What's a derecho? You don't wanna know.

I take it back. I don't like thunderstorms that much. I must have jinxed myself with my last post because the day after it published, we had the mother of all thunderstorms in Northern Virginia, where I was visiting my parents. The weather service is calling the storm a "derecho," pronounced da-Ray-cho. It's a rare storm event with strong winds that moves straight along its path(unlike a tornado that turns.) All I knew was that it was pretty scary to hear an enormous branch fall on the roof above our bedrooms.

We'd spent the afternoon at the Air and Space museum, where we'd seen an IMAX film about tornados. That evening, as the kids were out catching fireflies in their jars, I thought it felt like the weather right before a tornado. It was very hot and very humid. Sure enough, within a few hours, we heard the thunder and lightening, saw stuff flying around in the wind, and watched the lights flicker out.

I thought the lights would be back on by morning--in time for me to curl my hair for my book signing. Nope. It turned out the damage was worse than I'd realized. The power was out all across Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. There were trees lying across the roads, and no traffic lights were working. After driving through all the disaster areas, I was expecting the This is the Place Bookstore in Maryland to be closed, but they opened for a little while that morning. Since the power was out, we decided to postpone my signing until the next Saturday.

It took us 50 hours to get the power back at my parents' house. During that time, my kids gained a new appreciation for electric lights, air conditioning, refrigerators, and stoves. It wasn't really what I wanted them to learn on vacation, but I'll take what I can get.


  1. So does this mean you are back? We have been thinking about you and wondering how bad things were for you on vacation. Hope that there are some good memories and that you were able to enjoy at least some of your vacation.

    1. We just got back. We had a fun time, despite the weather and a couple of other disasters.

  2. Boy, did you ever pick a great time to go visit there. :P


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