Sandy, Bob, and Barack

Panic set in.
It began where panic always sets in for me: my chest, that solar plexis area. that holy shit, oh my god, i need tums, pepto bismal, maybe even an colon cleansing.
i often think i’m having a stroke. that’s where i go first. but then i go onto google & search & read all the symptoms, all the possibilities, and then i come to the conclusion that no, no, no… i am not having a stroke, i’m merely having a complete anxiety & panic attack.

this doesn’t encourage me, but it eases my mind.

a hurricane was coming. sandy.

we were in the batten down the hatches mode. ken was stoking fires, building fires. preparing for the “no power, no water, no phones … days.” filling the tub with water. strategically placing newspapers, and kindling where he could find them in the dark. i was pacing and worrying, and calling on every god i’ve ever called on to keep me from fraying, falling apart, while trying to decide if it was necessary for me to color co-ordinate my panty and bra drawer.

i am a city girl.
no matter that i’ve lived here in the woods for over 20 years.
i am a city girl.
at heart.
at soul.
in my closet.
but i am a country girl who is deep, deep in love with a guy named ken who is a country boy at heart, at soul, in his messy closet.

the lights blew.
they just fucking blew.
it was quick.
fast & furious.

it was fierce.
it howled at us.

we were prepared.
ken was completely and utterly prepared.
my guy.

the first night felt sexy.
candlelight, and dinner, and a bottle of champagne. we ate, we drank, we went to bed at 8 o’clock. it felt kinda normal, weird with a side of uneasy, but kinda normal.

the next day, day 2, was filled with nervous energy.
my nervous energy.
ken stoked fires in our wood-burning stove, built a fire in our fireplace.
i rearranged some furniture and cursed the internet gods.
we had no phones, no cell service, no heat, no power.
that night wasn’t sexy.
it was becoming tedious.

day three.

ken reminded me that we had each other.
“oh, babe, it’s like being on vacation on a remote island…”

i didn’t feel the same.
i was beginning to feel very unhappy & joyless & holy shit cranky.
i wanted to score some crack and give myself a crazy pass.
“i’m a city girl, ken.”
“well, hon, the city is completely dark.”
“fine, ken. be negative,”

i was beginning to hear the distant calling of a hotel room. a toilet flushing. a vacuum running. a dishwasher.

i longed for a dimmer switch.

we stayed with our friends at night.
friends whose power had come back.
so fortunate, so lucky. so loved.
great food, great wine.

this brought up a whole other layer for me.
a suppressed layer.
asking for help.
needing help.
feeling helpless.

it pushed all my buttons. every single one. i felt needy, and less than and oh my god… i wanted to crawl into a dark hole, until i realized that i had been in a dark hole and decided that wasn’t making me feel better. dark holes are not comforting.

i allowed the pain & discomfort to move through me. like a bad flu. i took xanax and drank plenty of fluids.

we came home during the day to feed the cats, stoke the fires, argue incessantly about generators, and on one occasion – because god knows when you’re in the dark you can re-arrange drawers unknowingly, and then you can’t tell the difference between one frickin’ tube from another – i ran a massive amount of K-Y JELLY through my hair thinking it was hair product. i can’t even begin to tell you what that smelled like, and because i had to wait until i got back to my friends house with power & showers to wash my hair, i was tempted to shave my head.

‘what’s that smell, it’s coming from you?”
‘my vagina, ken. it’s my vagina.’
‘really? it’s coming from your head.’
‘see that. now you know how smart my vagina is.’

i couldn’t get the k-y out fast enough.

but we lived through that.
and yes, yes, god yes, it gave new meaning to getting & giving head.

day 5

the cats were freezing. they were not happy to see us when we returned with treats. ken made a roaring fire, kept the house perfectly warm, and we threw blankets on the floor so bella & lotus could cuddle and talk about us behind our backs. i could have sworn bella told me to fuck myself. we emptied the refrigerator. ken wanted me to toss everything into a compost bucket, i wanted to toss everything into the fucking garbage can. we compromised. don’t ask.

