Friday, September 01, 2006

Windy, rainy yuckiness.

That's what we had today courtesy of TS Ernesto. The wind actually woke me up this morning...and for it to penetrate through the hum of my white-noise fan that I can't sleep without, it had to have been fierce. I peeped out the back door and our creek was a river, spilling out of the ravine into the yard on the other side. And the winds and rains kept rising and falling in those bands of weather that you get with hurricanes and tropical storms--for some reason, that intrigues me. It's like tangible proof that the storm is rotating and hustling along way, way up there.

I had several errands I wanted to run, but after going out to the car to look for an umbrella, and not finding one, and getting soaked through my pants, shoes and raincoat...I thought better of it. I had just settled down on the couch with some lunch when the power went out.

I cannot, cannot sit alone in a dark house, so I went out and did my errands, anyway. And got drenched multiple times for the fun of it. I had to drive over into York County, to the neighborhood where we used to live, because that was the closest spot that had power. I was so proud of my fellow citizens, driving so carefully through intersection after intersection with darkened, powerless stoplights, stopping to let the other cars make their left or right turns across traffic. Seriously! I was amazed!

Mailed my nephew's birthday present (baking powder/vinegar-powered rocket and a book of 101 science experiments), filled up with cheap gas (under $3.00? Yeah, that's cheap.), got a small bag of ice and a styrofoam cooler just in case the outage lasted, and made a desultory trip to the scrapbook store.

I say "desultory" because having that scrapbook yard sale a few weeks ago and selling all that stuff just really shocked me. My passion for scrapbooking waned a long time ago, but this was like finding out your spouse of thirty years has cheated on you for twenty-nine years.

For those who don't scrapbook, let me explain: scrapbooking is, at it's most intense level, a cult. It's about creativity and memories, sure, but at the cult level--at the level where you know designers by their first names and can rattle off the submission guidelines for five different magazines--it's about products. Having lots and lots and lots of products. Having the newest and best and latest and greatest products. Being able to recognize a product line on sight and name the company, and often, the designer who created it. And, if you decide to take the next step, being able to sell said products with your own work.

I know I've talked about this before, and bemoaned my love/hate relationship with the process, the business, and my own tiny design "career." But looking at that mountain of STUFF, and thinking about the other mountain of STUFF I'd just sold in May--ugh. I feel let down by scrapbooking, and bored with it, and suckered into something I'm kind of tired of thinking about.

It's not about feeling like my work isn't good enough, because I think I'm an above-average scrapper most of the time. It's more about using the word "work" to describe something that used to be something I did in the hours I wasn't working.

I guess I feel tired of being sucked in to the consumer frenzy that is scrapbooking right now. I feed it and I feed off it. I want to do something different for a while. I'm tired of bitching and moaning and thinking dull thoughts about something that's supposed to be, well, fun.

Man, that was a long detour from my Day of Ernesto spiel. So, after moping through the scrapbook store and feeling sick of it all, I sloshed over to Barnes and Noble and propped my soggy self up on a barstool and indulged in a pumpkin spice latté, which just made its fall reappearance. I don't know. They sound good, and they sort of are good for the first three or four sips, but then you're just sucking down something way too sweet to be coffee. Every time I give in and have a Starbucks sweet coffee drink, I always feel oogy and swear off for six months. So no more lattés till, oh...March.

Todd and I tried to meet up and have dinner when he got off work, but nothing in the shopping district had power. So it was back over to beautiful York County, where we ate at our favorite greasy spoon, along with about fifty other people who had no power, no hot food, and nowhere else to go.

We bumped into my friend Becky and her husband there, and shared the big booth I snagged with them. I took a writing class from Becky in January-February, and she is sort of sweet and tart at the same time, smart and wounded. They lost their grown daughter several years ago to a particularly horrible case of MS, and I hope I'm not being fanciful or dramatic when I say that you can see that wound in her eyes, and in her husband's eyes. I don't have a lot of experience with death and grieving, but I can see its impact in them. Sometimes Becky looks lost, just for a second, when her face is in repose.

I just think the world of her, and I totally enjoyed her husband--I hadn't met him before. My favorite kind of man: quiet, smart, and creative, with kind eyes. We had a really nice supper together...such a little bit of serendipity!

We drove home to check on things, and lo and behold, there was light and power and Internet and all good things. I was so relieved. We lost power several weeks ago in a lightning storm, and I'm afraid I was a bit of a drama queen about it. ("I can't SLEEP without my FAN! I can't READ by CANDLE light!") So I was practicing my stiff upper lip all day..."tut tut, better get some ice, don't you know, bother this rain," and rehearsing ways to fall asleep without temperature control or white noise...and it turned out just fine. Isn't that always the way.

But hurricane season ain't over, and my stiff upper lip might just get a workout yet.