Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Val Sheds Some Light on the Reason for Her Late Arrival

Did you know that internet service doesn't work when the power goes off? Not here at Val's homestead, anyway. So I'm running two hours behind schedule today. I was just getting to my comments and today's tale at 3:50 Backroads time when WHOOSH! That's the sound of silence.

Let the record show that the dark basement lair is really, really dark without power. I'm supposed to have an emergency light plugged into an outlet under the counter in my office. Oh, it's plugged in all right. But it doesn't work. Good news is that the same kind of light works in the NASCAR bathroom! THIS time! When the light bulb burned out that time, it did not. I guess the power has to be off in its outlet to cue it to shine.

So...I had enough dim light find my way to the stairs and escape the lair. The main level was light enough, because the setting sun was coming through the living room window. I was headed out to walk anyway, at 4:20. So I thought I'd get a head start, but HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) started texting me to see if I had electricity. He moved in up on the other property this weekend. And then Hick called from work, because he saw on Facebook that the neighbor across from us didn't have power. She had reported it, and there was an estimated restoration time of 7:00. That was good to know, because...um...there's no internet when the power is off. Oh, I had my laptop, Shiba, fully charged. But she can't do much for me without internet.

Oh, yeah. And when your live on the edge of the horizon, and your house is all-electric, and your water comes from a well...you have one flush left in each toilet! Of which we have three. Nothing makes you want to poop more than knowing your power is off and your well won't pump! I held it, but (sorry to be so indelicate) I really had to pee, and unlike Hick, I do not stand on the back porch and let it gush. But I made a note to not flush until I really needed to, perhaps after my walk. And then I stood up and reflexively turned and pushed the handle! What a waste of a flush!

Gone are the days when, at the first inkling of a power outage, Hick declares a family emergency and leaves work to rush home and hook up the generator. Even when I had strapping young Genius, adept at finding the right breakers to trip, and the cords to hook up, and where to find the gas to pour in the generator, and which appliance combinations we could use. Yes. Those days are gone, baby, gone!

Hick did not even tell me he was going to be late coming home!!! There I was, sitting in his La-Z-Boy, wearing my shirt and sweatshirt and quilted flannel CPO jacket, and Carhartt sock cap, eagerly awaiting his Trailblazer coming up the driveway. But it didn't come! I had even wasted spent quality time (30 minutes) on the front porch with Jack and my Sweet, Sweet Juno after our walk and their evening snack.

So there I was, wondering what to do for light, as it was getting darker by the minute. Gone, too, are the days when I had a flashlight in every room. We made sure of that after Icepocalypse '06. But, as happens when you share a home with Genius...your flashlights and scissors and pens and tape and staplers disappear. Who knows WHAT kind of Frankensteinish contraption he has built and stashed somewhere under the floorboards or in the wall.

THEN I remembered what a bad mom I was, having forgotten to stuff the stockings with a certain pack of flashlights that I had bought for just that purpose. I had given it to Hick the day after Christmas, as Genius and I headed to the casino, and told him to put the batteries in so everybody could have one. Of course, being Hick, he did not follow instructions. While the cat was away, that rat did play...and not with a recently-batteried flashlight.

So...there I was, sitting in the dark, putting 18 batteries in 6 flashlights/headlamps.


I am sad to report that I was cutting open 3-packs of included batteries, and feeling for the knobby end and holey end by touch, on the FOURTH flashlight, before I realized that I could turn one on and be able to see what I was doing! Then I did the headlamps, and had all kinds of trouble trying to figure out the strap. That was when Hick arrived, and had that strap figured out in only five minutes! Don't call us if your technology goes down, people!

Good news is, the power came back on around 6:10. Right after we got all the lights going. Just in time for me to COOK for Hick.

13 comments:

  1. 4 tries before you realized you could use the first one to see what you were doing...love it! When you have no electricity and you are in the dark panic can set in and you get stupid..Fortunatly the condition usually goes away when the power comes back.

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    1. Yeah. And if I had STARTED with the headlamp, while there was still a tiny bit of dusk showing through the front window...I could have worn that on my head and seen the other five battery-loadings perfectly!

      You don't know whether to laugh or cry. I feel like Vern in "Stand By Me," looking under the porch for the jar of pennies he buried.

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  2. Oh, Hick has his priorities right where his stomach is...

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    1. As a matter of fact, first thing Hick did was walk through the front door and into the kitchen to FRIG II. Where he took a battery-powered lantern off the top, brought it into the living room, and said, "There's your light right there." It was already batteried up.

      I had bought two of these at school one year, from the Books Are Fun lady who brought in a display every couple weeks. I told Hick that one was his, but I wanted to keep one in the house. Last I saw, he had them both on the kitchen table. Who knew that he put one on top of FRIG II? Not this ol' Val!

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  3. I don't know why this story reminds me of my friend Claire who's hamster Jezzabel was blind and bald (due to a bad case of mange). I phoned Claire one evening and she told me she was sitting in the dark with Jezzabel so she could empathise with her blindness. I decided not to point out that (being BLIND) Jezzabel would have no idea if the lights were on or off ...

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    1. Okay, you had me at Jezebel, the bling and bald hamster. Any details after that were gravy!

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  4. Oh my, the bathroom incident made me snort. You are a fraidy cat in the dark? I thought of you as a pioneer woman who could handle anything...except Hick.

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    1. I'm not so much afraid of the DARK as I am of falling over something I can't see in the dark, and laying there until Hick comes home and looks for supper.

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  5. I try to remember to check the batteries in our flashlights but it seems whenever the power goes off the batteries are dead.

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    1. I have a drawer full of batteries, but can't find the flashlights. Too bad we don't live next door to each other.

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  6. No candles? I have a lot of those solar lights in my gardens. They work great inside when the power is out. I usually grab at least two. One to leave in the bathroom and one to carry around like a torch. We can't flush either with no power. I always recite the words that were on a sign in the bathroom of our rustic cabin in Wisconsin : If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down. This reminds me not to be cavalier about the water in the tank!

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    1. In fact, we have a plethora of candles, though none in my office. Finding the matches for the upstairs candles would be the trick. Hick has a lighter, but I don't know where he leaves it after a spate of random candle-lighting like his did on his first week of 40% retirement, while he put those twisty bright light bulbs (3) into the ceiling fan fixture over our bed.

      I wonder if my mom would have cross-stitched that saying for me. IF I told her it was a public service announcement in case our power went out.

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