“The Y2K+3 Super North East Discharge” 
August 18, 2003

Thursday, 4:11PM – WTF?  I was right in the middle of a phone call!  Darn fancy phones anyway, the old fashioned ones with cords are oblivious to electricity.  Keep that in mind when you think that having a cordless in every room is somehow superior to being tied to the wall and having to stand on a chair to dangle the handset and let the cord unravel.  Lucky for me I still have a corded version in the living room and upon figuring out that I needed to unplug the electrical plug, it worked like a charm.  I dialed my sister back to inform her that my power had gone out but before I could say so she informed me that her power had gone out.  Hmm…she’s about 15 miles from me and it would be very abnormal for both of us to lose power at the same time.  I spent around 50 hours without power due to an ice storm last winter and she was very happily ensconced in her well heated home watching television the whole time, so this just didn’t seem quite right.   

Thursday, 4:16PM – Called the husband who was on his way home in the car (mostly to make sure he wasn’t involved in whatever catastrophic accident must have caused this power outage that was affecting such a large area…little did I know how large the area really was!) and he informed me that he had just left the hardware store because the power went out.  At this point, alarm set in because he was 15 miles or so in the opposite direction and I just knew this could NOT be right!  After telling him about how large the area of power loss was, he tuned the car radio to the local station only to find silence.  And in this ultra-comforting way he has about him, he informed me that he could suddenly see a lot of black smoke from the direction of Canada (an easy view for us).  He promised to find a radio station that was working and to let me know what he heard.  I hung up wondering if I should be going back on my promise to let the kids go out to play in the kiddie pool.  I decided not to be hasty, and besides, it was already getting hotter in the house without the fans running, so outside we went.  I will admit though, that I almost bolted back inside when a little plane flew overhead…sometimes I’m still amazed at the changes in thinking over the last few years.   

Thursday, 4:22PM – Phone rings, and already I’m remembering what a royal pain in the ass it is going to be without my cordless phone.  Drag the kids out of the pool; make them sit where I can see them from the house, and run for the phone.  It’s the husband, with the cheery news that much of the Northeastern US and some of Canada are without power.  Hmm, that does exactly nothing toward abating my terrorism fears.  Oh, but the good news is that all that smoke is a normal (?) byproduct from the energy plants when they have a shut down such as this.  Oooh, good, the billowing black smoke is A-OK.  No worries there.  Personally, I’m just glad that I can’t actually see the smoke from my yard because I’m pretty certain that it would only stress me out.  I forget about the smoke and go back to expecting Bin Laden to burst through my front door at any moment.    

Thursday, 4:24PM – On my way back outside I break rule number one during a power outage: I opened the refrigerator.  I swear it’s like I’m a magnet or something!  As soon as my mind knows I’m not supposed to do something, I fricken do it without even stopping to think.  I didn’t even need anything out of the fridge, apparently I just wanted to browse. 

Thursday, 4:30PM – The husband gets home, and I make the kids get out of the pool again so I can go stand near the truck and listen to the radio.  At this point, no one knows anything and all kinds of wild speculating is going on between DJ’s that are probably more qualified to discuss last night’s wild party than any actual important event.  I tell him that I’m almost positive that CNN or ABC News or something of the like has simultaneous radio broadcasts, but we can’t seem to find anything like that and while we’re flipping through stations we figure we might be missing some important info, so we stop looking and settle on someone who at least sounds old enough to drive.  We conclude after a few minutes though, that all the information to be had at the moment is “We don’t know what caused it” and “We have no idea when it’ll be back”.  By now it’s been about 25 minutes since the power went out, and because we are getting to be veterans at this power outage thing, our collective intelligent minds go straight to the number one power outage commodity:  Ice.  The husband turns the truck around and heads straight back out to the nearest gas station to score us a few bags.  If you’re wondering why our intelligent minds didn’t decide to have him do that on the way home, it mainly has to do with allowing everyone else a fair chance as well…we wouldn’t want to hamper the rest of society with our illuminate ideas, it wouldn’t be fair.   

