During and after the wind storm of wind storms (see previous post Here), our power was out.
For six days.
The power has been back on now for almost a week, and now that I have actually slept, done laundry, vacuumed and built a shrine to both Edison AND Tesla, I can reflect on the stages one must go through in order to survive such a long time without power with two children who would volunteer to have wifi hotspots wired into their brains.
STAGE 1– Cool Headedness
The power goes out and you are a rational human. You check with neighbors to see if you’re the only one. You contact your electric company and report the problem. You text your husband to share the news. He replies, “Fuck” and you think, What’s the big deal?
You read the neighborhood Facebook page and find that several trees have fallen. You venture outside, chat with neighbors, offer your manual sump pump and start thinking that this might last a while.
You’re still not panicked, but now you’re silently cursing the fact that the generator is sitting useless in the garage because it didn’t start during the last power outage.
You get a little freaked out, but again, cool headedness prevails. You call a small engine repair shop and luck out with the owner who says he will not only rent you a generator and bring it to your door, but will also pick up the non-running one and fix it.
And he does, and he fixes it and brings it back before nightfall and he even hooks everything up for you because you’ve never paid attention to that crap.
The fridge and sump and wifi are running, and all is right with the world.
Stage 2– It’s an Adventure! (The shortest stage)
With no heat, you pull out sleeping bags and blankets and light the gas fire and cook eggs and sausage on the gas stove.
The house is chilly, but it’s like camping, kids! Look at all the stars we can see! Snuggle under the covers! Maybe we’ll roast marshmallows!
Stage 3– It’s a Naked and Afraid-type Adevnture where someone might not get out alive
Ok, shit’s starting to get real. The weather forecast looks bad with temps in the 20s. You haven’t slept, so you haven’t cooked and your body is starting to reject all of the fast food and pizza you’ve eaten.
At first, it was cute that all the animals snuggled against you for warmth at night, but now you have dreams that you’re in shop class but you’re the one in the vise and your pets are laughing at they turn the crank.
You start to get a little obsessed with the electric company’s app and the neighborhood Facebook page is filled with comments like, “Says a crew is scheduled!” And you scoff and know it’s a lie. A LIE!!!! You secretly start to think that they are just fucking with you and telling everyone that a crew is scheduled, but you know there’s no crew and the electric company people are all laughing their asses off while they sip REAL COFFEE in their HEATED offices. Motherfuckers.
Stage 4– Going Savage (aka Giving No Fucks)
Every conversation is about heat, electricity, laundry, and food. And all of those conversations contain a healthy dose of expletives.
You might do irrational things like… put a gymnastics bar up in your sitting room and buy chalk and watch your daughter and friends try things that could end in certain death but you don’t care because they’re occupied and you have your half and half vodka drink and who cares because you’ll probably die anyway and the electricity will come on just in time to keep your bodies from preserving and your cats will eat you to stay alive and….
Let’s just say it’s a very dark (figuratively speaking, not just literally) place and what happens when you get there is no one else’s business. And not to be spoken of again because who are you? No judgment here. We’re all (kinda) human.
Stage 5– Acceptance
We’re never going to have power again, you think. This is my life now, with extension cords, the fridge pulled out and pet hair collecting into tumble weeds. The kids will just have to shower early from now on so they have some light. Maybe we’ll churn some butter later and paint sillouhettes by candlelight. Perhaps a game of jacks, or we’ll tell stories by the fire. It will be like Little House on the Prairie with fewer bonnets and more swearing.
Oh, fuck it. You’re not kidding anyone. THIS SUCKS.
Stage 6– Total Despair and Insomnia
Snow??? WHAT. THE. FUCK. Snow = no generator = freezing house = no sump pump = flooded basement = completely, totally, undeniably FUCKED.
Oh, but the electric company says we now qualify for a credit. Of $25. *biggest eye roll ever*
So you stay up all night checking the app and looking at the weather radar and trying to connect with your inner Bob Vila to figure out how to keep the generator dry and protected when the snow hits. And then you get on FB and post about your insomnia and three other neighbors respond and tell you they are in the same boat traveling to the land of Up All Night. And you finally get out of bed and haul saw horses and a table out of the garage and make a doghouse type thing for your generator that you then feed with more gas that you bought with the kids’ 529 money.
And you drive into work already silent raging and running scenarios through your head knpwing you could quite possibly snap at a student and end up on the news, but you think, “Jail has electricity, right?” And you think it might not be so bad, but then there’s the strip search and gross fingerprint ink and you decide you’d better be extra aware and warn your administrators that you might be filling out more discipline slips than you’ve ever filled out before.
Stage 7– Ahhh, Sweet Electricity!
You don’t believe what the app says anymore. For one person it says power restored by 9:30pm. For another it says 11:30pm the next day. You don’t want to hope to believe positive posts by neighbors that say there’s a truck in your neighborhood and you might get power back that night. You just sit in your chair that now has a permanent ass groove and settle in for another round of Candy Crush trying not to focus on the fact that you’re so tired you can’t even drink.
out of nowhere,
A light flickers on!
You don’t believe it! You test other lights! You wait for 30 minutes to make sure they’re not fucking with you! You dance, you cry, you turn the generator OFF!!!!
And you go to bed.
And when you’re tossing and turning wondering why the hell you can’t go to sleep, it hits you.
No generator noise.
Awww, I guess I kinda got used to that little guy lulling me to sleep, you think.
And then you roll over and enjoy the sweet silence.