The boys sulked with disappointment. This was the very first Saturday that we had no plans, whatsoever. Visions of video games danced through their heads and they woke with the sun, rushed downstairs and then appeared at my bedside.
“Mom, did you know we have no power?”
It was 7:30 AM when I opened my eyes to my three sons staring down at me. I shook my head. Yes, I did know we had no electricity. I had been awake at 1:37 AM when the fan zapped off; the bright red digits of my clock, with it. I had hollered to the hubs, who had been downstairs working on digital pictures, and waited to see if the power would come back on. I promptly fell asleep.
My somewhat charged cell phone, downstairs, had multiple messages from Edison. Automated updates gave approximate times when our electricity would turn back on. Did they not realize this would be the hottest day of the week? We were expecting triple digit temperatures and had been prepared to turn on our air conditioner. After promises of turning power on by 10:30 AM, a knock came at our door and a representative from Edison stood on our doorstep. We would not resume power until, possibly midnight.
What to do?
We could not leave our home because we had two dogs; babysitting my in-laws’ pet while they enjoyed their time in San Diego. When my eldest went to get ice from the fridge he realized there was none; nor could he get water. He, actually, had to use the tap. Our oven ignites with an electrical spark. Microwave, coffee maker, washing machine, a/c, nada. We were camping in our own home. At least we have a pool. My neighbors chatted outdoors as they came and went; getting food elsewhere. I was hungry. It was noon.
We found ourselves at an authentic Mexican restaurant, Rincon Taurino, and had a fantabulous and cheap, lunch. Loading up on ice and refreshments, we returned to our hot and muggy home. The boys decided to play Navy-o-poly (Monopoly) while I dragged the piles of PTA paperwork that had been accumulating on my desk, which moved to the floor and then out of sight to my closet. I had planned to work on my computer. Procrastinating, officially over.
My in-laws arrived for their pet, an hour later, and after finishing their board game and organizing some of my paperwork, we finally decided to head to their air conditioned home. We live 8 miles away from them and rarely see them on weekends since we see one another, quite often, at the business. Swim bags, phone/iPod chargers, paperwork and dog, in tow, off to the in-laws’ we went.
As we made the short drive the thought popped unbidden. We take a lot for granted.
We all sat in their pool, each in our individual inner tubes. The youngest commented how we looked like Cheerios in a bowl. Iced water, in hand, I wondered how we’d survive in a disaster and I thought of Ann Voskamp’s post, about Africa. Her words echoed in my mind.
North Americans diet for a hobby; children in Africa are dying for a meal.
While I floated in a pool of water, a large portion of the African continent is in drought. We are spoiled. As the water condensed down my glass onto my inner tube I contemplated how I could reconcile these irrefutable facts. Ann talks about how we, primarily, follow the thread of our own lives. But what if we wove these threads together, in Christ, to try to create a fabric of life? We are fortunate to be born into this society. There are women who are sold into trafficking, genitalia mutilation. The book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide by Kristoff and WuDunn came to mind, as well as Kiva.org.
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV.
My mother-in-law’s thoughts interrupted my reverie. I am glad your power went out. I understood what she was saying. Most weekends we rush around; from one thing to another, our family of five. Without electricity there are no distractions. We were forced to unplug; to spend time together without: computers, gaming consoles, iPods and amenities. Instead, my kids frolicked in the pool with their grandparents; sharing stories of their week. The hubs and I quietly floated nearby, listening and smiling as they clamored for attention. Lots of things to think about. But it was nice to power down, for a day.