No wonder there was no power.
Photo by Beth Ford
I'm so sorry I took you for granted. I know, I know, everyone warned me that some day you might not be there and I should remember that and have a backup plan. But you've always been so reliable I just, I just couldn't bring myself to buy a generator. I believe in your reliability so strongly, I didn't even bother to buy batteries for any of the six radios I have in the house. How could I? To do so would be to admit that you might not be there some day when I hit the switch.
But alas. Even you cannot keep up with 71 mile winds and 5 inches of rain in two hours. Trees were down, wires were knocked over. You couldn't help it. No one even blamed you as we sat on the front porch of Coffee Friend 2's house lamenting that none of us had enough batteries in the house to power a flashlight or a radio. No, we bore the blame as we should. It was our bad. Hadn't Maria Shriver warned us enough after Katrina that we needed to be prepared?
I guess I just never believed you could go away so long. Sure, you've gone away for a few hours or even once overnight. But that wasn't bad. In fact it was kind of fun as we sat in the dark, playing boardgames by candlelight. But this time you went away for days and I realized that your absence isn't a fun Amish-like adventure but a big pain in the ass.
I couldn't wash the laundry that was piling up. I couldn't vacuum the dirt that had been tracked in as mud but now dried everywhere. The food in the fridge spoiled and there was no ice to be found in town to save the frozen stuff. The kids, who at first embraced your absence and read actual books by candlelight grew cranky when they couldn't check their email or play their online games.
Just as it was getting irritating you came back! We rejoiced and gave thanks. We bought new groceries and threw clothes in the washing machine. And then you went away again. Now that was just cruel! Half-washed dishes sat in the dishwasher and half-washed clothes had to be pulled out of the washer and hung on the back deck hillbilly style.
You went away the second time with no warning. It was sunny, wind-free and we were enjoying our annual block party. Suddenly, the music stopped and the moonbounce deflated (that sucker comes down quickly) and children screamed as the sides of the giant plastic bouncy caved in on them and they realized they were again without TV.
In total you were gone four days and in all that time not once did I walk into a darkened room and remember you were gone. No, each and every time I'd hit that lightswitch instinctively. I wonder how long you would have to go away before I'd stop doing that?
You are back now. For good I think and I am going to prepare for the next time you have to go away. I'm going to buy batteries and a hand-crank radio and maybe, even a generator. Just as soon as I check my email and run a load of laundry.