it all became so very tedious, and hard; feelings were hurt, words were said, and a lot of fuck you’s were shared, tossed about, recycled.

day 6

the ny giants were playing that evening.
ken lives for them.
he lives for them.
laura and florin invited us over for dinner, wine, and for ken to watch the giants. ken was thrilled. ecstatic. i was now in ‘i wanna move to paris, and smoke cigarettes, and wear fabulous clothes from agnes b., and write postcards saying: wish you were here…’

i was cranky, mean, nasty, and oh so fucking unhappy.
my vagina was dry, my hair was sticky, my clothes were dirty.

my panty & bra drawer were empty.

i drank wine and dreamed of starting a new life over anonymously. you know, get in a car, and drive until you run out of gas … but then i realized that i would end up about a half-hour from home since they were now rationing gas in our area. 20 bucks wouldn’t get me far.

and then the call came from kathy (my neighbor/goddess), the power was back on and the NY Giants lost.


it was going to go back to normal.

but normal – normalcy – is all relative.

the next day as we were reveling in the beauty & the sheer generosity of power, and electricity, and the simple things we take for granted on a daily basis, ken’s brother was taken off life-support.

the irony: we were up and running, and bob (ken’s brother) was off and getting ready to bow out.

the thing is, bob felt utterly powerless his whole life. he felt defeated by life. he made choices that kept him unhappy, unfulfilled. he chose sorrow over joy, anger over forgiveness, misery over love. he allowed his life to remain stagnant. he never let go of his sadness or his past. he didn’t know how to live without regret.

you hold on to pain, and pain holds onto you. it grabs you, and keeps you in it’s grip.

we are on this earth to own the power (internally & externally) we have, to stand tall and speak up, to say no to any and every cruelty, to any and every abuse we heap on ourselves and others, to live our lives with passion and belief, and the absolute conviction that we can change our destiny by letting go of our past.

and today on day 8…


at this very moment – the future, along with my vagina – feels much safer.

Category: Uncategorized 20 comments »

20 Responses to “Sandy, Bob, and Barack”

  1. Lori Landau

    I FUCKING LOVE YOU. and I am laughing OUT LOUD. when is the last time you really laughed out loud reading something? I think it’s day 4 that really got me. Oh my God, Amy–you are a gift……….

  2. Hollye Dexter

    Thank you for granting my wish and writing about this!

    I loved it!

  3. Suzi Banks Baum

    I long to run my hands through your hair.
    Put a tiny mike on the cats.
    And compare compost piles.

    So good.
    Gift indeed.
    xoxox S

  4. melody george

    Dearest Amy Ferris…
    I never have the words to express myself when it comes to your God -Gifted ability to pull me in…wrap me in your arms..make me smile..make me cry..and let me know that I am ok….all with your words…your writing..your expressing…your sharing. Once again..I read..and re-read..and re-read again your simple little blog..and I am left in awe at your brilliance. YOU are such the WRITER…My Goodness!!! Dorothy Parkers wit…Ann Tylers emotional wringing…these gals have nothing on you….
    You write from the heart..AND the head!! My words are not enough..but thank heavens yours ARE…!

  5. Kristine

    I have one question…where did the hair product end up?
    I adore you and the way your mind works…even in the dark your outlook on the world makes me laugh. Thank heavens for POWER!

  6. Madgew

    You need more underwear and bras. Glad all are safe, so many still not. Sorry to hear about Ken’s brother.

  7. Bill

    AWESOME! I love this blog. Love your honesty! Love your passion! Love your wisdom!

  8. Tracy J.

    You are brilliant! Absolutely without a single doubt… xoxoxo

  9. Elisabeth Lohninger

    Amy – I fucking love you! You’re the cat’s elbow, as they say in my country (NOT!)

