Friday, June 4, 2010
(This was Father accompanying me while I was viewing the damages in the neighborhood. This was after the street was cleaned up.)
On Saturday evening, my mom received a phone call from her sister; her power was restored and we were invited down to Knightdale. We could stay there until our power came back on. The only thing we had to contemplate is what to do with Father. We definitely couldn’t take him to Knightdale with us. There was no way he would stay in the house all the time, and given his tendency to explore, we feared he would wander off, get lost or run in to the highway right by my aunt’s house. That highway was a deathtrap for many of her pets. If I had to guess, I’d say well over a dozen of their cats and dogs were hit by cars on that highway. We were as concerned about Abby’s safety when it came to that matter, but we had a better control on her, and by that time, I had given her some spanks for running in the street so she got the message about straying away from the house. We decided to leave Father at home, but then we had to leave him in the house or out. If we left him outside, he may have left the house thinking he was abandoned. He could have been spooked by the recent storm and not have been in his right mind. So, we left Father in the house with food and water. Even though the house was a little stuffy, he was secure. We also felt assured that his presence would deter any would be burglars. Even though I thought he was a handsome dog, he could be intimidating to strangers with his Chow features. Between my mom and me, we would visit the house the following week three times per day to let Father out, feed him, give him company and play with him. He was always happy to see us and he was very sweet. I think by that time there was no doubt he was our dog for good.
One thing that made me a little hesitant about going to Knightdale was the fact that my aunt’s boyfriend was there. I can’t describe in detail how crazy, manipulative and annoying that man was, but I will tell a quick story to exemplify what this man was like. The boyfriend convinced my aunt to let him keep a cow in her backyard, the fenced in part which is about a 1/3 to ½ an acre. This man had no business owning a cow. Sure his parents were tobacco farmers a long time ago, but that was during the Eisenhower administration. This man worked his whole career at IBM. I’m still amazed how he could remain employed at one company for so long given his many shortcomings, especially a company with such high regard. Furthermore, my aunt’s house is zoned for business/industrial use (they were grandfathered in w/ their house), and this house was not meant to accommodate livestock. But here was a cow in my aunt’s backyard. When my aunt and boyfriend went to the beach, they left the responsibility of caring for this animal to my cousin who didn’t know a damn thing about animal husbandry. The cow broke free, made its way to the highway and stood there blocking traffic. My cousin found out about it when a state trooper knocked on her door to tell her of the situation. My cousin broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the situation. Did my aunt or the boyfriend ever apologize to my cousin for imposing on her such an outrageous demand? Probably not.
Anyway, my aunt’s house is big with ample room for me to avoid the boyfriend. The boyfriend was in rare form that time too. He was at the peak of his bipolar swing, or in other words, he was at the height of his manic stage. It was so bad that my aunt began to document his behavior starting about that time and for the next 6 months. At her behest, the boyfriend in the following year went to a psychiatrist. The journal my aunt provided the doctor helped in the doctor’s diagnosing the boyfriend with bipolar disorder.
We arrived at my aunt’s house in the early evening. My aunt had a cook-out that night. It seemed like a banquet as far as I was concerned. Since my aunt was one of the few people that had power, there were guests coming in and out of the house all the time and I couldn’t keep track of everyone. Later I went inside to watch football.
I stayed in my aunt’s basement, and at night, so did Abby. The basement used to be where my uncle ran his business, but after he died, my aunt converted it into a living space. There was an “L” shaped couch downstairs where I would watch TV and sleep. After living without power for almost two days, this place seemed like heaven. I remember sitting on the couch watching UNC play Syracuse. UNC beat their asses that night in the Carrier Dome. It was comical listening to the sportscasters say every time that McNabb was sacked how good McNabb was, and McNabb was sacked a whole lot that day. UNC’s defense was that good. I think over half the starters would end up being selected in the first round when they entered the NFL. This was the same UNC team that went 11-1.
Other than UNC pummeling Syracuse, the most vivid memory of that night was my state of relaxation on that couch. Having warm food, cold beer, AC and cable erased the memories of the previous two days. At that moment, Fran didn’t matter. The previous two days were the closest I had ever come to camping. It was all the misery of camping because of the lack of creature comforts but without the scenery afforded at a state or national park—a lose/lose situation. I think camping sucks and don’t know what’s so wonderful about it.