It was an awful moment that will stay with me forever. I almost lost her in a gust of wind.
Mrs. Wife was away for the weekend. She took a well-deserved trip down to the shore with some friends. They had spa treatments and slept in ‘til ungodly hours of the morning. 8:00. 8:30. Such decadence.
That left me alone with The Daughters and a raging nor’easter heading up the coast. My plans to take them for a walk in the woods or to the boardwalk were dust. I hate to say this because it shows a complete lack of imagination, but I threw them in the car and, with the wind starting to howl and rain falling in sheets, headed to the mall.
Out trip didn’t last. We got there as the storm intensified and after about an hour, the power went out in the entire complex. The storm grew much bigger than anyone had anticipated. Entire city grids were blown out. We watched the indoor carousel as it slowed to a halt. I made light of the events but as we walked through a darkened Nordstroms, I got the sense that we might be in serious danger. We were quite a ways from home.
We reached the exit out to the parking lot. The weather was fierce. The wind was howling and I’ve never seen rain fall in such quantities or with such force. I put their hoods up and tied them. I picked up 3-Year Old, held her under my umbrella and told her to put her arms around my neck. I put my other arm around 8-Year Old. I told her to stay with me and to not run ahead through the parking lot because people couldn’t see three feet in front of them. We slowly made our way towards the car.
We reached the car. I opened the back door and 8-Year Old got in. While she was climbing in, I started to open the driver’s door, still holding 3-Year Old and my umbrella. And then it hit us. A powerful, blast of wind that came up from hell. I’ve never felt anything like it. It caught the driver’s door and flung it open. I thought it would be ripped off its hinges.
My umbrella was yanked out of my hand and shot straight up into the air. The clasp cut my finger. 3-Year Old’s hood flew off and the wind and rain caught her square in the face. Her head snapped back and her hair was flying perpendicular to the ground. Her face was in a horrible grimace. We were both instantly soaked to the skin. In a panic, she started kicking me and was slipping down out of my arms. In one unbroken motion, I jammed her into the front passenger seat, dove into the driver’s seat and slammed the door shut behind us. The interior of the car was drenched. The whole thing lasted less than 10 seconds but I will never, ever forget the look of abject horror on her little, 3-year old face.
The drive home was murder. The entire packed mall was emptying out all at once. Because the electricity grids had been knocked out, there were no traffic lights and no police had arrived to direct cars. It was pandemonium. While waiting in the long crawl to the exit, I could feel the wind buffeting and rocking the car. We sang Christmas carols. My hands started hurting and I suddenly realized that I was strangling the steering wheel.
I spent today cleaning the detritus of the storm out of my back yard. I’ve never lived through a storm season like this one. We were pounded with one blizzard after another. And now, this. It was reported that some wind gusts yesterday reached 75 mph.
There’s a lot of this:
I also stumbled across this: