Ok, I'm going to have to go out of order here.  There are still several blogs I need to write on the rest of my trip in Japan, however, they'll have to wait because I am currently in Taiwan, and this country is amazing!  So many things to write about...starting with an ever hectic travel day...

The night before my departure, my sister and I sat on the couch of our screened porch, riffling through aged photographs to use in a slideshow for my brother's 30th birthday.  Mom sat beside us drifting in and out of sleep.  We were so engrossed in our project, we barely stopped to acknowledge the sound of a distant siren.  Mom asked casually why it was going off, but Lara and I simply shrugged and continued our search.  A few moments passed in which Mom fell into a deeper sleep, but she awoke with a start when hard rain began to pound on the porch windows, accompanied by a howling wind.  

"That's why they sirens when off," she said in a slightly groggy state.  We quickly closed the windows as flashes of lightening lit up the dim dining room.  The lights flickered a few times, and then a burst of blue light completely illuminated the kitchen before everything went dark.

There were a few moments of frantic scurrying, in which we all attempted to find a flashlight.  But by the time new batteries were found for the rarely used flashlight, the power came back on.  Mom surveyed the damage outside the front window and screeched, "there's a fire outside!"

I grabbed the phone and quickly dialed 9-1-1, something I've never had to do before (thank goodness).  I kind of amazed myself with my calmness as I described the fire to the seemingly bored emergency response worker on the other end of the line.  As I told her what was happening, I realized the fire was caused by electricity jumping out of a live wire pulled down by a large tree branch from the front oak.  After hanging up, I planted myself in the window seat and watched the wire until the fire truck arrived.  Probably not the smartest thing to do during sever weather, but I was curious!

I watched the entire scene unfold...the fire fighters blocking off the area, raising bright search lights from their vehicles to illuminate the street, and a few workers walking carefully around the area with flashlights surveying the damage.  A particularly entertaining moment occurred when Dad walked out onto the front porch and yelled over the deafening storm what he thought was advice for the workers.

"Yeah, there's a line down over there too," he screeched.  "They're live, this on keeps flickering," he yelled, pointing into the darkness.

"Sir, please stay in your home," a worker advised, as Mom went out to reel Dad back inside.  The whole thing made Lara nervous and light headed, and she lay down on the dining room floor as I continued to crouch in the window.  

The next morning around 6 a.m., the neighbors began to squawk...well due to the fact that they were sequestered in their homes, it was really more shouting than squawking.  But thanks to all of my curious neighbors who screamed questions to the poor DTE representatives who were sent to patrol the area, I learned all the updates on the situation...repeated about ten times!  30,000 residents in Wayne County without power...it would be quite the wait.  

Around 4 p.m. it suddenly became very apparent that we wouldn't be able to get one of our cars out of the driveway to drive to airport for my 7:30 p.m. flight to Taipei, so my cousin Annette was called for backup, and my sister and my parents and I hopped the neighbors fence, hoisting my luggage over as well, in order to safely get to the sidewalk.  For a while we felt a bit like hobos attempting to bum a ride, as we waited for Annette's van to turn the corner and rescue us.  After all those shenanigans, the construction on the way to the airport, the delayed flight, rerouted flight and missing baggage seemed like boring delays during a never ending travel day!