God, in His infinite grace hasn’t meant my family to weather a power outage of longer than 1.5 hours duration. In His mercy, he has understood us in our weakness. Because He has promised not to send a temptation beyond what we can bear. An hour and a half seems to be all He’s willing to trust me with. And that’s fine with me. I have nothing to prove in this regard. On the occasions of the extremely short term outages we have experienced, I have found the following to be true:
1) The husband’s first task is to report directly to the refrigerator and open it in search of a snack. “We can’t go hungry the whole time the power’s out.” (It has been three minutes. It might be 6 hours. Either way, YES WE CAN.)
2) The husband/dad’s covering the task of ensuring we lose a refrigerator full of food, frees the girls to run down the battery on any and all mobile devices and electronics. “There’s nothing else to do. We can’t watch Netflix.” Lest you worry that we saddle our kids with all the responsibility. Dad joins them as soon as he finishes his snack, bleeding the last pulse out of that iPhone battery.
3) When all batteries are run down enough that no charge is lasting to sunrise, that’s the time to change for bed. It’s important, especially to the girls, to dress attractively. Eyelet camis and co-ordinating shorts remind us that summer is never too far away, and help us stay in touch with the falling interior temperatures.
4) Meanwhile, someone should find all the candles and light each and every one. Because we can’t watch TV, but we can read. Like Abraham Lincoln before us, we are going to destroy our vision and use up all the candles. When bedtime comes we’ll navigate the house in total darkness. Tripping over the shoes and backpacks will be fun. Thank God we left them out. Everywhere. All the time.
5) It’s important to notify the utility services company. In our home, this task is delegated to Dad/Hubby. “But I hardly have any charge.” Then in 45 minutes, protocol dictates that he second guess himself and do it again. Just in case the recorded confirmation that he got the first time was in error. Then go find the wife/mom and reassure her that they got it the second time. Even though they got it the first time.
6) You’ll want to gather everyone around and talk at length about all the things you can’t do. No TV, computer, coffee, popcorn, showers, or flat ironing hair. Of course, conversation should also include speculation as to the extent of the outages in terms of both geographic area and number of households affected. To these imaginary numbers, should be included conjecture as to the cause of the outage. Downed power lines, squirrel in the transformer, ice, storms, a stoned man stealing an ambulance and running it into the pole on which the transformer is mounted. The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of this opportunity to fixate on the misery.
7) It doesn’t require hot water to take a night time pain reliever. (Contrary to what my kids might say. Water in this primitive state is still potable. The absence of ice will not create a health hazard. Neither will the lack of exposure to a tea bag.) Depending on how much is left in the bottle, you might see to it that your pain is relieved by administering the recommended dosage to your spouse and covering them with enough blankets to keep them warm and blissfully unconscious until power is restored. If there is not enough for both of you and a decision has to be made, take it yourself. He is on duty managing both the crisis and the emotions surrounding the technological deprivation. Your children will sleep on their own with nothing to do. Until the interior temps drop below 72F degrees. Then you are gonna need to call in an expert.
I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and