Damaging winds from Ike swept through the tri-state area yesterday and wiped out power to over 700,000 homes in the greater Cincinnati area. Voreblog reporting for duty, on one of five functioning PCs at work!
Sunday, September 14. 1:31 p.m. It is Procter & Gamble Dividend Day at Kings Island, meaning P&G employees and families have free run of the park. Ben, Erin, Ellen, Eric & Bevin all cash in by riding The Vortex twice in twenty-five minutes. The first time up, we note it is especially windy at the altitude of one hundred forty-eight feet. This, along with the fact we all feel nauseated and Ben has the theme park version of meat sweats, does not prevent us from riding again.
2:35 p.m. It is very windy. Signs are getting blown over. We think about heading home, but not until we’ve horded the free P&G product samples they are giving out in tents circling the mini-Eiffel Tower.
2:59 p.m. “Please step away from the tent!” the man at the Old Spice free sample station yells. “It is not stable right now!” Dozens of people holding trash bags full of Tide, Swiffers, travel coffee mugs and Pringles Stix stare longingly at the Old Spice kits just feet away. “What if we just make a run on one of the boxes?” Ben asks. The Old Spice Sample Man will have none of it. “You must step back farther!” he shouts. We back into the hundreds of other trash bag-carrying consumer zombies. Their strategy seems to be, “If I just stand still, surely someone will start moving soon.” “I’m going to kill someone,” Erin says.
3:03 p.m. We cut our losses and head for the exit. The wind snaps part of the Gillette tent off and a cardboard cutout of Tiger Woods is somersaulting toward an unsuspecting woman. Suddenly we find ourselves in front of the Dunkin Donuts sample tent. There are boxes and boxes of free coffee within grasping distance. A cop is blocking our path. “No samples, folks,” he says. “Please move on.” We strongly consider defying his order. Ben is about to alert the cop to the rogue Tiger Woods assaulting an innocent bystander when he sees Tiger has face-planted to a complete stop. The cop is giving us a look that says, “Is free coffee really worth being tasered?” We move on.
3:21 p.m. We are on 71 South watching trees bend and leaves funnel up and away. “Can you believe we were on a roller coaster two hours ago?” Erin asks. We find the Bengals game on the radio. The Titans block a punt in the endzone to go up 24-7. “Why are they playing football right now?” Erin says.
4:01 p.m. Tree limbs and branches scatter our yard. One has taken out the power line two houses down. There is another tree down across the street at the house with five cars and nineteen people living there. Had our Suzuki been in the driveway, it would’ve been crushed. Miraculously, our house is untouched, though we see shingles wave at us with each strong gust.
5:15 p.m. Everyone on our street has taken this opportunity to bond. Ben talks with Marvin, who lives across the street. Marvin is worried that with the electricity out, his sump-pump won’t work. Marvin has a finished basement where he keeps his model trains and — he Vs his right hand — “my Star Trek collection.”
6:18 p.m. We assess the state of our refrigerator. Thankfully we have not bought groceries in a week, although we still stand to lose a lot of food, including twelve pounds of Costco strawberries that have been in our freezer since the dawn of time. Mention of them instantly provokes an argument. “I can understand one bag,” one of us will say. “But two?? Why did we buy TWO??” Thankfully we will never have this argument again.
6:33 p.m. We set out for food. All of Kenwood is closed. We get word from Tad Smith that some of the Rookwood area has power. “And you should see how crazy the drive-thru line is at Popeye’s!” Tad says. This is the first and last time that statement will ever be uttered in human history.
7:41 p.m. Sated by Potbelly, we are driving home when Ben has a sudden craving for french fries and a Frosty. “Do you think Pleasant Ridge has power?” he asks. “Doubt it,” Erin says. Regardless, Ben exits off 71. As he winds around the ramp, his cell phone slides from his lap into the cup of water sitting between his legs. Erin frantically dries it. “Let’s keep our finger crossed,” she says as she hands it back to Ben. In the industry, they call this foreshadowing.
8:08 p.m. Exhausted, and without power, we decide it’s time to turn in.
Monday, September 15. 12:47 a.m. Ben awakes to his phone ringing. TAD is making an incoming call. “Hello?” Ben says. “Hello?” “Huh? What?” Erin says groggily. “My phone said Tad called, but nobody was there.” The phone rings again. Still no Tad. Then Ben’s phone apparently dials TAD itself. (“Why were you calling me at one in the morning?” Tad will ask the following day.) “What’s going on?” Erin says. Menus start popping up on their own. “I’m not touching anything,” Ben says. “What do you think Tad was calling about?” Erin asks. “I don’t think Tad was calling,” Ben says. “Well, your phone rang,” Erin says. “It’s also on the fritz,” Ben says. “Do you want to use my phone?” Erin asks. “I don’t think Tad really called,” Ben says. Erin calls Ben’s voice mail to check his messages. “You know,” says Erin, “There’s a reason I didn’t sign us up for the extra five dollars a month insurance for our cell phones. I told the man we were responsible.” “Do you think I meant to drop my cell phone in a glass of water?” Ben asks. “I know you don’t like putting lids on your to-go cups because it threatens your manhood or something like that, but I think you should consider doing so from now on,” Erin says. Scooter Thomas jumps on the bed, trying to ease the tension. There is no message from Tad. “Do you think his dish is empty?” Erin asks. “I’ll go check if you give me my headlamp.” “I’ll give you your headlamp if you promise you’ll use a lid on all your cups from now on.” “May I please just have the headlamp.” “Do you promise?” “Yes, I promise. May I PLEASE have the headlamp now.” Headlamped Ben goes downstairs and finds Scooter’s dish is empty. We might not live through this.
8:27 a.m. Ben and Erin get out of bed, get dressed, and go out to scavenge for coffee. Ben’s phone appears to be functioning normally again.
8:54 a.m. Someone from Duke Energy is on the radio saying power could be out for up to a week. Then on the national news we hear Texans could be out of power for up to a month. This puts everything in perspective.
9:11 a.m. The line at the Rookwood Starbucks is out the door. Once inside, we see that it snakes all the way around the store. We are told it is a forty minute wait. We are long past the onset of caffeine addiction to even consider getting out of line.
9:49 a.m. Erin and Ben, venti drinks in tow, leave Starbucks, proud of their accomplishment, still without power, but ready to face the day.
Coming soon: When will the power come back on? What will Ben & Erin argue about at one a.m. this time? Will we brave a trip to Kroger or gnaw our own limbs off first? Stay tuned!