Thursday, 4:50PM – He returns with a very respectable score of 11 bags!  When he pulled up the clerk was locking the doors to go home, but he talked him into selling him the ice since he didn’t need change or anything from the register.  He forked over our last $13.00 in cash and by the time he loaded up the ice a line had formed and the clerk was being told all sorts of stories by needy customers; the best by far, being the lady that needed the ice for her medication.  First she needed 3 bags, then she needed 5 and ultimately she said she’d just go ahead and take 8, lol.  We pack the freezer with ice and throw the rest into coolers along with what food we can fit in there.  I throw the rest of the bags into containers to catch the leakage as they melt and put them in the refrigerator with the rest of the food piled in the containers with it…if we happen to get lucky and this is short term then it will keep some of the stuff from spoiling at least.  Then, in my infinite wisdom, I tape the refrigerator shut to keep myself out.  My husband decides that it’s possible the water supply is going to either stop or become contaminated so he figures we should fill some containers with water.  Next thing I know, I’m faced with 20 2.5-gallon containers that he’s apparently saved for just such an occasion.  They’re empty spring water containers and I’m damning the day I ever bought them as I fill them with the sink sprayer because they’re too tall to fit under the faucet.  We discuss the fact that we have no batteries for the only battery radio we have which is an old early eighties style boom box that he bought to use in the garage at, coincidentally, a garage sale.  It was a steal at 25 cents.  This, my friends, is the only radio we have in the entire house that will accept batteries.  For future reference you might want to check out the status of the radios in your house because I was truly shocked at how many of the newer ones don’t have the battery powered option.  Anyway, this dinosaur of a monstrosity needs like eight D batteries, and we figure we might come up with four or so if we raid both of the kid’s toy boxes.  He spent our last cash on the ice, but figures it might be worth a try to go to a store.  Maybe they’ll actually crack out the old credit card machine and he’ll be able to use the debit card.   

Thursday, 5:05PM – Less than an hour in and already several of the neighbors have fired up their generators.  Little known fact about generators:  They totally suck for all except the owner.  If you have never had the pleasure of residing next to one on an otherwise silent evening, picture this:  There is NO noise, no fan, no air conditioner, no music, no television…nothing.  It’s 112 degrees, and you have to have every window open just to continue breathing.  Suddenly, the quiet is broken by what sounds like the loudest lawn mower you’ve ever heard…and I’ll be darned but it’s SO loud that it must be parked right under your window!  Alas, upon further inspection, no, it’s just your neighbor’s generator, which he has set up for his convenience (I dunno, something about proper ventilation or some such nonsense) right outside his garage.  Apparently the insufferable noise doesn’t bother him because now that he has some electricity again, he probably has his A/C on to drown out the ruckus.  And that is with a pretty decent distance between houses even.  I pity those that live in closer neighborhoods.  I’m sure if I had one, I’d feel completely differently (lol) but I’m almost certain if I tried to run my lawn mower all night someone would call the cops on me…so why is it that I have to listen to that thing ALL night long?     

Thursday, 5:15PM – No go on the batteries.  He found a store open, and they were selling things, but it was a cash only deal.  This is about the time when it’s setting in that it’s highly unintelligent to depend so much on debit cards and not have a stash of cash somewhere in the house.  I figure I could raid the kid’s piggy banks, but I’ll save that for a more dire need than batteries I suppose.  While he was gone I grew a brain and dragged the water containers outside and filled the rest with the garden hose…it was a lot faster.   

Thursday, 5:30PM – We’ve done pretty much all we can to prepare and now the waiting sets in.  He lugs the radiosaur out on the deck and announces that he found 7 batteries and he thinks he can make it work.  He sets about messing with that and we discuss the fact that while he was driving to the store again they announced that this is not terrorist related, but I’m not so sure they can know that already.  How can you not know what caused it, but know what didn’t?  Doesn’t make sense to me.   

