Yes, I am one of the many, the proud, the powerless.
Whoever said, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone,” clearly must have been talking about electricity. OK, maybe they were actually talking about your health, or someone you love, or something infinitely more important than electricity. However, I have to admit, I never realized how dependent I am on electricity until we lost it this week. For me, electricity is right up there at the top of my must-have list along with my ten coffeemakers, my tweezers, and Spanx.
Now, we have had power outages in the summer as a result of bad rain storms, but those typically last less than 24 hours and as long as we keep the fridge door closed it’s not that terrible of an inconvenience.
But this week, when the October snow storm blew through, I got a really good taste of the wrath of Mother Nature. I think Old Man Winter must have done something to really annoy her because she let us have it. Having had my share of disagreements with my husband, I can certainly relate to her frustration. But if I ever let loose the way she did, my husband would take me to divorce court in a minute.
In my town, the leaves had barely started changing color, much less fallen off the trees, when the storm hit. With the leaves acting as nets for the snow, the weight caused huge branches to snap off and whole trees to fall over, taking massive power lines down with them.
The first crack we heard was the sound of a large tree limb breaking and falling on the power lines that attach to our house. The second crack was a second limb falling on the same power lines, snapping them off the house and finishing off the job.
Just as our house was plunged into darkness, we heard a thunderous crack and boom as a massive 30 foot tall tree fell out of our neighbor’s yard.
It smashed through the fence, toppled into our backyard, and plunged into our pool, just seconds after we let the dog in from out back.
Was I grateful that it missed hitting our dog? Your bet. Was I even more grateful that it missed our house? Absolutely.
But at that instant, I had a sinking feeling it was going to be a good long while until we had power again. Recalling my “Little House on the Prairie” emergency survival training, I immediately cleared out the fridge and freezer and buried the food in coolers out back in the snow. Then we moved a ton of firewood into the house, gathered up candles, flashlights, and extra blankets and relocated everyone into the living room where we would hunker down in front of the fireplace until we got power back.
Deciding to brave the cold in our bedroom rather than sleep in front of the fireplace on the floor in the living room, my husband and I went to sleep in our bed. I piled on blankets, dressed in my sweats, wool socks and a hat. I lay in bed complaining about the cold and the dark and the fact that I couldn’t use any of my 10 coffeemakers, and then I finally drifted off, dreaming I heard a million chainsaws cutting trees off power lines. Suddenly I woke up and realized the sound of the chainsaws was real and it was coming from the pillow next to me.
I rolled over and glared at my husband.
“What?” he asked, his eyes fluttering open.
“You snored about ten different ways last night,” I complained.
“Which one was your favorite?” he wondered.
“Not funny,” I said.
“Really?” he responded. “It’s 40 degrees in the house and we are freezing our patooties off and you are bugged because I was snoring?”
“It kept me up.”
“Honey, don’t you think maybe it was the fact that we felt like we were sleeping in an igloo that kept you up and not my breathing?”
“Snoring,” I corrected.
“OK. Let’s review: We have no heat, no lights, no power of any kind. We have no Internet, landlines or cell service. The fridge is dead and we buried our food in the snow. The washing machine and dishwasher don’t work. The power lines to our house are down along with a good chunk of the aluminum siding, we can’t get off our street, and the town just cancelled Halloween. Oh, and there is a very large tree in our pool. I’m thinking my snoring is kind of low on the list of things to complain about right now, don’t you.”
I shook my head.
“Tell you what,” he said. “Tonight when we go to sleep and we have still have no power and we can see our breath when we exhale, if I start snoring you have permission to take a pillow and smother me with it.”
“I won’t do that,” I said.
“Because you love me so much?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “Because then I won’t have anyone to complain about all the other stuff to.”