I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the dark. And I don’t like an unflushed toilet. I’m a wuss. I know it. My family knows it. It’s cool.
We just spent a lovely two-and-a-half days without electricity. Actually, it could have been more like just two days or maybe even one-and-a-half, but please, just bear with me while I dramatize here. I learned power-outages Oklahoma-winter-style are a lot different than power-outages Florida-hurricane-style. And as God as my witness, I will never go without a generator again. (Picture me standing firm, shaking a carrot. Or something.)
It could have been worse. There are still hundreds of thousands of people without power–and it’s damn cold. We never had to eat canned beans or huddle together for warmth while we slept in our coats and hats. We cooked great grilled meals. We played board games I didn’t know we had. And our friends/neighborhood heroes once again helped us out and got our gas fireplace to work for the first time in a year. Good times, good times–until I heard a nasty rumor that it was going to take upwards of 10 to 13 days before our power came back on. Then I started to freak out a little. (And you guys can all laugh at the phrase "a little".)
Caleb asked me how I felt about going to a shelter. I told him I didn’t feel very much about it at all. He should know that I like to be bipolar and scared shitless in the privacy of my own house by now. And besides, after 3 days of not showering, we were STANKY. We might not have even been allowed in any shelter.
I spent a lot of Tuesday quietly hyperventilating, thinking about Caleb’s upcoming business convention in Las Vegas, worrying about keeping the kids warm, and trying to come up with a way to flush the toilets–that being by far the most important thing on my mind. (We live in BFE and are on well-water. It requires electricity to pump it into the house.) I even forgot that it was our anniversary–Caleb was the one to remind me this year.
For lunch we ate barbeque chicken after a rousing round of prayer–Mia first: "God is great, God is good, thank you for this meal and thank you for this chicken and thank your for the carrots even though I don’t like them. Amen. Your turn, Daddy." We took turns being thankful and positive–for each other, of course, and our good health, but mostly for our fireplace. It was the first time I’d prayed in a while.
I finished up our Christmas cards. I made a million peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. And I played Mad Libs like nobody’s business. 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. It was going to get dark, and then it would probably get a little bit colder. Caleb plopped himself down on the couch in the living room and announced, "I’m going to just sit here until the power comes back on." And just like that, 2 seconds later (literally–2 seconds) the lights came on, the washing machine started whirring, and the clocks blinked "12:00". I ’bout cried.
We wasted no time in cranking our heat up to, oh, 80. We ran the dishwasher and vacuumed and watched Tom and Jerry cartoons. We all took long, hot showers. I washed 5 loads of clothes and filled up every possible container we had with water for flushing the toilets–just in case.
Caleb and I got the girls to bed in their toasty little rooms and turned in ourselves. We exchanged cards and hugs, and then we rounded out our anniversary by watching "Nip/Tuck" and "Scrubs" in bed. We debated over what really caused our electricity to come back on so much earlier than expected. Caleb thinks it was because of his "Open Sesame"-type comment. But I’m pretty sure it’s because God likes it when I pray.
I’m thinking about making it a habit.