Thursday, 5:40PM – The radio is working!  In case you ever need to know (and who knows, you just might), 7 D cells and 1 C cell will work in a pinch…just find something to shove under the C so it meets up correctly with the D’s, lol.  We locate a station that is carrying ABC news and feel almost like civilized folk again!  You cannot imagine how important some form of technology is at a time like that…you really can’t.   

Thursday, 6:30PM – I grilled up some chicken breasts and baked potatoes, while wondering what in the heck we’re going to eat if this lasts very long.  I was due to shop, and it’s a really weird feeling to know that even with the full tank of gas that we luckily had when this happened, I probably couldn’t drive far enough to hit somewhere that had power.  To know that there very well may not be food to be had after a day or two (even if one does have cash *rolling eyes*) gives one pause, let me tell you.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t have enough canned crap in the cupboard to keep us from starving for probably weeks, if not months, but knowing that you cannot order a pizza is its own kind of hell, believe me.  And on a more serious note, I was almost out of milk…I wonder if I can make my kids think having cereal with juice instead of milk is a good idea?   

Thursday, 8:00PM – Dinner was fabulous, if I do say so myself.  Extra sour cream for all…because, heck, why not?  And lots of ice cream for dessert because there was no hope of that surviving much longer anyway.  We sit outside as long as possible, first discussing the sometime benefit of being forced to have nothing to do but sit around and talk, and ultimately getting around to lamenting the fact that the weather had been so utterly perfect up until around Wednesday when it became wicked hot and humid.  There isn’t a bit of a breeze and the humidity is at about 89% (where it stayed until Saturday, by the way).  We also discovered that mosquitoes aren’t much bothered by the lack of electricity, or by Cutter mosquito candles, for that matter.   

Thursday, 9:15PM – He tries to get the kids settled with their flashlights and battery-powered nightlights while I take a shower by candlelight.  It would almost be a calm mood-setting experience if I weren’t thinking about the fact that it would’ve been smarter to take a shower while it was still light out on the off chance it would prevent the mildew soon to follow a shower in the dark with no ventilation.  I get out to find that the kids are totally freaked out and are certain a tornado is going to come (?) because there isn’t electricity.   

Thursday, 11:00PM – We sat around and listened to the radio by candlelight.  Hillary Clinton managed to make quick work of coming out to point fingers, and the President made a speech that informed us there was a blackout (NO!  Really?) and basically repeated what news anchors had been saying all day.  We discuss the validity of calling this a “rolling blackout” as all the officials and news guys have been doing all day.  The verdict:  Not valid, there is no “rolling” going on at the moment.  One of the New York leaders (Pataki or Bloomberg) came out for another round of kudos to the New Yorkers.  New Yorkers are strong, true and brave!  New Yorkers are handling this like champs!  New Yorkers are being civil to each other and lending a hand wherever possible!  No offense New Yorkers, I’m certain you really are a great bunch, but darn if I’m not sitting in the dark too and someone has yet to congratulate me on how well I’m handling this inconvenience.  Is there no Michigan official speaking up as of yet or is there just no radio station that cares to bother to cover it?  We’re still waiting around for a local station to get back online so we can hear if we should be drinking our water or not.  Good to know that NY is doing well though.  Oh yes, I’m starting to get grouchy. 

Thursday, 11:20PM – We decide that the candles are just making it hotter and we should probably just try to sleep now.  We decide that even though our room faces the road, we should sleep with the curtains wide open to ensure that every bit of air makes it in the window.  After a trip to the truck to get the only watch in the house, we settle in to sleep.  I find it’s too noisy and hot.  After tossing and turning for a good hour or so, I am just drifting off when the outside floodlights came on at the house across the street.  You see, they have a generator too, and apparently they felt the need to illuminate the outside for a while so that those of us that had no choice but to leave our curtains open could bask in the rays of their good fortune.  The rest of my night went just about like that and very little actual rest was obtained.  

