Sunday, July 1, 2012

Night at the Theater Turns into a Crazy Adventure

There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to admit that no one will ever really "get" them like the people in their own family.  Take Crains and the The Pirates of Penzance.  Dad introduced it to us in the early 80's, a fact which originally annoyed us greatly, but as time has gone on it's become the fodder for many an inside joke in the Crain family.  Most of us can quote from it liberally and I still get some of the songs from it stuck in my head on a regular basis.  I've tried to get Glen in on it too, but apparently when you don't grow up being shown the movie on a weekly basis and listen to the soundtrack almost daily, you just don't get the hilarity of it all. 

So when my sister recently announced that Pirates of Penzance was coming to Wolftrap (a large outdoor theater near our home), I got excited to properly introduce the show to my children.  Although the temps were over 100 degrees and it was going to keep them up way past their bed times, I eagerly doled out the cash for the cheap lawn seats, hosed them down with bugspray, and patiently waited for them to magically get the Crain humor and start laughing hysterically. 

As expected, my sisters and I danced  our way through the performance,  sang along to the songs, and in general thoroughly enjoyed our little blast from the past.  Turns out though that, like Glen, the kids didn't quite get the humor and spent most of the performance rather wiggly, needing to go the bathroom every 1/2 hour,  and begging for food.  Thank goodness for the policeman's antics toward the end that got them giggling, so the night wasn't a total wash for them....at least until the last song of the night when a huge clap of thunder shook us back into reality. 
That was when the real adventure started. 

We had about 1/2 mile walk back to our car, so we, along with the thousands of other spectators,  hurriedly gathered our belongings and started walking quickly back to our car amidst near constant lightning and thunder. 

Then the wind started howling with gusts that we later learned were in the 60-80 mph range.  The flags lining the walkway were almost bent over double, our skin was being pelted with dirt and debris, and that was when my kids (three of them plus my nephew, Andrew) started screaming hysterically.  

At this point my sister and I each took charge of two kids  and started running. 

You probably won't be surprised to find out that I have no pictures of this part of the night, but if you want to properly envision it just imagine two flipflop wearing ladies, arms full of blankets and lawn chairs, trying to keep track of 4 hysterical children, running as fast as possible through 60 mph winds, all the  while trying to dodge thousands of other people trying just as desperately to get to their cars.   

When we finally entered the pedestrian tunnel to cross the road, we were grateful for a short reprieve from the wind.  Alas the reprieve was short, because we'd barely taken two steps into the tunnel when the power went out, causing my already stricken children to panic even more at being plunged into sudden darkness.   The moment the power went out was also when it started dumping rain. 

At this point we were close to the car, so we only hesitated for a second before exiting the relative sereneness of the tunnel into the deluge.  By the time we got to our car we were out of breath, soaked to the bone, and a tad bit traumatized (especially Ellie). 

As we shiveringly snaked our way out of the parking lot and onto the road back home, we realized that our adventure was not over yet. 

Every block or so we came across downed trees or large branches.  Miraculously none of them completely blocked the road, but it was very slow moving and felt like an obstacle course by the time we turned onto the more major thoroughfare to get home. 


By this time it was after 11:00pm and we were all more than eager to get back to the comforts of home.  Too bad a large tree had fallen across the entrance to our neighborhood. 

We turned around and tried to go home another way only to find an even larger tree fallen on some downed wires across the second entrance to our neighborhood.    (Note:  24-hours later and this very large tree is still blocking the road).

So we had one more option left to get home before resigning ourselves to a night in the car and we were not hopeful since historically this last route has proven to be the most likely place in our neighborhood for fallen trees.   Thank goodness this last way was clear and we were finally able to get back to our dark home. 

After tracking down a few flashlights, we said a prayer of gratitude for our safe arrival home, got the kids out of their wet clothes, and finally put the kids to bed at about midnight with threats that if they awoke before 9:00 that they would be in huge trouble.   Too bad all the clocks in the house need power and they had no idea what time it was when they popped out of bed before 8:00. 

In the morning, it was very eye opening to see, in daylight, the craziness we had driven through.   Most of these branches had fallen on and around our car, but by the time we all got up, our very nice next-door neighbors had already cleared the branches off the street and our car, which thankfully did not have a scratch on it.   With the help of our neighbors, our front yard is now mostly clear and the branches in the backyard are just going to have to wait until Glen gets home! 

With another 100 degree day, the lack of air conditioning proved to be the most painful after-effect of the storm.  I had to spend a lot of the day running errands, but by this afternoon, when I was home for the day, our house was getting pretty darn hot.   And so were our tempers. 

Finally after scraping together what proved to be a very yummy dinner cooked on the grill (BLT sandwiches, fruit salad, and coleslaw), we decided that it was time to cool off the old fashioned way...

In the hose! 


They invited over their friends...

and built gutter dams...  (Don't worry Mom, I would never in a million years think of calling them "dam gutters")

and laughed far more than they did during the performance of Pirates...

and even laid down for a little suntanning on the road in the 8:30pm sun....


NOTE:  We are still without power and based on the complete lack of effort they've made in removing the large downed tree and wires that are around the corner from us, we're guessing that it will still be a while before it is restored.  We were geared up for a toasty night camping in our basement tonight, but were thrilled when, late this evening, we discovered that the house where my sister is staying while they are visiting from California, regained power this afternoon.  So after the hose escapades, we traipsed over here, put the kids to bed, and now I am relishing in the beauty of air conditioning and my first glimpse at the internet in over 30 hours. 

And of course I had to blog about it all. 

5 comments:

Mika said...

That is one CRA-ZAY story!!
It just got worse and worse!
I'm so glad you were able to get home safely. I'm also glad that you had another adult with you. xoxox

April said...

I'm glad you guys made it back safely!

annalisa said...

Pirates of Penzance was pretty much awesome!

I am glad you all got home safely.

Playing in the water looks fun! Oh to be a kid again.

Steve-Rosanna said...

Wow! What an adventure for each of you. No doubt that this will forever cement the kids love for Gilbert and Sullivan.

So glad that you found your way home safely. And even more glad that you have access to internet (and AC) once again. Hard to imagine the misery of living in 100 degree weather without air conditioning or even fans.

Looks like we literally left town in the nick of time. Whew!! ;o)

JP said...

Whoa. What an adventure. I am glad you are all safe.

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