The area right off Exit 76 is like a war zone. You used to take a left and stop at a traffic light right in front of the new hotel...there's not a traffic light there anymore. I don't mean it's out -- I mean IT'S GONE. You can see the stumps where the signs used to be. There's a trailer set up as a control center for the Sheriff's department -- there must have been 100 cop cars along the street in front and to the side of it. None of the stoplights or streetlights on Medical Center Blvd are working, and The Avenue is completely dark. All I could see were flashing lights and men in reflectored jackets, escorting us along.
Every muscle in my body immediately started to shake. It was the first time today I had really been scared...but I was really scared. Happily, the next major intersection (Thompson Lane) had a working stoplight, and I drove into a land of electricity and life.
A couple of years ago, Mom gave me a timer, so that I never again had to return home to a dark house. I currently have a string of magenta Christmas lights plugged into it. I didn't have power when I left the house this morning -- all I could think as I turned the corner by the Boys & Girls Club was "Please let there be pink lights. Please let there be pink lights." And there were.
My house is in one piece, there are no trees down (hey - maybe my neighbors will now finally get rid of the dead tree on my fence!), and I have electricity.
And, for all of you who were worried about him, Charlie's safe too. I found him in the bathtub with a bicycle helmet on, along with our usual Tornado Warning gear. That's my boy.