I swear this weird stuff happens to me so I have something to write about.
You know my husband was away a couple of weekends ago. The kids and I had been on our own since Thursday and we’d been coasting along, ordering takeout and making waffle sundaes. Nothing like guilty pleasures to ensure that my kids think Mommy is cooler than Daddy. (I really don’t think it worked.)
At around 11pm that Friday night the power went out. My first thought was, “God damn it! Right in the middle of Newsroom!”
It was blacker than black in this house. I could not see a thing. What’s better? I was unprepared.
A person like myself, who’s had a lengthy experience with power outage (Hurricaine Sandy anyone?), should’ve been prepared. Go Bag should be my new middle name and that bag should contain anything a prepared (intelligent) person would need – flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, water, a change of clothes for each family member, copies of important documents….
I had none of these things.
What I did have was the sense not to jump up and run around in a panic, risking injury via smashing into a wall or the very hard edge of the stone countertop. I’d like to say I strode confidently into Luke’s room (where the electrical panel is) and knew what I was doing and was able to restore power but, since you’ve gotten to know me a little bit this past year, I’m sure you can guess that didn’t happen. (To jog your memory, you can refer to this incident and of course this one.) There was no striding and very little confidence that I’d be able to do anything useful.
No, instead I waved my arms in front of me as I cautiously stepped into Luke’s room, hoping not to injure myself. I cursed quietly as I tripped over toys, making a racket that didn’t seem to bother my son in the least, and rummaged through the 50 or so trinkets, Lego Star Wars guys and various 6-year-old boy paraphernalia, hoping to find a flashlight.
“God damn it!” I whispered. At this point I was making a very creative mental list of why this was all my husband’s fault.
Then I remembered that Madeleine had a bunch of crap under bed. (Everything is divided amongst clear plastic storage boxes from The Container Store. While the image of me being irritated by kid-clutter is reasonable, I don’t just gather my kids’ toys and shove them under their beds. I’m not an animal.) Then…
Yes! Tinkerbell, you saucy bitch.
Madeleine’s Tinkerbell flashlight was miraculously where I remembered it being, but it wasn’t exactly the strobe light I was hoping for. A bug box and a dozen lightning bugs would’ve been better.
I opened the electrical panel and stared as if I was studying calculus, my absolute worst subject in school. (What a nice relief that I don’t ever need to use calculus in my daily life.)
Which switch should I move?…Is it this one?…
(short pause as I waited for an epiphany)
Oh, crap. I give up.
The only rational thing to do was to call my Dad.
When things go haywire in the house that fall under the category of “Man Stuff” my first thought is usually I hope nothing catches fire! or often Is it going to blow up? It’s embarrassing that a woman my age has no knowledge of how to fix things around the house. Although when the pipe under the sink leaks, I know enough to tighten the thingamajiggy until the water stops dripping.
If you’d like to make fun of me, you’re welcome to leave a comment.
My Dad ended up driving over to investigate for himself and could easily see that my entire block was out of power. I hadn’t left the house to poke around outside because I didn’t want to leave my kids alone.
We ended up sleeping at my parents’ house. Oh yes, it was great fun hastily grabbing clothes, toothbrushes, stuffed animals and favorite blankies and shoving them into the nearest bag I could find – which happened to be a beach bag that still had sand in it.
The kids thought it was an adventure to wake up in the dark and go in the car in their pajamas.
It was not lost on me that the convenience and safe haven of my parents’ home is not something everyone has. For all the strings that come along with living so close to family, the comforts show themselves when you need them the most.
I also compromised and let my husband off the hook for the absence of working flashlights. Isn’t that technically a “man thing”, though?