Virginia took a beating last week with a round of thunderstorms that no one anticipated. Over 800K homes in the state lost power- and some still don’t have the juice back on almost a week out. I arrived at the Barn about 10 minutes ahead of the storm. The power died, I realized I had no matches and I listened nervously as the 60+ mile hour winds howled through the Barn and hoped that the tell tale sign of a tornado- that sound of a train bearing down on you- didn’t present itself. Luckily, it didn’t. So, I went to bed in the stifling heat and hoped that the power would return in the AM. It didn’t. For three days.
Fast forward to Sunday evening. I’m laying on the couch, in the middle of a massive heat-wave with no AC, no power and now no water at the Barn. I’m reminding myself that I used to spend my summers in the developing world, where the heat was worse, the air was fully polluted and you didn’t really want to have much to do with the water anyway. Big deal, I can weather this little inconvenience. And in comes a call from a client needing shots on the fly. In 12 hours. Two hours away. In the heat, documenting the linemen trying to restore power to the Culpeper region. Hell yes! Anything to get out of this Barn and into something productive.
Are the batteries charged? No. Can I charge them now, no. Have I showered recently and can I shower somewhere tomorrow- early? Yes. With all the major items covered, I went to bed with the knowledge that I’d be documenting something pretty sweet in the morning. Works for me.
Four a.m. at the barn rolls around and all the lights explode into life in the Barn! Woo-hoo!! Power! I get up to turn the AC on, lay back down and they die. Really? I fell back asleep- if you call it that- somewhere in-between sleep and misery in that kind of heat- and then the Barn lights up again. And this time it sticks. I jump up and crank that AC, plug in my camera batteries and try to catch another hour or two of sleep before I jump in the truck and head north.
So, this is where the Universe inserts itself into those little moments just for comedic value. I roll out of bed, ready for an adventure with the linemen and head to the kitchen to revel in the beauty of running tap water. I turn the faucet and water explodes- everywhere- from BENEATH the sink!! WTF?? I’m still in my PJs, I’m thinking of my day ahead and now my feet are soaked. And so is my floor. And its going EVERYWHERE!!! And not stopping.
My landlord, who lives 100 yards away runs over to the rescue and turns off the water. We start mopping and I’m looking at my time schedule for the day go to shit, rapidly. But, I was able to salvage the timing and get on the road without too much delay.
And then the work began. Phew!! The shoot was fascinating and I have a new appreciation for the work that goes into keeping my lights on and my camera batteries charged.
And if Virginia keeps rolling in these storms (three major ones in a week— w/tornadoes) I’ll be seriously considering solar panels soon. Oh, and that emergency weather kit I forgot to purchase, yea- that’s next on the list!