Twelve hours in our very quiet, very dark Little House.

I thought my garage door opener was busted. I just had the very longest of long days imaginable. My day had started by getting pulled over for having expired registration (when CLEARLY the new sticker THAT WAS IN MY GLOVEBOX was just not yet affixed to the windshield) and slid further downhill from there. Yes, getting pulled over by a cop was the highest point in my day. Straying closer to the point, I was so bone-weary exhausted by the time that I got home that my first thought was that something else had gone wrong. And it had – just not the garage door opener.

Turns out, our electricity was out. My neighbor across the street told me it had gone out about one that afternoon because of a huge fire just over the hill. He said it was massive, with a big black plume of smoke you could see for miles around. Sirens were blaring, helicopters were hovering – he said it was quite an event. And our electricity, rather suspiciously, hadn’t been seen since. “But my lights did come on for a minute about thirty minutes ago – I’m sure they’re close,” he said as we headed back inside. I laugh at that silly kernel of hope.

So the girls ate cereal and fruit (and fruit roll-ups and half a bagel and granola bars) for dinner and I made a pitcher of lemonade so we wouldn’t open the fridge. I suppose I could have ordered pizza or made a dinner run, but I foolishly thought the lights would come on in an hour or so. The stupid electric company said (according to our neighbor) that estimated time of completion was 3 p.m. and here it was 5:15 – surely it would come back on soon.

After dinner the girls bathed by candlelight and Gracie remarked that we were living like pioneers. We had a nice little discussion about the invention of electricity and when cars were first readily available and what people used to do for fun. Not that we did any of those things – after candlelight baths, I made my girls finish their homework for the week. Then Gracie started reading her 50 States fun facts book and I impressed them by reciting all 50 states in alphabetical order. We colored by the light of the setting sun and then we pretty much sat around and commented on how dark it was without the sun.

We are bright, yes indeed.

Really, it was all rather dull. I had three mini-bagels for dinner. (I could have foraged on the prairie for a more nutritional meal.) The girls played flashlight tag on the ceiling and I yelled at them not to shine the lights in each others eyes. I could have taken them for a walk in the dark or sat around playing cards or any number of things. So, um, Mom Fail. But good lord – didn’t I tell you about my special kind of awful I had going on all day? It was a win for me to remain upright and in a semi-supervisory mode.

Finally, I found an upside to the absence of technology: when there are no working clocks, little children do not know if you are lying to them about what time it is. The girls were in bed by 7:15 p.m. – huzzah! Of course, I then blew any sort of lead I had by reading another chapter from Ramona the Brave. Ms. Cleary is one of my very favorite people, but GOOD LORD does she write long chapters. Gracie was already asleep, Bee was clutching her flashlight instead of her stuffed Bear, and I wandered into the living room to finish my own book (House of Sand and Fog – I highly recommend it!). I suppose real pioneer life would have involved many more chores, but it seemed an awful lot like we would eat nothing and read a lot.

While I got ready for bed, I called our stupid electric company again and the very nice man assured me the electricity would really, absolutely, no lying be on by 11 p.m. Of course, when he followed it with “a transformer blew and started a massive fire, melting all the wires underground, so we’ve been digging and replacing the wire network,” I thought that maybe he could tone down the optimism. But he swore. So I popped a sleepy pill, climbed into bed and listened to the chainsaws of the crew working a mile away to clear a road for the gas drillers. 11 p.m. came and went. Midnight came and went. By 12:30 the chainsaws had stopped, but the dogs had started up. Yeah, it sounds noisy, but it was too quiet for sleeping. Too quiet without my fan going in the corner to drown out all the quiet of semi-suburbia. It was awful.

Finally, many restless hours later, the electricity snapped back on at 5 a.m. I reset my alarm. (Twice, because it woke me up just ten minutes later. Whoops.) Patted myself on the back because just two lights in the entire house were left on (impressive, given that certain disbelievers had run around flipping light switches all night). And finally fell asleep.

Today is going to be an entirely new adventure in exhaustion.

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One Response to “Twelve hours in our very quiet, very dark Little House.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Hopefully someone brings you surprise coffee today. Hang in there.

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