Saturday, February 18, 2006

Flurry Flurry

What a wild and interesting 24 hours! Richard and I left Friday afternoon for a weekend of dancing in Saratoga Springs, the annual Dance Flurry. Richard has been before, but this was to be my first time. We'd booked a room for Saturday night, but because of my schedule on Friday we weren't sure we'd actually get to Saratoga for Friday night. We were able to leave town a little early, so we tried to call Holiday Inn, Saratoga Springs from the highway to reserve our room for both Friday and Saturday... no answer after many attempts. Richard was able to reach someone at a corporate level Holiday Inn who was happy to extend our stay... looks like a fun weekend in store for us!
Driving was a bit treacherous with the high winds on the highway Friday afternoon, it was really tricky trying to stay in my own lane as gusts of wind pushed and pulled the car. That, plus a tip from friends, led us to take the Biddeford exit and head across southern New Hampshire and then across Vermont into New York. The wind was blowing the tree tops so hard that we were making silly jokes about how the tops of the trees COULD probably snap off and impale the car; power lines COULD break and wrap themselves across the car; etc. I can't remember just when we started noticing that people were without power... probably shortly before we started noticing emergency vehicles, blocked roadways, detours, and downed trees. When we got into Saratoga Springs we really knew we were encountering something big because the entire city was dark. No traffic lights, no lights in the buildings, no street lights on many streets. It was a good thing Richard knew where we were going, I don't know if we would have been able to find the Holiday Inn in the dark. As it was, we never did see their sign on the building. Once there, we went to check in and found mild chaos. No electricity, no telephone, no cell phones... that's why we had been unable to reach them directly. Check in was done on pieces of notebook paper, there was a generator running for basic lights, and we were told we could stay there if we wanted to, but not to expect much other than cold running water (which meant the toilets worked and that meant the hotel was better than sleeping in the car).
We had flashlights with us, so were able to find our way through the hotel to our room. The generator made it possible for the room keys to function so we felt secure, though they did have to leave the outside doors unlocked. Walking through the pitch dark corridors, and up the pitch dark staircase made me think about last years hurricane Katrina, and the horror stories that were told by those who found shelter in the stadium. We were safe, and in a safe environment and I felt uneasy... I can only imagine what it would have been like in dark cooridors and stairwells surrounded by unsavory characters in terrifying weather conditions.
Saturday morning found us well rested, not too cold (we turn our heat down at home to 58F at night anyway) and ready for some COFFEE. We have a power inverter that plugs into our car and I thought maybe the little hotel coffee maker would brew us up a nice little pot of coffee, but apparently it uses more power than the inverter can supply so that didn't work. We went down to the hotel lobby, and they had the most wonderful breakfast spread. Muffins, cereal, juices, fresh fruit, breads, yogurt... and hot water with tea and instant coffee! All the tables were nicely set with linens and small candles, and a gas fire was going in the other room. The staff was welcoming, and especially helpful to one gentleman who required some special dietery considerations which they were able to provide. Once we got our food, and our coffee, we looked up and it had started snowing... you know, the really big slowly drifting flakes that make you feel like you're in a snow globe? Very romantic! I couldn't have planned anything nicer if I'd tried.
The hotel staff was encouraging people to check out since they did not expect power to be restored until possibly Sunday, and they were finding it difficult to accomodate people. So, we packed up our stuff and headed over to City Center where we heard the dances were going to be held until 4pm that day. We heard there had been some limited dancing Friday night, but all workshops were cancelled and all events for Saturday night and Sunday were also cancelled due to the extensive power outage.
Saratoga Springs lost their power Friday morning due to high winds resulting in massive damage throughout the area. One guy died when the top of a tree broke off and landed on his truck... so much for us joking around that such a thing could happen. When we left the dance around 4pm, power still had not been restored. Tree limbs were down, power lines were down and dangling. Dance Flurry organizers must have been so disappointed. I have to say though, despite the barriers and the reduced revenues, I had a really good time. I know that the event would have been much bigger, and more people would have been there, but to have it pulled together and to have four rooms set up with enough power for basic lighting and sound equipment so that dances could be held during the day says a lot for anyone involved in pulling it together. There were a lot of disappointed dancers too, who had travelled many hours to dance for just an afternoon, but as Richard noted to me, this will be the dance that is used as a benchmark for all other Flurries. 'Oh yeah, that was the year after the power outage' or 'I think that may have been the year before they lost the power'... so even though it didn't make the money planned, it will be remembered by all.
We're back home now, car is unloaded, we're getting ready to turn in for the night. It's been a flurry of activity to get packed, drive to New York, face unexpected circumstances, join in the dancing, and drive back home from the Flurry. But we've had such a good time together, and you can't beat that!
Flurry Flurry is a tune from Along the River.


Tonya said...

How appropriate! I just blogged about "expectations" and who you both were in the face of something not expected, was UNSTOPPABLE! :-) I'm so excited to read your blog this morning. It makes me smile!

I love you Spammy!

Justine said...

It sounds like another chapter in the book of "Spammie". I'm glad you made it back safely; if anyone can survive a dark, cold hotel - it definately is YOU! Love ya!