Jan 27 2011
The warning signs scream every 20 minutes: the house suddenly falls dark and silent, then there’s momentary illumination before everything cuts out again.
Then we wait to see. Is this the one? The one time when we’re stranded in darkness, clinging to the heat we’ve pumped into the house?
Nope. After a few seconds of suspense, the microwave and TV beep to life. The satellite connection rubs its eyes and begins its slow slog to restore a signal. After watching the TV groggily repeat this process five or six times, I finally turn it off.
The point is, we’re waiting. Waiting for that one time when the lights snap off and stay off. When that happens, it’ll be hours, perhaps a day, before normalcy returns. With just a few houses on our grid, we’re low on the power totem pole.
(Note, this is my fourth attempt with this blog. Past drafts have been swallowed in power brown-outs. Now I manically click “save now” every 30 seconds.)
When Martin and I convened at home tonight, the power began toying with us. Without a word, we launched our power-outage management plan:
-gather candles and Martin’s flashlight collection.
-concede that Martin was right (this time) in compulsively buying flashlights while waiting in the check-out line at Home Depot. Martin buys flashlights like people purchase gum or magazines at grocery stores.
-crank the heat to an unbearably high level. The actual temperature is unknown since our thermostat communicates in Celsius. Right now, I’m ready to don shorts and flip flops.
-stock a cooler with food and beverages that typically reside in the fridge; shovel snow into the cooler and plant it outside.
-place wine bottle and six-pack beside cooler.
-set fire and assemble pile of wood that would make the timber industry proud.
-fill large cooking pot with water, since power outage means no water pump and therefore, no water.
-counsel kids on using the potty right away, since no power means no water.
-bathe kids (for reasons above).
-finally, promise this time….if the power gods will see us through this storm…that we’ll buy a back-up generator.
I make this promise every winter, every storm. But this time I mean it.