been difficult times. I think she just broke from years of trying to force the universe to bend to her will through gregarious extrovertednesses. She has trauma, for sure, which I think until recently she truly had no idea she was acting out and passing down. Recently she told me that for the first time in her whole life she has felt like she could just be herself now. She claims to have never considered her own mortality until now either. It has been a very hard road for her to recognize that she is a uniquely privileged piece of the universe, in a never-before-in-human-history and never-again-in-human-history, specialized race/socioeconomic/cultural specific generation. I am not certain that she can fully embrace that knowledge now either, but I do think that very occasionally she has the ability to see outside of herself, which is a step to empathy. Just this morning, she commented that she’s never felt so relaxed in her whole life as she has these past two years specifically.

I cannot remember what I have shared previously about MotherHerisme. To sum up, she has been living in my house since Christmas of 2016. Today her version of how this came to be is that she has had a series of medical issues and has established physician relationships here which prevent her from moving back to her own home (3 states to the west, where my father, her husband, still resides across the street from my sister and her family). This topic is for a different day’s writing.

ANYWHO, the day I began this writing turned into a massive shitstorm – as in Ida held firm in her own resolve to deposit her hurricane remnants hither and thither around my area of the world. We are all okay. My heart aches for places which are not okay. This is a tiny picture of my lucky story.

School dismissal was a bit bumpy. My road was washed out, as were all roads leading to mine. They’re currently being repaired (huzzah to seeing taxes work for the people!). We can enter and exit back up the hill and through another little town which has a raised highway entrance. The water is clearing itself out after cresting yesterday evening. Mother Nature – we see you and raise you a Texridiculas women’s oppression body control shitstorm! TAKE THAT bwahahahahaha (not in Richard E Grant’s voice this time as his wife has sadly passed away and I am sending him oodles of comfort, peace, space and grace for grief).

No school buses are available for our school, so I drive SonHerisme everyday. Pre-COVID, I walked him inside in the morning, and walked inside to pick him up in the afternoons. COVID times make us an exclusive carline school. positives: SonHerisme likes carline now that he is an 8th grader and can sneak hand holding and a sweet momma kiss before he disembarks to school. negatives: we are not a neighborhood school so we miss out on the milling about the front of the school community connections, plus, sitting in the car for an hour is HARD for this sweet momma (crying the tears of the privileged).

As I drove to pick up SonHerisme through aggressive Ida remnants, the thought occurred to me about warnings for driving through washed out roads (mine was, many were between home and school), as well as how the flippity rain deluge did I think I was getting us home if it was still pouring and I’m pretty sure our road was washing away as I skidded over it. Spoiler alert – segments of our road (and many others) did wash away. By the time I had gathered SonHerisme (THANK YOU to the edges of reality and back to ALL school staff – bc you guys ROCK the job-damned living hell out of what you do!!!!), my road and roads leading to my road, were indeed closed.

But, what ho, thought I… the rain had subsided somewhat and I had made it out on my road, surely I could make it back in! Bravado! Entitlement! Calculated risk trust exercise! Alas, there was a police car right behind me escorting county maintenance vehicles assessing and closing off roads. Did I care? No! YES! A weakened maybe perhaps as I pulled my SUV (yup, I’m that momma and SonHerisme plays soccer) into an empty parking lot with a water run-off embankment located just before my road (post multiple re-routes to get this close to home). As soon as the police car was out of sight, I u-turned my car, drove down the middle of the road (as the lanes were completely under water, but the center was slightly raised and not under water), and bypassed the “road closed” sign for my road, as if I lived in the little neighborhood just past the sign. I told SonHerisme that I might have to backup or pull into the church parking lot on a little hill, if our road was fully washed out or if the water was too deep to see the pavement. C’mon I’m not CRAZY crazy.

I was able to navigate our road by staying in the middle. The sides of the road had fallen off in spots, especially by deeper gully areas. Most of my road is going uphill, so after we drove about 3/4 mile without issue, I felt like we were just fine. EXCEPT for the two 40ft uprooted giant oak trees that had fallen across our road just before our driveway. County vehicles were already on the the scene, along with a firetruck (as first responders from the top of our hill). By now SonHerisme had to go to the bathroom since he’d been in the car with after school snack/water for over an hour at this point – we live about 4-5 miles from his school.

SonHerisme had a few choices: get out and pee off the side of the road, stay in the car and wet his pants, or ask road maintenance if he could shimmy over/under the giant fallen trees to run up our driveway to the house. He chose running up the driveway to the house since, as he described his situation, “I have to go to the BATHROOM bathroom, not just pee, MOM!” He’s totally teening.

Since my sweet teeny tiny squishy newborn baby looks 19/20 at 13 years-old, except for his super cute school backpack, the road crew and firemen agreed he could go underneath the fallen giant oaks. Once they supervised him through, they asked him how old he is and one of the crew on my side of the trees jogged back to me. “Don’t worry ma’am, he did just fine and said he will call you as soon as he is inside. You can wait right here for about 15-20 minutes and we will have the road cleared for you to get home.”

So I waited.

Meanwhile, at least one school bus with 10 students had to be water rescued having been pushed off the road by fast moving water, so all school buses had been ordered back to their schools. Parents all over the county had to pick up their children whenever they could, however they could. It was a proper emergency. School staff organized and kept kids secure and safe until they could be picked up.

We have two little elementary girls down the hill and across the road who got stuck in their school bus for about 2 hours because their bus couldn’t get back to their school or to their house due to closed and impassable roads. About ten minutes after the giant oaks were cleared from our road, the girl’s bus came down the road from the top of the hill and dropped them off safely at home. That is a hero school bus driver for sure.

What a day. Not one local person lost their life. We are lucky.

The next day school was canceled due to too many impassable roads. Water levels peaked in the early evening, and began to recede in time for enough road work to allow schools to reopen on Friday. Of course, the city rec tennis coach got her assistants and brooms out about 30 minutes before SonHerisme’s Thursday evening tennis, and they cleared all but one of the courts which had been submerged in water and were full of debris and silt. Life 🙂

On a sad note, I’m sure we’ll see an uptick in COVID because of the necessary last minute carpools/crowding together for immediate safety. I’m sure we’ll see this present even worse in much harder hit areas.

Note to self: we are freakishly lucky and I am committed to sharing the luck as I can where I can. Meal delivery is one thing I can do to share. Donate $5 to local flood support groups and for women’s support local to Afghanistan.

Please take good care of yourself and your communities. So much hurt is bubbling to the extremely visible surface. I wish moments of peace and joy to you!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. I know better than to drive through water covered roads. The hubris of me is occasionally unbearable and difficult to acknowledge in an emergency moment where hyper vigilant assessment and instinct kicks in. In those moments it feels like everything I see, think, feel, is positioned on the very tip of a pin in tiny droplet of water I can quickly scan from all different panoramic angles, noting multiple outcomes of various decisions, like in chess but perhaps 3D live chess. Based on that tiny pinprick moment, I make a pathway decision and go. One day it won’t work out for me, just like it doesn’t for lots of other people. For now, I experience the weather changes and my extremely good luck. It’s all about positioning (by choice or circumstance) to be better advantaged to possibly hit on mysterious luck. NOT mysterious lick, which is what I accidentally tippity typed before correction and leaning into gross. No mysterious lick. No sir. No ma’am.

and also, I am cycling through struggles. I send solidarity via {{{hugs}}} to all of us struggling with the things, and will seek some comfort in tea. Today finds me tea-ing up with black tea chai, no milk, no sugar. woot woot!

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