  10. Melissa A

    I really enjoyed reading this. I was laughing about the KY hair gel and how candid you are with the “v” word. Love it!!!
    I’m so glad we agree about the President because I’m sick of everyone coming down so hard on him. He’s obviously the better candidate or he wouldn’t have won for a second term. He won both elections legitimately, unlike a certain past president who caused a stink about the voting count and delayed the results for days…
    Thanks for the smiles. Hope things are getting back to normal for you. Sorry to hear about Bob.

  11. ACS

    Welcome to Vermont

  12. Anonymous

    Oh God, this is you at your best! This is why people all over the world were panicking when your power went out and you maybe missed a post or two. Some guy in England seemed like he was going to jump off a bridge. Amy… you have the gift of being able to take every impossible situation: menopause, shame, hurricanes, dementia, etc. and make us simultaneously laugh and weep. This is the gift. And it’s because you tell the truth, YOUR truth and it’s powerful stuff. I love that you let us into the deepest corners of your life, with absolutely no filter. So not only are we laughing and weeping, we are also surprised. And this makes for a damn good read. Only the very best of the best do that well. Brava, Amy Ferris, for turning the aftermath of Sandy into one of the best stories of the season. xxxxx

  13. Maya

    KY? In your hair? Seriously? Interesting that Ken knows so well what KY smells like (an aside–I use an off brand from a store out here (Fred Meyer) that works 5 times better and costs about 3 times less).

    I know I mentioned it before, being snowed in without power for a week in my 5th wheel, no fire, no source of heat, no shower, and the housemates who live in the big old farmhouse that I flee when Darryl goes off to gad about Asia tootling off to town as I watch them, bereft and tear-soaked. Furthermore, I had no hubby to snuggle up to and keep me warm. It was all pretty ghastly, but my two main complaints were no food and NO SHOWER. I turn into some version of a rotting heap of protoplasm and my crankiness knows no bounds when I am even one day past my last shower.

    So it is that I can not only visualize your ordeal, I can weave it in with my own ghastly memories and empathize to the point of personal misery.

    Hang in there angel. I sure do love you 🙂


  14. Debra DeAngelo

    Wow, what a snapshot of hormonally fueled anxiety!!! You are brilliant. I think this may be one of my favorite columns of yours ever!!!

  15. Dena

    Never thought I’d love someone I’d never met so much….fabulous. Sorry you had to go through that…you really could have come and stayed with us “in the City”.

  16. Cindy Slane

    Love it, Amy. Your KY story both made me laugh out loud and made me think of my (wonderful) grandmother Rose, who told another great story about the kinds of mixups that can happen in the dark. In her case, it was mistaking a tin of Johnson’s black shoe polish for the tin of hemmorhoid ointment she thought she had put on her nightstand before she went to bed (<:). She reported that both she and my grandfather were very surprised in the morning, but all ended well: the shoe polish worked.

  17. Gayle Lin

    I, too, have a story of mixed-up products.

    My vagina can sing.

    Imagine Colgate tooth powder
    Sprinkled on a sanitary napkin

    Instead of Quest which was used to control

    My vagina screamed in decibels.

  18. Matt Naj

    The ladies really came through for President Obama. When people vote, politicians listen. So I am wondering when the GOP is going to stop and listen to the ladies….

  19. Reticula

    Pretty sure this is your best post yet. So funny and so poignant. Bravo.

    I expect to see this, “i wanted to crawl into a dark hole, until i realized that i had been in a dark hole and decided that wasn’t making me feel better. dark holes are not comforting,” on one of those Victorian postcards someday soon.

  20. JEA

    While Bob may have chosen a certain path, in doing so, he taught his daughter the path not to choose. I choose life. I choose love. I choose forgiveness and grace. I would not know this were it not for the beautiful sacrifice Dad made in his life for me. And I’m eternally grateful for what he taught me. Compassion. Love. No regrets because they’re not worth it. I’m glad I saw this now, and not when things were fresher. Now I can honestly say, you’re right. Dad lived life afraid. Afraid of possibility. Afraid of consequence. And in doing so, he taught me to forge on without fear and knowing that God is with me wherever I go. Amen. Thanks Dad. I love you.

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