Relief came in the form of a phone call placed November 1st at 10:18 am. Scratch that — not the relief, but the time. Daylight savings had mercifully and forgetfully fallen back, so it was just after 9 am on the day of the sun that the call was made. It was the same call that had been made numerous times over the past three days. So it wasn’t so much making the call but the response which came from the other end that brought much needed solace.

“We are sorry… the number you have reached is not in service at this time. If you feel you have reached this recording in error please dial the operator 704-632,” had been the repeating redundant response, reached since around 8:45 am the preceding Thursday. There is a certain disheartening emptiness when reaching that message, especially multiple times. Yes, it is a computer generated response and so it’s flat heartless b**** tone is somewhat excusable. Still, it’s so devoid of emotion one cannot help but find a bit of dialed up depression within.

Thus after three long days of receiving this cold calculated computerized response, there came extreme, exhilarated, elation on day four, when dialing was followed by ringing and then… wait for it… there was an audible “CLICK,” followed by the most beautiful voice ever heard “Hello… please leave a message after the tone…”BOOP” (boop is the tone noise you leave your message after btw). Yes, it was yet another computer generated voice. But this one was heartfelt and filled with warmth and welcoming kindness.

OK, to be honest it sounded rather bland and generic. But even if it had come across as sinisterly evil with an overture of death playing in the background, it was irrelevant. Because regardless of how it sounded or what it said, it still meant the same thing: the phone had rung, the answering machine had answered, the power was back on and we could go home!

The wake of the winds from Hurricane Zeta had found the House o’ Saw, like so many other surrounding residences, cast into the heart of darkness. Flashlights and fouled frozen fodder followed. In addition, no power means no sump pump, which means 5+ inches of basement floodwater to tend to… in the dark.

Would this have been a solo endeavor, the house would have known no vacancy. Knowing how to hunker down, suffer cold showers and survive off take-out is standard for most lunatics (myself included). Floods, fires, tornadoes and trees have come and gone with nary an eye batted. However… now there is the fam to consider and thus ships were abandoned for higher and dryer ground… with warm showers and Wi-Fi.

There is an extreme amount of gratitude for the in-laws taking us in for a night or two. As we drove back and forth daily to tend to our critters that could not come along (missed my goat), each time hoping to find power restored. It would be nice to say there was some notable event or perhaps some humorous anecdote that transpired which would be considered column worthy. Alas there was no such moment, as it seemed reality had been torn asunder, and we just kinda mindlessly floated numbly through the limbo of the days.

Perhaps this was because of our Halloween plans, which had been firmly set in place and anticipated for a month being cast asunder. Nothing too grand or extreme — a full day of scary films and skull-shaped bucketful of pre-bought candy. Still, it was the first day-off in a month we all shared and we wanted to share it … the way we had planned… a month ago. It’s true things don’t always go as planned, but when you’ve set your shared minds to something it’s weirdo when they don’t. This may have also been why the return home was somewhat bittersweet.

Make no mistake there, is no selfish naivety — the realization that things could have been a lot worse, and gratefulness that they weren’t, are well in place. Yet you have to consider that in the same respect, things could have been a lot better. We can’t always be expected to mask our disappointment with the consideration of a potentially greater evil. The lesson isn’t overlooked, just not always appreciated.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya.