3-2-1 Contact

Do you remember that show from the 1980s called “3-2-1 Contact”? I used to love that show. I don’t remember much about it except that the opening sequence showed power zipping around and then a lightbulb being illuminated.

Boy, do I take that process for granted!

Friday night, as you probably don’t know if you aren’t from around here, our side of town got hit with a huge nasty storm. It lasted for at least two hours, and we were right in the middle of the lightening and thunder and hail. It seemed like every second or so the whole house was illuminated with eerie white light as lightening flashed and thunder boomed/pealed/trabanged like a house splitting in two. This was no gentle thunder roll and lightening flash. (Furthermore, if you’re keeping time with my Garth Brooks reference, another love did not grow cold, darlin’, on a sleepless nigh-hite.)

Somewhere in the midst of the maelstrom, which miraculously did NOT wake the children (?!?!?!), we lost electricity. We went to bed figuring it would come on again before morning, but we were wrong.

It turns out we were fortunate in our experience of the storm. Within a few miles of our house, buildings lost their roofs, windows, and contents, houses were ripped up, and huge trees were felled. The closed one of the roads leading in to our neighborhood because of felled trees and power lines.

Even armed with a grateful perspective, however, it quickly became clear that without electricity we were in trouble.

  • Without being able to open the non-functioning fridge and freezer, all we had to eat was the dregs of some dry cereal.
  • We could have cooked oatmeal, but our stove is electric, as is our microwave.
  • We had no access to caffeine, as the coffee maker is electric, and the boiling water for my morning cup of tea comes from, you guess it, the aforementioned electric stove.
  • Our can opener is even electric!
  • Our hot water heater is electric, so I couldn’t do laundry or (worse!) shower!
  • Our vacuum cleaner is electric, so dash it all, I couldn’t clean! I was crushed…
  • We have Voice Over IP for our phone service, so without the computer and internet, we have no phone other than the cell phone, which can’t be charged without electricity…
  • The garage door opener is electric too.

I fed the babies the dry cereal and wished for my usual cup of Earl Grey. I found my mug from the day before and was grateful that I had misplaced it and thus not washed it out, because in the bottom was two swigs of cold tea. At least it was a little something! With the limited supply of “Organic Wild Puffs” having been exhausted and Hannah clamoring for more breakfast, we realized we could not hang out in our house all day in our pajamas. Fortunately Josh’s parents are on a different power company line than we are, and their power was restored Saturday morning, so we headed over there (after Josh disabled the garage door opener using the handy “fire emergency” handle) to get something to eat and to wait. We were able to salvage most of the contents of our chest freezer and fridge in coolers to store in my in-laws’ extra refrigerator, which was a blessing!

After a long day of keeping the kids from destroying my in-laws house, including one panic-stricken moment when I found Hannah slathered in my lipstick poised to wipe her red hands and cheeks all over my mother-in-law’s ecru silk upholstered wing chair (!!!!!!), we packed up one tiny flashlight my in-laws loaned us and took the kids home to bed. Eventually at around 11pm the power came back on and the house came whirring and beeping back to life.

This morning I really appreciated my hot shower, putting on makeup and doing my hair in front of a lit mirror, making waffles in my electric waffle maker, and drinking a delicious cup of Earl Grey before church. It’s the little things, isn’t it? I’ve also determined that we really need to lay in a supply of water jugs, non-perishable foods, and a bunch of flashlights in case of future emergencies!

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