Monday, July 25, 2011

Power Outrage: The Sequel

Twelve days ago, when the power in my condo returned after an almost nine hour hiatus, I did a happy dance and resolved to be better prepared next time.

I didn’t have enough time! What could I do in twelve days? I have two little kids and I’m trying to get a blog off the ground! So when my power went missing again, on Saturday, July 23, 2011, I once again tore at my hair and wondered what I had done to deserve this repeat electrical blackballing. In my last life had I been a gratuitously severe meter maid? A disgruntled restaurant worker who habitually spat in people’s food? A bus driver who gleefully sped away from the curb as desperate passengers sprinted to get on board?

This time was better than the first, but Mama can’t take much more of this. Here’s how it went down:

4:00 a.m. - Husband, John, rolls over and whispers, “The power is out.” Know heard some boom-thunder, as Riley calls it, but nothing to merit a power outage. Groggily sit up and notice dark digital clocks and the A.C. and fans off. Air feels muggy and still, but not hot. Pray that upon waking power will be restored. Dream the electricity comes back.

6:30 a.m. - Riley enters bedroom as he does every morning. Feel deceived by my psyche, as the electricity is not on. The air is warm and the clocks still dark. Start making plans for a repeat visit to Frontierland. Aria begins crying, most likely awakened by Riley opening his bedroom door and stomping through the hall. Go get her.

7:00 a.m. - Give kids their traditional watered-down juice, but not from the fridge which cannot-be-opened. Instead I provide warm juice from the pantry mixed with tap water, which is probably fine, although it skeeves me. Give them cereal in their oh-so-wrongly named Munchkin snack catchers (great idea, and I will always use them, but snacks fly all over the place with those things!). Begin thinking of alternative meals that include protein as well something I can eat. Feel amazed by all the things that come from the fridge and/or use another appliance. Smoothie? Coffee? Waffle? No, no and no. Wish for a big sign that reads, “IF IT AIN’T IN THE CUPBOARD, YOU AIN’T EATIN’ IT.” Text other moms in the area. Learn that this time it’s just us. Receive offers to be taken in. Get everyone dressed and ready to flee our warm house full of tempting, yet impotent, electric devices. Learn Aria has a low-grade fever of 99.7 either from teething or the cold she’s been carrying around all week. Dismiss it, knowing we’d leave even if all four of us were covered in oozing sores.

8:30 a.m. - Outside. “Well, don’t we have the power outage to thank for getting us out early as a family!” John says, cheekily. Oy. Surveywindows looking for working lights, fans and air conditioners. Notice stores around the corner and across the street are all fine, but our block, and the stores on our side of the street one block east are dead. Decide to find breakfast after a trip to Starbucks.

9:30 a.m. – Visit Riley’s favorite place in our neighborhood, the fire station. The ladder truck juts into 55th Street, blocking our passage, so we watch from about ten yards distance. Ladder is extended and a fireman does whatever he's doing in the top platform. Riley is fascinated. He could stay all day, just drinking his apple juice and watching. Fantasize about someone doing a 24-hour recording of the fire station from several vantage points. Realize this could have him occupied on the sofa until he’s 5. Just kidding. Until he’s 4.

10:00 a.m. - Finally breakfast from an esteemed local eatery I’ll call S&D. Love the delicious breakfast sandwich with egg, gruy√®re and tomato John gets, but suspect my scone would be better used as a pumice stone. And honestly, what place do chocolate chips have in a dried cranberry scone? Vile. Take children to Bixler.

10:20 a.m. - Look at my phone and see the time. Wonder how it is not 5 p.m. Feel sick that it is so long before Lunch & Nap (an entity in itself indeed). Acknowledge that the day is going much, much better because of John, but can't help obsessing about the situation back home. Text some neighbors in my building. No power at all. Notice the park is disgusting from rain. Sand, wood chips and other debris everywhere. Realize I should be happy that that the kids are happy. Forbid sandbox play and thank God neither child is too put out by that. Chagrinned, watch them run through muddy puddles, including the big sprinkler lake in the center of the playground and soak themselves. Sigh. After a little over an hour, head home. Stop at U of C’s Lutheran Theological Seminary’s courtyard. Watch a wild rabbit eat. Collect pine cones.

12 noon - Home. Learn Com Ed is giving out no information. Wonder how such a major company could have its head so far up its ass. Suspect this might be some kind of rolling brownout thing. Hope it won’t extend into the night. Open all windows in the front room and draw all shades.

12:30 a.m. - Lunch. John goes out for cheese and milk. Forgive self for serving children Veggie Booty, string cheese and raisins, a lunch I would have at one time classified as a lazy mom special.

1:20 p.m. - Kids are tired. Riley goes down despite the lack of his white noise machine. Aria, a.k.a. Diva, refuses cold milk. John lights the stove with a lighter because we have no matches. Worry he’s going to torch the place. Wait twenty minutes for the water to boil and the milk to heat.

1:40 p.m. – Aria down.

2:00 p.m. – Fold laundry and talk with John. He asks, “What happened when the power came on last time?” I tell him that the A.C came whirring back on, and the lights that hadn't been turned off and then... lo and behold, just at that second, the power's back! What a coincidence! Do the happy dance, a.k.a. late 80s hip-hop, once more. Feel saved, literally and in the religious sense. Make no resolutions this time, but wonder how I can legally and safely reproduce the high that comes after a major inconvenience is reversed. Figure that it was definitely some kind of controlled brownout thing with the power going off at 4 a.m. and coming back on at 2 p.m. Now please don't let their be a part III. Mama's over it.

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