Saturday, July 14, 2012

Oh, Septic Tank. We Hardly Knew Ye

(Post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber. Image from
Part 2 of the Derecho Fiasco.Go here for part 1, and I should mention this post was actually started last week, so some dates and details have changed.

There is a fine, fine line between "camping" and "homeless."

That line has a name. Want to know what it is?


Ah, flushing - you complete me. Literally.

Yep. Ever since the tornadoes/straight-line-winds/land hurricane/whatever-the-f*ck-it-was blew through Ohio, knocking out the power and plumbing and turning our residence into a gott-dang federal disaster area, what I have really missed is a functioning toilet and the septic tank. Also bathing.

Hahaha! What a fun weekend. The four of us, my family, like stunned, stinky homeless crackheads, hollow-eyed and shuffling between one tiny car, a half-destroyed house, a camper and sometimes a hotel room. It's been weak coffee, warm beverages, spoiled food and repeated pleas to the children: "Do you have to poop? For the love of all that's holy - poop at the HOTEL! Poop NOW while you CAN!"

And I'll tell you something else: I have never in my life been more happy to see my cubicle.

"You're really going to work today?" asked the husband.

Hellz yeah, I am.

Are you kidding me? My cubicle, my office building? It's the freakin' Taj Mahal up in here. There is air conditioning! Electricity! Basic shelter! Cell phone service! Pinterest Internet access!

And again, people - let me direct your attention to the toilets that flush.

That's right. We fancy!

You know, I live in Ohio for a reason. When I figure that reason out, I will tell you. But one thing's for certain: The Buckeye State - and its weather - are boring. We have occasional tornados, but in general, we don't have major natural disasters. We don't have large earthquakes. We don't have tsunamis. We don't have wildfires. We don't have hurricanes.

Until now.

They called it a land hurricane, a derecho, the freak of nature that cut a 700-mile swath of chaos across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic June 29. And you would think that the storm's major destruction and damage to the roof, two ceilings, two vehicles, one swimming pool, three fences and the entire yard would be enough bad luck for us. You'd think that a week without power, in a tin can camper during 104-degree weather, would be enough misfortune for the Webers.

You'd think that, but you, sir, would be wrong:

  • Five days after the storm, still homeless and powerless, our one remaining car - my pussycat bealeaguered Beetle - was hit, badly damaged and rendered useless at a convenience store as I waited in line to buy oil for the camper generator. Witnesses said the driver tried to leave before I ran outside. Thankfully, someone blocked him in before he got away.
  • Like any good homeless crackhead, I begged a friend for a ride home from the accident only to discover that the oil I'd purchased would be of no use - the generator was completely and permanently blown. Did I mention that it powered the camper A/C?
  • Did I mention the 104-degree weather?
  • Ten minutes into the first day of tree removal, on the Fourth of July, the husband lopped off the tip of his finger with a chainsaw, and we had to go to the emergency room. The ER? On the Fourth of July? 'Nuff said.
  • Did I mention the 104-degree weather?
  • So we went to a Holiday Inn that night, where I promptly slipped in the shower and slammed my head on the porcelain. I received a huge egg-bump on my head and became slightly dizzy and nauseous, but figured one trip to the ER that day was enough, and I went the f*ck to bed. I am still slightly nauseous, dizzy and egg-headed but you already knew that.
  • The next day, the dog and I waited alone in the camper for my husband to return from his finger-checkup when the generator (a different, borrowed one) suddenly stopped. I had been in my underwear - changing clothes - and nearly went outside that way to re-set the breaker. But I decided at the last minute to pull on my shorts before I stepped out the door. This is a good thing, because the dog - who we'll call Suzie Dumbass - jumped up after I left and hit the door latch, locking me outside and herself in the camper. It took me more than an hour in the searing, blazing sun to get back inside, and I was a sweating, panting, hot mess. Suzie Dumbass was fine. Of course she was.
  • I'm not sure if I told you this, but it was 104 degrees.

Hahaha! Good times, all. *Crazy eyes*

And really, I don't miss the roof too much. Or the ceilings in the sunroom and garage. Or the driveway. Or the Honda or Ford. Or the fences. Or the yard. Or my money.

You know what I miss?


But it's all good! Homelessness Camping That which doesn't doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Never, ever give up! And all of that happy horse-shit!

Yes, fellow homeless crackhead campers, in hard times like these, I've learned many things in 104-degree weather. I have much wisdom to pass on to you and your children, and I've pondered several of life's difficult questions, such as:

"Do you have to poop? For the love of all that's holy - poop at the HOTEL! Poop NOW while you CAN!"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Magic Mike, a Derecho and Last Weekend. A Tragedy in Two, Maybe Three Parts

(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)
Part 1
All I wanted from last Friday night was to see naked young male movie stars in the premiere of  Magic Mike.

Yeah, I felt good, stepping into the elevator at 5 p.m. for a girls' night out to watch naked young male movie stars with a big group of mom friends. Prettied up, looking fancy. I mean - I wore clean shorts . . . lotion on my legs . . . lip gloss. I fixed my hair, for shit's sake. As if naked young male movie star Channing Tatum could see me from the theater screen.

When I walked outside, I realized I had made a huge mistake with the preening and the application of any kind of petroleum product. The sky was dark, and angry winds blew down High Street, churning up dirt, debris and homeless crackhead germs, all of which immediately glommed onto my lip-glossed lips and lotioned legs. Rain pelted me hard and sideways as I hustled up the street, causing the dust/debris/homeless crackhead germs to streak down my skin. 

We will not speak of the consequences to my hair.

Grooming: This is why I normally don't bother.

That's what I thought while I high-tailed it to the parking lot in a record four minutes. Before starting the ignition, I looked at the weather on my phone: severe thunderstorm warnings with possible high winds. Nothing too worrisome - no mention of tornados. Just a typical shitty Ohio summer storm forecast.

Still - something felt wrong - something seemed off. But I figured maybe I had just angered the gods in my quest to see naked young male movie stars.

So I started up the car and merged onto I-70 with all the other eastbound rush-hour dummies, racing through the driving rain. I tried to ignore my foreboding and concentrate on the prospect of  Magic Mike.

As I traveled, the weather grew more and more menacing. Hail. Punishing rains. Unbelievable wind.

Forty-five minutes into my commute, a few miles from home, the clouds turned pitch black. Branches and utility lines blew one way and another and the storm picked up, pounding until I could barely see the white lines - stopping, starting and stopping again. I kept going, though. Seemed like I didn't have a choice.

It grew still.

And just like a nightmare, through slapping windshield wipers I watched a Chevy sedan from the other side of the freeway spin around furiously three times, then crash through the thick cement barrier separating I-70 east and west. When the car came to a halt, no one was visible at the wheel.

But I couldn't stop. I couldn't help the driver, because that's when my husband called.

"Where you at? Be careful! A tornado just hit the house. But we are O.K. . . . we're O.K."

I mashed the pedal down and flew the last few miles home, suffering only a mild panic attack/infarction/stroke, past the wrecked cars and dangling power lines.

And there they were, up on the hill, just beyond 15 large downed trees in the yard and driveway. They stood under other trees buckling the porch roof. The three of them wide-eyed and trembling and shell-shocked. My family. They had gone to the basement. 

Thank God, they were O.K.

They were O.K.

The house? That's another story. Tune in next week for chaos . . . destruction . . . bad luck . . . but, sadly, no naked young male movie stars.