Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Plague on Both Your Houses, etc

Or, surviving a power outage. Plus stomach plague.

Convince children to go to friend's house, not large community pool, and run through sprinkler in 100 degree weather and encourage them to consume lots of popsicles and salty snacks.

Rush children inside juuuuust in time to escape large, violent storm. Power goes out.

Veg at friend's house until storm dies down, then return home, assuming (stupidly) that you have power at your own house. You do not have power. Nor do you have internet or a any sort of phone. In a moment of weakness, contemplate getting a cell phone once and for all. 

Serve cold burritos for dinner, because things are not severe enough to start lighting fires in the back yard.

Note that of course, husband is working late. But this is ok. Kids will go to bed soon, lights will come on soon, you can sit and read in peace. Easy game.

As darkness begins to fall, you note that the lights are in fact not coming back on. Make multiple trips to basement searching for flashlights and candles, and find none. Definitely getting dark. Definitely need another plan.

Here's where you acknowledge you inner resourcefulness. MacGyver ain't got nothing on you. You score some Play-Doh from your children's selection (orange) and in the fading light attempt to discern whether there are any flammability warning labels on the tub of Play-Doh. Finding none, proceed with plan. Scour every.last.saved birthday candle from the junk drawer (you knew this tradition of saving candles, one that your husband mocks mercilessly, would pay off one day) and then stick them into balls of Play-Doh, light them, and place the whole contraption on some dishes. Perfect.

Except birthday candles don't burn very long. But this is ok, because husband will return soon and can be sent out to procure real candles and flashlights. And then, from the room where the babes are peacefully sleeping, you hear a most unfortunate sound. The sound of a retching cough, followed by...yes. Vomit. As the minutes tick by and the birthday candles wane it becomes clear that electricity and husband are not to be counted on any longer. It is time to move to Plan C.

You know that somewhere in the recesses of your daughter's room is a small, hot pink, clip-on reading light. Therein lies your salvation. You leave a now-sleeping, not-currently puking toddler on the couch and begin fumbling around on your daughter's bookshelf. Instead of the light, your hand passes over a commemorative World Youth Day candle from 2005, complete with a nice little headshot of the Pope. Yes! You suddenly remember that you are flush in holy candles of all shapes and sizes and immediately set about procuring and lighting the candles. Soon the place is lit up like a grotto and you can begin cleaning up puke and making piles of laundry to be washed as soon as the power returns.

Congratulate self on being the sort of person people would want around in a semi-emergency. You are a survivor.

 Eventually, Brad returned home, he'd stopped off to help some friends of ours move in to their new house and didn't realize I was at home with no power and a puking kid. Around 3 am Dominic and I made a little pilgrimage up to the Children's ER in West Chester for some much-needed Zofran and air conditioning. By Sunday, Gianna and I had succumbed to the plague and after some doctor-consulting, I drugged her with the Zofran as well. Brad was the last hit, but by Monday evening our little clan was happily on the mend and our electricity was happily humming away.

There's nothing like the electricity going out to show how vulnerable your whole existence is. Every time I experience a power outage I realize just how poorly I would fare in a zombie apocalypse, major natural disaster, or the Second Coming. I am completely dependent on the power grid. When the lights are on it's easy to pretend how self-sufficient we are, it's easier to feel the need for God and each other less and less. It's good to be reminded occasionally of our smallness. Oh yes, and Happy Fourth!


  1. I collect birthday candles too!!!!!!! I will have to relate their newly found usefulness to my hubby.

  2. Thanks. Add my house to the list.