Last Friday evening I popped “Super 8” from a local Redbox into our DVD player. Mike was so worn out by traveling that he probably wasn’t going to stay awake for an entire movie. We’d already seen Super 8, so missing the ending wouldn’t matter. As it so happened, we did miss the ending, though not because either of us fell asleep. Quite suddenly,we became,  and remain, powerless.

I saw a weather warning ticking across the TV screen as I loaded the movie, but I am geographically challenged since moving to this area so was unsure if we would be affected. I do know I’m in Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley is on my left if I face north, and Baltimore/DC is on my right(ish). But the “Piedmont” reference in the middle of those two meant nothing to me. I was impressed by the precise times forecast for the arrival of the “derecho” storm in each of the stated locations. A bit of lightning appeared around 9:15p.m., then shortly thereafter the darkened sky drew in an enormous breath and blew it out as hard as it could. So, there we were:  in the Piedmont. There were no flickering lights or hem-hawing around about it; three-quarters of the way through Super 8, at 9:30 p.m the electricity simply folded up shop and left us in blackness.

Our house is surrounded by trees 80 to 100 feet tall, and through the darkness I could see and hear them doing the limbo. I could also see my wine bottle tree swaying like a happy drunk outside the dining room window, the bottle tree that is made of rebar and in full bloom with bottles, the tree I discovered last week was already a bit top-heavy toward the window. With Mike nagging angrily at me for being out in the storm, I dashed into the darkness and started hurling bottles off the tree before it could topple through the window. It was simply terrifying being out there, since I could hear tree branches and debris thudding to the ground but couldn’t see any of it. I am reconciled to the fact of death, but my choice of dispatch does not include being crushed beneath a tree. I flung bottles randomly into the blackness, thankful they didn’t crash together, then ran for the safety of the interior.

The storm huffed through in a matter of minutes, and our only loss was the electricity. It has yet to be restored and from the look of it, we might be powerless for a while. After Houston’s Hurricane Ike, we spent two weeks without electricity, so we are not without experience. Pixie dust fell on us after Ike, in the form of cooking all our thawed meat with friends, meeting new people at the crowded coffee shop, discovering it took two glasses of cabernet at the wine bar to fully charge a cell phone, and running extension cords across the street to those who still had no power on the other side.  Our silent neighborhood here is now even more silent, if that’s possible. There has been little pixie dust with this storm, but it has been another enlightening experience, to wit:

          *I was pleasantly surprised by the heat-generated scent of lavender which I harvested a week ago from the yard and have in a copper bucket beside the master bedroom door. 

          *Why are there noises coming from the bedroom cable box when it has no power source? Does the blue lizard still live under it? Has it brought friends? Do lizards have friends?

         * Other than the possible existence of the above-mentioned lizard, I don’t have even a goldfish to complain about the fishbowl water being too warm. This must be a truly delightful episode for those with pets, children, the elderly or infirm.

          *Many years ago I bought a coffee pot that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter. Good move. Maybe I can start a mobile coffee shop in the Magic Bus.

          *I triumphed over the battery operated fan. After inserting the eight “D” batteries numerous ways, I finally got them in the canister in the correct direction, and the canister into the fan in the correct direction, no thanks to the nearly blank instruction sheet included with it. We sleep/lay still horizontally in relative comfort with the fan taped to the bed’s footboard.

          *The movie is stuck in the DVD player. I hope Redbox will have pity on me.

          *Mike and I grieve very differently. There’s always beer in the refrigerator, but never much substantial food. Recently I got my act together and had real food on hand and extra meat and frozen vegetables in the freezer, even cooked chicken to use in salads. I mourned over each container as I dropped it into the black trash bag. Mike has little patience with my sense of loss.

          *Beer and water into the coolers first.

          *The bank thermometer registered 100 degrees yesterday so we’re lucky it’s not hot here.

          *There is no hot water. I don’t take cold showers. I had a new package of multi-surface wipes handy, therefore, I am a surface.

          *This situation justifies keeping my battery-operated CD player with small detachable speaker.

         *A sonic boom after the restoration of electrical power feels something like standing in line for three days to get the best ice cream ever, then dropping the cone on hot pavement right after handing over the money.


8 responses to “Powerless.

  1. I feel bad for you. Hope your electricity is back on by now!

  2. Sounds bad. You do write about it with humor, so I trust you are managing.

  3. After Ike, our house was without power for 3 weeks. A long weekend in Austin was heavenly, but my husband and I spent most of the time in Houston, scrambling to make our business run while the tower where we officed was closed due to water damage and waiting for mold tests. A climb up 7 muggy flights of stairs into a 110+ degree room to power up our server for 5 minutes and download files (and hurry to power it down again before its little brain boiled) is etched in my memory as one of my more intense TOO HOT memories.

    Like you, some pixie fell on me and I enjoyed some aspects of life without electricity. Fans, ice water, shade and good neighbors make all the difference. Yay for batteries and car-powered coffee makers!

    Glad you are powered once more now. 🙂

  4. We are glad too. Outdoor temps were in the upper 90s for our Houston friends’ visit and we spent much of the time outdoors. We were all grateful for the A/C at day’s end. And the cold beer in the electrically-powered refrigerator.

  5. enjoyed your story telling abilities. My son and grandson live in Texas: Dallas and Houston… and we lived in Pampa for five months. So, I feel your pain and love your writing style!!!

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