Sep 20, 2008

let there be light

after seven days of no power, we are finally plugged in and hooked up; the comforting hum of electricity permeates the house. i was highly optimistic this evening as i left the house for a ride to see crews working in our neighborhood; but they must have been under some sort of gag order, cause when i asked if their presence meant we'd have power soon, they weren't talkin'.

but as i was gathering up the girls from a birthday party, where i was being given an entire pizza to take home to my still powerless house, my husband called with the good news that we were once again, back on the grid.

the past seven days have been an interesting adventure in contrasts. there was much about the power outage that i loved: i was amazed by how quiet everything was without that undercurrent of a hum of computers, refridgerators, and every other manner of electrical appliance. i loved going to bed soon after it got dark and waking up when the light hit our bedroom. i loved playing board games with the kids. i loved how social everyone in the neighborhood was - everyone would mill about outside trying to soak up the last bits of light & then would gather around our driveway campfire. as friends' power came on, they'd have impromptu dinner parties and it was perfectly acceptable to bring your laundry; and then to leave their parties with the flashlights & coolers that they no longer needed.

all of this was actually really nice.
and sorta fun.

but. without that hum of electricity, my kids never really had any zoned-out down time - sadly, that damn tv provides a bit of a recharge to my oldest in particular. so while nothing else was wired; my kids were. when they decided to dock the ss imagination for refueling, they would get bored and push each other's buttons to see exactly how crazy they could make one another (and subsequently, me). i think one day i screamed at the top of my lungs for them all to get the hell away from each other. they just looked at me stunned & then went to their separate corners.

i was getting tired of the daily search for an outlet and a table at the coffee shop to get online. i am behind on more work than i want to think about. and if i had to eat another pb&j or granola bar or banana; i was going to explode. if i had to go to the store again only to find they were out of ice or tiny bottles of milk for cereal i would have just sit down in the aisle and cried. i think it was just yesterday morning i would have killed someone for an omelet with spinach and feta cheese and tomatoes; and when i took the kids out for breakfast in search of that perfect meal, all i found were restaurants also out of power and so it was back home to the local diner where i got my eggs, but they weren't as dreamy as i imagined.

that cooler that we brought home from a dinner party? i never thought having a cooler and being able to have mayonnaise to make tuna fish would bring such joy into my home. i went to the market and bought an entire half gallon of milk, not just the little chug a lug size. i bought grapes, and pre-cooked chicken to make into chicken salad. i bought greens for a salad. greens, chicken and cold grapes have never been so yummy.

my house is lit up like vegas now. i went down to my basement to throw in a load of laundry and laughed at myself as i grabbed the lantern before heading downstairs. my son is making up for lost time online by cramming in as much you tube and line rider games as he can before bed. and the noise is driving me to distraction. i can hear my husband and i clacking away on our laptops. i can hear the still empty refigerator humming and the dryer in the basement. all the daily hums of a modern life that we took for granted until just 7 days ago seem so loud and annoying now. my girls were watching that insipid disney channel earlier - they have since been sent to bed, but i can hear them walking around upstairs, pro-longing bedtime. all week, we've sent the kids up to bed & they've been asleep within minutes. no last minute trips to bathroom for water, no pleading to leave any hall light on. just instant sleep.

there were plenty of moments that i wanted to tear my hair out and when the whole thing had crossed the line from fun and adventure to complete tedium. but it could have been a lot worse. we could have had a tree through our house. it could have been 90 degrees all week. we could have had no hot water. but we didn't have any of those issues - in the grand scheme of things, the inconvenience of it all wound up to be sort of nice.

i'm just sayin.
it wasn't so bad.
i'm gonna miss certain aspects of it.

but first i'm going to shut off some of these lights that are on, finish checking my emails, catch up on some blogs, switch my laundry, set my alarm - because tomorrow i can't wake up with the sun -and go to bed.

those lawn chairs gathered around our driveway campfire look a little lonely. we're gonna have to make that a regular gig.


Laurel said...

This is a fantastic post. It's funny how you take things for granted. Even after the lights come back on. :)

All in all, I'm glad you are now enjoying the comforts of modern life. And I'm glad you and your family weathered the storm unharmed.

ItchyBits said...

Yeah! I would not have made 7 days. Stupid question but did you have running water during this? I am having a blond moment trying to think if electric would be involved...forget it I can't think.

Groover said...

What a nice post. I'm glad you have electricity again but it's a great lesson (or two) to be learnt from your story.

zanne said...

hey betty - yes, we had running water & it was hot too! not being able to wash the few dishes we had dirtied or take a hot shower would have an added an entirely different element i never would have thought i could go 7 days either ... but it wasn't so bad. also think the weather had a lot to do with how not so bad it was - can't imagine if it was blazes hot or bitter cold, or raining & the kids couldn't have played outside all day.

i will, however be stocking up on C and D batteries, and a cooler (or two) bigger than a six pack.

thanks for all the comments past few posts - fun to finally be able to go catch up on what y'all have been up to.

Cindy said...

sounds like quite an adventure. glad to hear you are plugged into the grid again!

Anonymous said...

I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have lost power for only two days. Glad you're back up and running....I mean riding!

Gotta Run..... said...

I am see the good and bad with being powered. You made it 7 days... anyone in their right minds would begin to get a little crazy.

I can only guess that your grocery bill will be a nice one as you restock the frig.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm glad you got your electricity back, finally! I think I wouldn't lost my mind. As usual, you have a great attitude regarding adversity! :)

house on hill road said...

can you say alleluia? ours came on at 1:30 this afternoon. that'd be 8 full days. can't wait to go to the grocery! and oddly enough we are having all those bedtime problems, too. i'm yanking the nightlights.

zanne said...

oh yeah - there is no need for nightlights! that was made abundantly clear last week! glad your power is back. i still have yet to fill fridge.

Unknown said...

So glad to hear you've finally seen the light!

Nat said...

There are things we forget about in this wired world. But a week, yeah, a week I'd be missing The Boy's screen time too.

We have street parties a few times a year, to encourage people to get out and hang. Sort of like the camp fires.

Good to hear things are getting back to normal.

Anonymous said...

I am missing impromptu dinner parties. And smores in the back yard. Who needs electricity?