Friday, 8:00AM – Spent a little while contemplating the upcoming towel shortage and how to best conserve what was still clean.  Also contemplated how low I was on deodorant…how had I not even thought to notice that before I could no longer run out and buy some?  Wondered exactly how long it takes a person to stop flipping the flippen light switches, and considered taping those too just because I feel a surge of annoyance every time I forget.   

Friday, 8:30AM – Listened to the radio and decided that New Yorkers (and again no offense, it’s not your fault the spokespersons annoy me so) are definitely the Carly Corinthos of this blackout.  NY made it through the night intact and an extra special thank you was being delivered because all the looters behaved themselves.  Woowhoo!  Where’s my thank you?  I didn’t smash one damn window all night long and what do I get for it?  Nothing.  When I couldn’t take the declarations of bravery and fortitude a moment longer, I tooled around the dial a bit and found a local station finally up and running.  Detroit Edison claims that by the end of the weekend, they’ll have everyone restored…is that supposed to be good news?   

Friday, 9:10AM – Sent the kids and the husband outside.  Decided to call my mom for commiseration.  Since she’s only a few miles away we had both endured the outage earlier this year and I knew she could relate to my exasperation at doing this again.  Phone is dead.  WTFF?  Why is the darn phone dead now?  It worked yesterday!  I carry the phone around to different outlets in some hope that it’ll work on one of them, but nothing.  I have the husband bring me the cell phone from the car, but it varies between a busy signal that starts before you even finish dialing and a no service message.  I’ve determined that cell phones are only good for emergencies when you are the *only* one having an emergency.  Add two or three other people who need those cell signals at the same time and you’re screwed.  I give up on that and do my nails instead.  Then, I figure sunlight is great for eyebrow plucking so we may as well make use of the natural resources.  Okay, I’ve accomplished about all I can for the day and it’s like 9:30AM.  I find a book I’ve been meaning to read and settle on the couch to read.   

Friday, 10:05AM – I flip the radio back on and catch the tail end of a local update that says that a town about 20 miles away has power!  I’m SO excited!  I no longer have to fear never seeing a Dairy Queen cone again, lol.  Life feels much better all of the sudden.  I try the phone again, and hello!  It’s working.  This must be my lucky day!  (Well, except for that no electricity thing)  I dial my mom and we commiserate on our lot in life at the moment.  We discuss a few options for a party we were planning to throw for a family member on Saturday, since some of the food was to be catered by a local restaurant which is now closed, of course, we are trying to come up with contingency plans.  I also find out that both my sisters got their power back, one at 9PM the previous night and one at 4AM this morning.  We discuss how nice it would be if we were glad for them, lol, but darnit, they didn’t go through this just a few months ago like we did so this just seems wholly unfair!  We also discuss the fact that we’re quite convinced they aren’t heeding the “conserve” warnings and are probably blasting their A/C without a care to whether it means it takes us longer to get power back.  We tossed around the idea of sabotaging their A/C but decide that this isn’t the time to waste gasoline driving around for nefarious reasons.  (Kidding, of course)  

Friday, 12:00PM – I’ve managed to make myself somewhat presentable and we’re thinking since our tank is full we can spare enough to drive over to the town that supposedly has power now and try to score some cash from a bank so that we have some on hand if the power goes back down everywhere again.  The A/C in our truck works intermittently at the moment, and by this time today we were supposed to have it back from the garage after dropping it off this morning, but of course, none of that came to pass.  So the drive was alternately comfortable and uncomfortable, and somewhat surreal in that there was a ton of traffic.  I guess since everyone had the day off, they all had the same idea after spending almost 24 hours sans electricity.  We stuck to back roads mostly to avoid the (non) traffic light commotion, and passed several signs urging us to take our spoiled food to the power plants.  Hmm, nice idea, way to poison the wildlife.   

