“A devastating ice storm cut off power to over one million people, and brought widespread damage and auto accidents to a large part of Oklahoma and surrounding states on December 8-11, 2007. Freezing rain accumulated on trees and power lines, bringing the lines down and leaving around 600,000 homes and businesses without electricity. Officials say it will several days to restore power to everyone. Hundreds of auto accidents were reported on ice slick roadways. The ice storm was the result of persistent widespread rain that fell into a shallow layer of below freezing air. This allowed the rain to freeze upon contact with exposed objects.”
Sounds pretty terrible, right? Power outages, treacherous roads, downed power lines…crazy stuff!! And you guessed it, Cassie and Audrey were right in the middle of it! Living in an off-campus apartment at the University of Oklahoma while on a clinical rotation at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities(which we may do a post on another day, as it is an amazing place with some amazing people!). It was a scary and lonely time…
…except that it wasn’t. It was totally awesome.
A little background on our Oklahoma experience. We all knew in PT school that we’d be expected to complete at least 1 rotation out-of-town…there just weren’t enough local rotations for the whole class. And getting outside our “comfort zone” and experiencing the clinical setting in another town offered a different perspective. So, when it came time to choose, Cassie and I agreed to sign up for the Oklahoma rotation together. Eight weeks in a small college town, working at a really great pediatric facility, living together like college roommates…how bad could that be??
Fast forward to our arrival in Norman. We arrive at our LOVELY(sarcasm) apartment to find: 1.)Cobwebs, 2.) showers clearly built for hobbits, and 3.) NO electricity(i.e., no A/C). It was a balmy 95 degrees in Norman that day. And someone had strung these weird Oragami birds all around the apartment. What were we doing here? WE HAVE TO LIVE HERE FOR 8 WEEKS? My husband had come with us to help us get our stuff moved in and help us get settled. Once he left, Cassie and I sat on our crazy uncomfortable furniture in our stuffy, dark apartment, and began to cry. We were like college freshmen whose parents had just dropped them off for college. So we did what anyone would do. We went shopping. And ate ice cream and tater tots from Sonic for dinner.
Now, with such a bleak beginning, you’re probably expecting a story about how everything was terrible but we came through it stronger because we’re such great friends. And I suppose you could see it that way. Our shower was horrible. We had to turn our stove/oven on with pliers because the knobs didn’t work. There were no outlets where there should’ve been outlets(i.e., the kitchen) so we ended up cooking our toast and stuff in Cassie’s room! Our TV got exactly 3 very static-y local channels…and that was because we ghetto-rigged it with rabbit ears made from a clothes hanger. We worked all day with kids who required tons of attention and supervision, and we were desperately trying to keep up and learn as much as we could. We left work to go to the local Y and slug it out in Kickboxing to try and stay in shape. And then we came home to a drafty, dreary apartment every night. I usually fell asleep with Friends or LOST playing on my tiny TV in my room, just to have something familiar and comforting. I missed my husband, and Cassie missed her family.
But you know what happened? We cried and felt sorry for ourselves. We ate junk. We made collages of pictures and decorated our rooms like we were back at college. And then we had a BLAST. We went to work everyday and grew as therapists. We loved being workout buddies and we kicked ASS in Kickboxing. We went to the Halloween parade at JDMC. We decorated the apartment for Thanksgiving, then Christmas. We watched countless hours of Friends and Harry Potter while I taught Cassie how to knit, and we made Gryffindor scarves(yes, we’re dorks). We visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and learned the meaning of the Oragami Cranes hanging in our apartment. And when ICE STORM 2007 came blustering into town, we bundled up, grabbed takeout from our new favorite spot, The Pita Pit, stocked up on the essentials(wine and Jack Daniels…hey, we had to keep warm, right?), and battened down the hatches.
Work and town shut down, so we braved the ice-coated OU campus, bundled in our new scarves, and took a million pictures. We had a Friends marathon in-between watching static-y weather updates complete with dramatic sound effects for the wind and ice(**WHHHOOOOOSHHHH!!**).
And as our time in Oklahoma wound down to a close, we sat on the same couches we’d sat on our first day, and cried just as we had that first day. Except this time we were crying because we couldn’t believe we had to leave. Wine in hand, we recounted every favorite memory we’d made, laughed at our hardships, recalled all the experiences we’d had. And the next day we packed up our stuff, loaded our cars, and returned to life in Memphis. And you know what?
We haven’t stopped talking about it since.
Because, if there was one thing we learned in Oklahoma in the fall of 2007, it was this: