I lived through Tropical Storms Allison and Harvey, both of which inundated the city with more water than I thought was possible. I lived here for Hurricanes Alicia and Ike. And I’ve seen what just an hour of hard rain can do to otherwise safe streets. I have a healthy respect for rain and have learned to take advisories of inclement weather seriously.
So when my favorite weather site is saying that we’re going to have a bad storm, I pay attention.
On Tuesday I spent the day trying to convince people that they should listen to the inclement weather predictions. “They’re saying it’s going to be bad starting tonight and get worse later in the week,” I said. I encouraged clients to get their crisis plans in order. I successfully advocated to cancel a workshop my business was hosting the next morning. And I made contingency plans.
Of course, I was proven wrong the next day. The rain largely ignored the inner loop of the city. And while the outer regions were deluged with rain, the city itself stayed mostly dry. So on Wednesday it was business as usual.
I felt weirdly disappointed. And very foolish.
While I knew that the storm had hit neighboring cities hard enough that they were evacuating, I mistook the cloudy but rain-free sky this morning as an indication that all was well and I didn’t look at the radar until late in the morning. Then I left for a meeting.
That was a mistake.
I hadn’t realized that the north side of the city had been blasted with intense rain that morning already. I didn’t realize that the rain we were receiving was moving to cover the city. It was the kind that floods a city in record-breaking ways. I didn’t realize that I’d forgotten the “will get worse later in the week” part of my speech on Tuesday. I didn’t realize that I really should have stayed put.
I made it home without incident, after crawling my car through the freeway under a darkened sky with rain the entire way. Others were not so lucky.
- My business partner was stuck in a grocery store for hours, caught by high water while he tried to pick up his son at school.
- My siblings were stuck at work until the last kid was picked up (they are teachers).
- My nephew went home with a friend (while my sister waited for other children to be picked up and my brother-in-law braved very high waters to make it back into town). Their car was stuck in high water and they had to walk the last few blocks to make it to his friend’s house. They made it safe, wet but safe.
- And so on, and so on.
I spent the day watching news reports of the city’s flooding, of one of the top ten “wettest” storms do its worst. I spent the day checking in with family members as they each made their way to home and safety. I spent the day wishing I had been completely wrong.
How was your day?
For the first time in nearly two years, I actually deposited money into my savings account!
Two years ago I unexpectedly quit my job. I did that without any real idea of what I would do next. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t think about the next step. I didn’t pause. I didn’t overthink it. I just quit.
It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve done something that impulsive. I used to do things like that all the time, but never on that scale. Little things, medium things, but not life altering things.
I quit my job and then it never quite sunk in. I never got that “oh my God, what did I do?” moment. I never had the moment of panic.
It helped that I had no debt and a healthy savings account.
One day I sat down and figure out how long I could go without making any money. Then I started to take freelancing work. And at first it seemed like no one wanted to hire me. And the money kept going out and no money was coming in. And I started to get worried … for a week or so. Then the work started to roll in.
Last year I had the great experience of having the first month where I didn’t have to take money out of my savings to pay my bills. And then a few months later I lost a contract and had to do it again for two months. And I worried again, for two months. And then the worked really rolled in.
And … drum roll … I put money in my savings account this month!
I know that to you this is a boring thing. But to me this is major. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I’m determined to celebrate my victories where I find them.
What great thing happened to you this week?
You’re happy and successful. The wicked witch in me plots your demise. Why should you be succeeding when I’m not? In a fair world my (much larger) talent would be rewarded with bigger prizes than what you seem to be getting.
You’re cheerful and upbeat. The wicked witch in me plots how to get you to eat that poisoned apple. I think it might dampen those annoyingly cheerful moods and stop the Facebook posts that are just ruining my day.
Others won’t stop talking about that one thing you did that went really well that one time. Again. And again. And again. The wicked witch in me plans how to burn down the forest, with all your supporters, and end that cycle of congratulations.
Fortunately for you, and the rest of the world, I don’t let the wicked witch out. Not even on Halloween. Especially not when I’m being small and petty and jealous and weak.
But it’s fun to imagine.
I’ve spent the past few days in a business coaching conference and I’ve come to the realization that so far I’ve proven to be a bad businesswoman. That’s going to change.
I am “working” the conference, being paid to attend. I have to admit that I was very negative about the whole thing. The last thing I wanted to do was spend three days in a “cheerleading” conference where someone (or several someones) told a room full of people how great they could be if they just did things differently. But now … I have drunk the kool aid.
I am great.
I will be successful.
I will do better.
Just watch and see.
All of these are signs of the end of the world as I know it…
I called Comcast and reduced our cable subscription to the lowest possible that still gives me access to “Defiance,” “The Strain,” and “The Walking Dead.” At the end of the call I’d reduced my monthly bill by $85.
I cancelled my Hulu subscription.
I decided to empty out my storage room, which means getting rid of accumulated items that have been sitting in that room for three years.
I am going to share my brother’s Netflix subscription, which means I am going to cancel mine.
And, oh, by the way, I’m thinking of cutting back on coffee. No, I’m not talking about giving it up completely. My sleep patterns go wonky when I give up coffee. But I’m up to somewhere between 4-6 cups a day. I think I need to cut back a little.
And that’s just the beginning …