Friday, 12:45PM – We arrive at the town (it didn’t take 45minutes, that includes loading time which is significant around here, lol), which is a fairly small little berg with one main road running through.  We quickly find that the right lane is totally blocked and we can’t see where the line ends.  I’m hoping it isn’t the bank, and we move into the other lane and start passing the lineup.  It lasted a good mile or so, and there were at least five cars with their hoods up along the way.  People were out of the cars, standing around chatting, etc.  It ended at a gas station which is situated on a corner, and the cross street had a lineup stretching at least as far as the other one did.  The cops were there, apparently keeping the peace and as we passed several people were pushing the next car in line to the pumps since it had either run out of gas or overheated sitting in line.  Luckily, the bank was looking much less congested.  The ATM, not surprisingly, wasn’t working so we got in the drive thru line, but were told when we got up there that we had to come inside because they can’t make withdrawals off the debit card at the drive thru…she said they didn’t have any withdrawal tickets…?  Whatever.  If you work at a bank and can explain that – please do because I’m curious as to why they couldn’t walk two feet to get one.  Anyway, he went inside and it actually only took a few minutes, so no big deal there.   

Friday, 1:10PM – With cash in hand, we decide that we deserve a break today…but then decide we want it to be at Burger King instead of McDonald’s.  We get in a relatively long drive thru line because the interior looks impenetrable.  We wait almost exactly one hour to get our meal, and it becomes one of those situations where you just *know* this is ridiculous and you should go home and make a sandwich…but how can you give up after already waiting so long?  People are mostly being patient and trying to be polite about not blocking the parked cars in and such, but at one point someone pulls in line in front of the car that was leaving a gap for the driveway to still be used…you’ve never heard such simultaneous honking.  The poor lady, who very well may not have noticed the long line, slunk off in shame.  After waiting so long, you better believe I was ready to bite into my sourdough bacon cheeseburger…except that it wasn’t a sourdough bacon cheeseburger; it was a plain whopper.  My taste buds wither on the spot.  We have already moved on to the parking lot of the grocery store to eat, and neither of us wants to try to get near enough to BK again to fix the problem.  I eat a bit of it though not much out of sheer protest, lol, but the pop tasted quite good, thank you very much.  We were unfortunately out of pop when the black out hit and I am suffering withdrawals.  The kids think it is pretty funny that the French fries are all stuck together, and I realize that is probably because they had thawed while the power was out.  I am definitely second guessing my decision to eat fast food directly following a power outage. 

Friday 2:00PM – We’re still sitting in the parking lot, now waiting for the huge deluge of rain to let up so we can get into the grocery store.  It is raining harder than it has in quite some time, along with lots of thunder and lightening.  We muse that with our luck the lightening will probably knock out the power here and we’ll never get to see the inside of the grocery store.  The parking lot (which was apparently put in by a total moron) has a ton of low spots in it and they are flooding to the point of reaching the car doors.  We move to a higher spot, in the hopes of not having to wade through a foot of water to get to the door.  It looks good when we pick one, but after waiting another 15 minutes, that is flooded as well.  We debate just my going in…but we figure there is air conditioning in there and the truck A/C has stopped working again, so no one really wants to wait in the car either.  Finally, there is a break in the downpour and we make a run for it.  I actually make it through relatively dry, but the husband wasn’t smart enough to pick up his kid so he suffered from intentional puddle splashing.  Amateur.  There are no carts available, apparently the cart guys don’t *do* rain.  We wander around a bit and notice there’s basically no meat or dairy available.  We decide to just grab some snacks we feel like eating for later and maybe some pop.  I go to the produce section because I’m supposed to make a fruit tray for the party on Saturday, but the only produce left is a half a watermelon, some red grapes, and a few green bananas.  The bananas aren’t going to be useable by tomorrow, so I buy the other two things thinking about what a kick ass fruit tray this’ll make, lol.  We find the pop, and I grab a box of Crunch ‘n Munch.  At the register we let the kids pick out some candy, and then move through the relatively short line quite quickly.  I look around at the other registers and it was downright amusing how many people were buying things just like us.  You’d think it would be a big run on the essentials, but mostly, it was comfort food that was flying off the shelves, lol.  When we get to the exit, it’s another gale outside with the rain coming down hard and basically sideways.  We decide to wait again, why not?  It’s cooler in here anyway.  Suddenly, my stomach isn’t feeling so great so I enquire about a bathroom and walk to the back of the store to find it.  Upon going in, I find that they have sprung a leak in the ceiling and it is directly above the toilet, so there’s no way to actually use the bathroom without getting a shower at the same time.  Not to mention the suspicious look of all the water lying around on the floor.  Guess I’ll be waiting.  I go back to the front, only to be told that it stopped while I was gone, but now it’s raining like crazy again.  *Sigh* Finally, it lets up a bit and we make another run for it.  By now, there are literally waves going through the parking lot every time a car drives down the aisles, so it’s pretty much a lost cause.  We get in, mandating a “no talking all the way home” rule to stop the bickering and frankly, to stop the question asking that is incessant these days, and head for home.  Once we get there, we realize that we’ve gotten very little of the rain there, which is probably good since all the windows and doors were still open.   

