Almost two weeks ago we were hit by the first and worst of several storms to pound our area. It was short but extreme. A tornado that didn't hit the ground. Something noteworthy enough to be a blog post, but before I actually sat down to write it, the theme had changed several times.

As I surveyed the damage--a flood in my bedroom where the swirling rain had been propelled through the top of the windows; the pot of tomato plants on my terrace that had toppled over, emptying itself all over the floor; my little miracles lying there uprooted and pathetically flattened out; the prospect of another lengthy power failure--the first thing I thought of was AFTERMATH OF A VIOLENT STORM.

Variations of that title ran through my mind as I mopped up the water in the bedroom, thanking the Lord for keeping the nearby computer and TV dry; as I scooped the dirt and seemingly lifeless plants off the terrace floor and dumped everything back in the pot while praying for a second miracle to revive them; as I opened up all the windows; and as I drove to the store for ice.

Although the store was dark, and the automatic doors weren't supposed to open with no power, they actually did--in slow motion. I was greeted by an astonished manager, who asked how I had gotten in. When I told him I had come in through the door and needed to buy some ice to keep the contents of my freezer from spoiling, he informed me that he could not sell it to me because the cash registers weren't working and the store was closed for business. But something caused a change of heart--whether my downcast face, or pitiful little old lady image, I'll never know--and as I turned to leave the store, he relented, called me back, and gave me a 10 pound bag for free. (Actually, he first tried to give me a 20 pound bag, offering even to carry it out to the car, but I pointed out that it wouldn't be any use to me if I wasn't able to carry it up the stairs when I got home.)

When I returned to my apartment it was much cooler than the near 90 degree weather outside--one of the benefits of not having direct exposure to the sun--and there was a nice breeze wafting through the open windows. So once the ice was in the freezer, I settled in to a long day of reading. The books were by an author I had never heard of before. My introduction to them had been through a friend's blog, and the titles seemed so engaging I borrowed the whole bunch from the library just days before. What a delight. By the time the power came back on some 28 hours later, I had made my way through two of them. Things were looking up. Maybe I would change the title of my post to LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THINGS.

The next morning, the power was still out, but the apartment remained cool, and the tomato plants showed signs of survival. Since I couldn't get any work done without my computer, it seemed like a good time to tackle some dreaded chores--like the siding on my terrace. That's a task I had been putting off since the day I moved in here many months ago. It took quite a few hours to complete since I worked slowly and took several gingersnap cookie breaks (shame on me), to make it seem less overwhelming. That made me reminisce about my very first post--TRADER JOE TRIPLE GINGER SNAP COOKIES --and wonder whether my new post should be something like REPEATING PAST SINS, or DEJA VUE.

Well, that evening the power did come back on, but not the Internet. I was a little disappointed, but figured it would be back up by morning. Fat chance! Service was not restored for another three-and-a-half days, and by then I was no longer looking on the bright side. Since I work as an independent contractor from home, there is no benefits package. When I don't work, I don't get paid, which is not a happy thought for someone on a very tight austerity budget. I was also disappointed not to be able to start blogging while ideas were still fresh in my mind.

When the Internet finally did come back on, work needed to be my highest priority. And I did manage to get in almost a full day before the next round of storms, which caused the power to flicker on and off several times, sending the Internet down for another day, and frying my power surge protector in the process. At this point I started thinking maybe the title of my post should be FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION.

Funny how the same event can be experienced in so many different ways according to our perspective at the time.