Tuesday, January 22, 2013
On Friday morning I could feel the drop of temperature as soon as I shed my Mets blanket and warm puppy. The icy tiles on my bedroom floor commanded I reach for a pair of thick woolen socks. The plush bathrobe I've never used before that morning, became a fleecy toy for Bella to try to grab off of me.
The college classes were cancelled and both kids didn't have to be at work until late afternoon. My husband would go back to the shop when he was satisfied we were all settled. As he went outdoors to see what progress had been made I got to making us breakfast. I found my old perculator coffee pot and blazed up the stove top. The warmth of the flames, the smell of the coffee, and the perking of the pot was comforting.
When we first decided to buy a house in Virginia there were four things that were deal-breakers for me -- No well water, no septic tank, garbage pick-up, and a gas stove top. All I needed was a wooden match to light the gas. It reminded me of my childhood. For a brief second I felt like I was in my grandmother's apartment on Story Street in Brooklyn. I could hear her strike the match, the flame catching, and the exhale of her breath to extinguish it. I could smell the sulfur and see the black vapor trail ascend. And in what seemed like forever, the small cold kitchen became warm with the smell of fresh coffee.
I took out a frying pan and brushed it with olive oil. One one side was two pieces of bread and on the other a fried egg. When my husband came in, I proudly served it to him. See, I am a pioneer woman. He then reminded me the generator was on and I could have plugged in the griddle and coffee pot. Never mind that...I didn't need no stinking generator.
He then reported that other than the cones being knocked over, everything looked the same outside. Even the mystery jug was still there. After breakfast he went outside to shovel the driveway. He had parked in front of the house but we still had three other vehicles stuck in the driveway. I was worried about him driving over the cables but he said the rubber tires would insulate him if there was a problem. He drove both kids' cars out and parked them behind his. I wasn't going anywhere so mine remained. My husband would report on the condition of the roads to see if they were clear enough for the kids to drive.
Before he left, he showed my son how to use the generator. It would run until the boy went to work, then he would he shut it off. Even though I was assured "nothing will happen, it will just run out of gas" I still didn't feel comfortable with it running while I was by myself. Even the three fire extinguishers I had in arm's reach didn't alleviate my concerns. So, until that time of plunging back into the dark ages, I would make use of the luxury by watching some DVD's I had taken out of the library.
A couple of times I had to stop myself from going over to my lap top and check my email. Duh, I had no internet. I realized then that I was a creature of habit. Yet, at the same time, I welcomed the break. The resarch I had begun would continue the old-fashioned way, sans internet, -- with films, books, and audio tapes. The first film I watched was "The Little Colonel." Don't hate me, but Shirley Temple sorta annoys the crap outta me. After watching it I thought that depiction was probably not the best source to get a "real feel" of the south in the 1800's. I did however, really enjoy the dancing sequences. Luckily I had other dvd's, documentaries, that spoke in the vernacular of the day and provided a more realistic glimpse of that time.
Once I was assured the rest of the roads were fine to travel, I bid a "be careful out there" to the kids. My son killed the generator and I then turned to my books. I nestled into my recliner with a fleece throw tucked under me. Bella perched on the arm rest to my right and the light from the window to my left shone for a good two hours before I had to reach for the oil lamps. Oil lamps, best invention ever. They're better than candles, better than a flashlight. And they look so damn cool too. My biggest worry was that Bella would leap from my chair to the sofa and possibly hit the table or knock down the lamp and bring the house down in flames. I read by lamplight for hours until after seven when my husband got home. I also wrote seven pages of notes, and pray I could understand my handwriting when it comes time to decipher them.
Before I go any further, I forgot to mention two other things that needed to be addressed because of the black-out. I had a full dirty dishwashing load, but no running hot water to clean them. I took my huge macaroni pot and boiled water. Then I filled the sink with the hot water, detergent, and dirty dishes and glasses. The pots that were dirty I added water in them, threw in some detergent and heated it on the stove. I rinsed in cold water and everything worked out well, but it was then decided we would only use disposable dishes and utensils.
I also remembered I had a washing machine full of clean, wet, uniforms from the day before. Nothing worse than the smell of clothes left too long in a washing machine. Luckily I remembered before that happened, so I was able to hang everything up to dry. A full load of towels were in the dryer. I didn't imagine we would get much use of those because nobody wanted to take a cold shower. We all agreed we could get by one day without a shower and would address the issue if it arose.
By far the best part of the day was watching Bella experience her first snow.
She licked it, chewed it, buried her nose in it, sprung like a gazelle through it, rolled in it, but she wouldn't pee on it. At first she wouldn't sit on it, but once she did, I believe the snow felt good on her bottom.
She started to act "better" than she has been. Her tail was no longer a constant threat. Every once in a while it would jolt her, but not every time she moved. She's so cute.
Now that the kids are no longer kids and have responsibilities, they have joined the ranks of my husband with the complaint snow is no longer fun for them. Luckily I have Bella to remind me of the joys of nature.
All in all, a day without power wasn't really that bad. And then came the evening...