Friday, 3:40PM – The rain has reached our house now, lucky us.  It’s dark, and I have to give up trying to fold the clothes that were in the dryer when the outage occurred, because I can no longer see what I’m doing.  We have to shut a lot of the windows because too much water is coming in…and I’m beginning to feel that I may be losing my grip on sanity.  I tell the kids to put on their bathing suits and go play in the rain.  I warn the husband to drag them in at the first sign of lightening (such a good mother am I).  I call my mom again, because I know she’ll relate, and we both go on for five minutes wondering how it can be that we have no power on the darkest day of the year?  She says she just talked to my sister and had told her that she kept flipping on the light switches and it was really starting to get to her…my sister’s advice was to stop doing that, lol.  This led us to further discuss how smug these brats were that have electricity and ways that we would enjoy teaching them a lesson.  Then we felt ashamed that we weren’t handling this more like those stalwart New Yorker’s.  Why is it that everyone in a big circle around us has power, but we still don’t?  What are we?  Like the donut hole before some smart person figured out there was a use for it?  We considered whether we could join in the fray of “I’m appointing an investigatory committee” politicians and get that looked into?  *Sigh*  

Friday, 5:00PM – The rain is gone, everything is wet, but the sun has come back out and we can see again at least.  I move outside after finding a dry lawn chair in the garage, and try to read some more before it gets dark.  I have realized through the course of these outages that reading by candlelight is a real bitch.  I can’t believe anyone back in the days before electricity could still see past the age of thirty if they read much by candlelight.  I could practically feel my vision slipping away.  The kids have moved to playing in the mud and the husband is cleaning out the car.  For a moment, all is peaceful (well, except for the generator) and calm.   

Friday, 6:10PM – The husband walks by and catches me sitting in the computer chair staring at the blank screen.  He laughs, and I give him my very best glare. 

Friday, 6:30PM - We fix the girls a PB&J sandwich for dinner, and run a bath for them.   

Friday, 7:30PM – I agree to get the girls to bed (usually his job) if he’ll go back to the town with power and get some Chinese take-out, provided there isn’t a three hour wait.  We call and they tell us that the mobs have subsided and by the time he can get there, they’ll have it ready.  I get the girls in bed, with minimal problems (unlike the night before) and decide it definitely makes sense to put them in bed while it’s still somewhat light out because they don’t get quite as freaked about the power issue.  I decide to take a shower myself, and this time I get smart and take this hazard flashlight we have that is usually in the car.  It’s got a big long light on it, and it lit up the shower quite well.   

Friday, 8:20PM – He’s back, and quite impressed that the kids are already sleeping.  I tell him that they only whine so much for him because they know he’s a sucker.  I don’t put up with it, so they don’t bother…thus my incredible speed at bedtime rituals, lol.  He’s doesn’t appear all that impressed.  The Chinese is great though. 

