>Every Wednesday night around 8:30, I call my parents. A set time ensures that we check in with one another despite busy schedules, and is a tradition turns 13 on August 28, when I moved to New York for college, although the day and time has changed many times over the years. Of course, if something important comes up between our time to talk, we just call each other. I assumed that included natural disasters.

Turns out that there was a huge storm that hit the Chicago area on Thursday night. My parents assumed that the devastation would make the national news and that I would see it, so they didn't bother calling me and were slightly surprised when I didn't call them to see how they were. However, I don't watch TV news so I had no idea what was going on or if it even made the news here in New York at all. I did notice an article in Friday's New York Times about flooding in the Midwest, but a quick skim of the information revealed only flooding in Ohio and Indiana, so I moved on.

On Thursday, I tried calling my friend Rachel to wish her a happy birthday, and found it odd that a recorded message saying that all circuits were busy came on. When I tired her again yesterday, the phone was still out, so I rang her cellphone. She was in the process of digging out her flooded basement and still had no electricity. I decided to call my folks. The phone was also out, so I worriedly called my dad's cellphone. They were out at their monthly Couple's Club event, but cheerfully informed me that their power was still out and the basement filled with 12-15 inches of water and mud.

They are fine, but I don't think I've felt more useless or father away since I moved here.