In the grubby, ball-toughened hands of my youngest child was a cool, lit, light bulb keychain; given to him at a birthday party. I have never given much thought, really, to life without electricity; until today.
We received the postcard from SoCal Edison regarding a scheduled power outage from last night at 11 PM through this morning at 3 AM. The alarm company was notified, both for home and the business, and I turned off the Kindle and reading lamp prior to 11:00. Luckily for my family, my sleep patterns match circadian rhythms; the light and dark cycles of the sun. I rarely wake to an alarm clock and have no problems falling asleep.
At 5:30 AM I awoke to cold and darkness. I lit the coconut scented candle on my nightstand and opened my drapes to view sunrise; inserting my disposable contacts in the dim candlelight. I opted not to shower in the dark, for how would I blow-dry my hair? Sauntering downstairs for water I grimaced when I could not retrieve a drop from my refrigerator. The coffeemaker was out of commission so I brought out a saucepan, added water and turned on my stove top. Lo and behold, an electric spark ignites my gas burners so there could be no flame!
Since the middle son was awake, with me, I grabbed my keys and he and I got into my car to head to the grocery store for dry goods (something I don’t have a lot of). There is not a lot of things in my house that do not require: cooking, toasting, or microwaving. So when I hit the garage door opener, and realized I was stuck, I groaned.
Dave parks his truck in our driveway so Doug and I switched vehicles and left at 6:30 AM to our local grocery store. But the lights were out in there, as well. But just across the way, Panera Bread Co. was open and when we returned home at 6:55 AM we had: three milks, a mocha, a latte, a toasted bagel, cinnamon rolls and quiches. If the grid on the other side of the street hadn’t provided electricity how would we ever survive a natural disaster like an earthquake? How would I have paid? I used my debit card. This was the day I did not have to be at work and all the things on my to-do list involved sitting at my computer? How would I get anything done?
Alas, after the help of the hubby to open our garage door, manually, I left a little early to drop the kids off at school. There was anarchy at the traffic lights; cars whizzing by, rudely, ignoring the people who followed the 4-way stop rule. And thankfully, after returning home, sans kids, the traffic light was working and at the press of a button, my garage door happily whirred to life. If I can’t even boil water without electricity, we’re in for a rude awakening if the big one (aka large magnitude earthquake) hits. Our camping gear would be our survival. It was five hours later than what SoCal Edison had stated on the automated message and postcard. Sadly, even my LAN phone needs electricity! And what good is a cell phone without the ability to charge it?
After the electricity fiasco I sat down to the mess on my desk. With my Panera Bread latte in my trusty stainless steel cup. I quickly got to work paying bills, organizing files and creating emails. I barely touched my to-do list; the mess around my desk took the better part of three hours. It never ends.
What will end, though, is the month of February. This time of year is always a flurry of activity and the multitude of back-to-back birthdays officially ends today. Last night we had a scrumptious, ginormous cake to celebrate the last of the birthdays with family. Yum!
Speaking of food, I am on a quest to try various ethnic foods from around the world. A Nigerian parent, offered us a taste of her homemade food. She was insistent I try it. It consisted of a marinated goat (yes, goat) in a tomato based, onga sauce , black-eyed peas and rice. As a child I have had goat but am not fond of the meat so I had my inhibitions. It is very rare that I balk at the opportunity to try something new but I did not want to offend. To my great surprise, the goat was really good and the kids (yes, the kids) insisted I get the recipe for the tomato-based onga sauce. Dave loved the bean loaf (I have never had beans with a loaf consistency). I’ve since realized I have a food texture issue (the chicken feet and this loaf) but other than that, the tastes were phenomenal.
But my electicity issues did not end at home. Apparently, both the elementary school and junior high had no power, as well. I suppose my car does rely on electrical circuits but it, primarily runs on fuel. So as I sat between two schools, without power, I browsed the world through my cell phone, listening to my car stereo. I snapped the pic of the elder son approaching. Thankfully our bodies don’t require electricity; just some clothes, food and water to grow. Each day I glance in the mirror as my son emerges from school. He’s getting taller. I don’t ever want to look back and wonder, where did that time go? so I snapped this pic as he approached the passenger side; this precocious tweener-child.
There are many things to do in a day of my life and the loss of power made me realize basic needs. I can do without the fru-fru gadgetry of life any day; as long as I have three happy and growing boys. Oh. And one man.