Friday, 9:30PM – He decides to take a shower as well, but comes back out right away with the flashlight.  I left the stupid thing in there and turned on, and the battery is dead.  Why all that light coming out of the shower didn’t tip me off to a problem, I don’t know.  I feel bad because that *was* the best flashlight we had.  He’s gracious about it, but I’m fairly certain he’s regretting telling me last night how well it worked for him to shave by. 

Friday, 10:05PM – The local station has an update from LOCAL authorities!  We’re so impressed!  They say the water is fine to drink (nice to know 30 hours into it, but whatever) and that they are asking us to conserve water (I tell the husband that I *told* him it wouldn’t be appropriate to wash the car at a time like this).  They still don’t know when the power will be back up and the area has been declared a state of emergency.  There is a curfew, no one on the roads from 10 PM until 5AM, except for emergencies.  And that about covers it.  Mr. Mayor is definitely not as eloquent as the NY leaders, and I didn’t hear him give me a “rah-rah” for being so tough either.  Pfft.   

Friday, 10:10PM – We decide to play Scrabble.  We also catch another ABC update on the “Blackout of ’03”.  After minimal deliberation, we come to the conclusion that the “Blackout of ‘03” is really a very uncreative name.  We decide that they apparently aren’t very good on the fly, and only come up with those snappy titles when they can foresee the event coming and have time to brainstorm.  We toss around a few ideas of our own and decide that “The Y2K+3 Super North East Discharge” seems much more along the lines of what we would’ve expected.  Then we discuss how sick we’ll be of hearing about the “power grid” by a week or so from now.  Every politician in the world will be rambling about the “power grid” (like they had ever given it a thought a week ago) and how to fix it.  Great, something to look forward to!  We change the channel to a country station and I proceed to allow my exhaustion and possible heat stroke talk me into giving a little sing-along concert.  It was going really well until the stupid station cut off the song I was belting out right in the middle and went to a commercial…?  WTH?  I swear, it’s like they were intentionally ruining the little bit of fun I found.  Then they interrupted the commercial to start a new song, this one about praying for fish or some such nonsense.  It sucked, and I’d never heard it before anyway so I couldn’t even sing with it.  My husband decides that he thinks he could write country songs and make us rich (I’m doubtful).  The chipper DJ lady also keeps coming on in between songs and announcing that she has “good news” and tells us again, over and over, that Detroit Edison says they’ll have power restored to all areas BY THE END OF THE WEEKEND!  Uh…seriously, this is NOT good news lady.  It’s only FRIDAY.  I mean, yeah, it’s better than hearing “we’ll have you some electricity before winter”, but it isn’t anything to sound so cheerful about.  The wench is probably sitting in A/C right now, microwaving herself some popcorn or something.  I think I hate her.  Somehow the conversation wanders to how easy it would be to steal a generator right now, since they’re all sitting outside.  The homeowner would think it just ran out of gas when it stopped and we could be long gone before he even got his shorts back on.  No, we weren’t serious or anything…it was just speculation, I swear!  We also wonder if we sprayed the neighbors with a hose if it would shut off eventually?   Probably not since it survived the rainstorm.   

Friday, 11:35PM – I win the Scrabble game, and we decide that once again, we’re only heating the place up with the candles.  So, we call it a night and get in bed.  It’s even hotter tonight, but I did locate a pair of earplugs earlier and I’m hoping that will help with the generator noise.  I lay awake for what feels like forever, getting up once to use the bathroom and practically breaking my toe on the doorframe.  It’s really freaking dark in our house with no lights, believe it or not, lol.  I think I slept a little at some point, but I was awake by 6:30AM or so and lying there thinking about what a pain it was going to be to try to make the pasta salad I need to take to the party.  Not to mention how I was going to do something with my hair, because I am NOT going looking like this.  I’m thinking maybe I can boil the pasta outside on the grill since it has one of those side burner deals, but I’m a little leery about the propane situation since I cannot remember ever refilling it and we’ve had the grill for a few years.  Oh well, no point in stressing about it, I guess I have the perfect excuse if I don’t get it done, right?  Plus, I could take all my stuff and go to my sister’s to make it I suppose.  I’m not sure I trust myself to be around people with electricity at the moment though.   

Saturday, 8:00AM – We’re all up.  The kids are eating dry cereal for breakfast.  I have a Pay Day bar and a can of pop.  Hey, I need it.  We turn the radiosaur on, and come into the middle of a DTE Michigan briefing.  The guy is proud and happy to tell us all that they have power up and running to all Michigan customers…?  Um, excuse me, but I’m STILL SITTING IN THE DARK!  Seriously, I felt my blood pressure rising with every word he uttered.  He says there are still “pockets” of outages because, remember, we had some nasty storms yesterday and some of those areas were affected by storm caused outages but they didn’t know it because they didn’t have power.  DTE doesn’t know about these types of outages (and why not?) until they are reported, so it would take some time for that to get taken care of.  And yes, the phone lines and customer service are operating, but it’s really slow going for some inexplicable reason and so it’s hard to get through at the moment.  So apparently, now we’re supposed to call and report that our power is out?  What IS this?  He also informs us all that they have about 80% of the usual peak usage available, so by later that afternoon they would not have enough unless everyone conserves.  Um, right.  Telling people who have been without power for two days, to not use their air conditioners once they’re working again is big time wishful thinking, if you ask me.  The feed switches to NY, where, oh yes…they’re still being brave and strong (albeit WITH power now, but hey, you still gotta hand it to them ;).  I’m completely perplexed.  I can’t believe he’s on there talking about how impressed DTE is with themselves, for having everyone back up and running while I’m still sitting here marinating.   

Saturday, 9:02AM – I’ll be honest here and say that by this time, I was still on the couch bitching about how lame the DTE guy was.  My six year old came out and said “Is the power back on?  Because I think I heard the microwave beep” I realized that I had heard it too, and I reached over and flipped on the lamp!  Seriously, unless you’ve gone for at least 24hours without it recently, you cannot imagine the feeling you get when it comes back.  I did a happy dance; I’m not ashamed to tell you.  I immediately thought about the stories I’d been hearing on the radio about people who regained power then lost it again, and I went into action.  I started the washing machine, told the husband to start the dishwasher, and then grabbed the vacuum cleaner (conserve much Sherry?).  Then I fired up all the available fans and parked in front of one for a good ten minutes.  The phone rang, and it was my mother, cautiously asking how it was going this morning.  Neither of us wanted to ask in case the other didn’t have it, lol, but I could tell she did by the sane tone in her voice, lol.  Then I find out she regained power at 10 the night before…what I’d have given to get a good night sleep with a fan blowing on me all night!  But, hey, at least it’s back now.  I decide I better get to work cooking for the party in case it goes back out again.  I spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon dreaming about the night I’m gonna have after the party.  I’m coming home and watching movies while sitting in front of the fan, and then I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight!  I’m SO tired out, I cannot even tell you.  It’s gonna be great. 

Saturday, 9:00PM – The party went great, the cold front came through, and the weather is blissfully cool (figures).  We toss the kids in the bathtub and then into their beds.  We fire up the DVD player, and decide on “The Hunted”.  We’d have a fan running, but it’s frankly too cool with it on (and yes, the irony is killing me).   

Saturday, 10:15PM – I’m half asleep and feeling really relaxed, but I’m just about to reach for a pen and paper to write Tommy Lee Jones a letter about wanting my hour and fifteen minutes back already, when I hear shrieking from down the hall.  The oldest has tossed her cookies.  So much for a blissful night’s sleep, instead it will be a night on the couch with much moaning, groaning and bucket holding.  But hey, at least I can wash the sheets.

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Want More of Sherry's Work?

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