Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amish Autumn

Amish Buggy Ride

Yesterday, we were without power for 21 hours.  The power went out at midnight and then was on low surge until the morning when, after six calls, the power company came out and turned off the power completely and informed me we had a big problem. 

When the power went out, my husband, who was up, came to wake me, because he was concerned about the surge.  I was immediately indignant.  “Why are you waking me, and I’m hot (just a half hour after the A/C went down).  I’m going to sleep downstairs where it’s cooler.”  My husband thought I was being irrational, but he doesn’t have to sleep next to the little ten pound space heater named Annie.

After a night of tossing and turning on the sofa and a reasonable amount of sleep, we still had a low surge.  I made coffee and breakfast and then talked to the power man.  He told me that the power line had burned up on one side of the breaker.  He had to turn off the power and not six units of townhouses were without power.  He said that I needed to have the landlord fix it and it was going to take some time, so I needed to get on it right away and stay on it.

When the power went out, I was immediately grateful and counting my blessings.  I had had time to make coffee (very important)!  It was a reasonably cool, autumn day (only 80 degrees by the end of the day) and there was a strong breeze.  My friend was able to afford me a some space in her refrigerator, so my food would not spoil.  The fire in the power box did not burn down building.  My husband had called the power company right away in the middle of the night and I was home to talk to the repairman, so we were getting this taken care of sooner rather than later.  There was a lot to be thankful for and as soon as I was done talking to the power man and maintenance, the kids and I were formally praying our gratitude.  Okay to be honest, with all the excitement, I had lost the kids’ attention, but they knew what I was doing.

Alex was sort of funny, because he asked every repairman who came through, “Hey! Why you turn off my watchin’?”  He was in the middle of his morning cartoons.  Yes, I was a little embarrassed.  But, our day went on mostly as normal, except I did not have to wash the laundry.  We went to the park and karate, ate a cool lunch and snacks, we did our home school lesson by the window.  Then in the late afternoon we played outside in the parking lot with bikes and talked to the repairmen outside.  Then we went out for dinner.  We could have gone old-timey and spread some peanut butter on some bread and called it a night, but we had a gift certificate so we felt obliged to eat out.

Most of the late afternoon and early evening we stood outside talking with our neighbors.  No one wanted to sit inside in the heat and sickening blackness.  There were solar security lights outside and we were enjoying getting to know each other better.  We all stood out there watching the kids play (our kids went to bed at a normal hour) and talking until 10:00 p.m. when the power company finally came to turn the power back on.

It was all fixed around 4:30 p.m., but the city inspection still had to be reported to the power company.  From the time of the report to the time the power company came out to turn on the power was five hours. Oh dread.  But again, we had to count our blessings, the landlord pointed out because we lived in a small town suburb we were able to get the inspector out quickly instead of days like the greater surrounding area.

When the power was finally on, all the neighbors rushed back into their homes. “See y’all in the parking lot as I rush off to work, or whatever. I have power now, so we don’t really need to talk again anytime soon.”  Yeah, it was a little surreal.  Neighbors used to talk and know each other (before I was born).  I meandered into my home, rocking the infant I had had in my arms all this time.  Inside, everything was lit up like a magnificent, golden palace and a the cool breezy air conditioner was humming.  I washed out my refrigerator, because it was conveniently empty.  I felt grateful. 

It is amazing how a day without power can change your perspectives.  I realized how little power we actually need.  I am super grateful for every kilowatt we get to use.  I realized there are real people living twenty feet away from me.  There are a lot of good people doing their jobs.  My husband is still a boy scout and a leader (he sort of rallied the neighbors as we stood outside our homes).  There is a lot of time to be had when you do not have electronics to distract you.  There is always time to count your blessings.

All praise be to God.


Kayleen said...

This is a timely post - I just started reading a fascinating book about the modern conveniences of domestic life. It traces the technologies of everything from the toilet to central heating to the vacuum cleaner. Very cool and interesting stuff! We live SUCH comfortable lives...and the author pointed out that even if we were to go back to our grandparent's childhood homes, we wouldn't find them very comfortable places at all. Comfort is a relative term!

But I'm glad you had a day to really remember and appreciate all the comforts electricity affords. I wonder sometimes why I was so blessed as to be born in this point in the whole history of time. I am such a sissy when it comes to being 'comfortable' and so I reason that God knew I would be miserable at any other point. (kidding :)

Anne said...

aw, the thought of Andrew as boyscout just makes me happy :) miss you two (well, five) so much!
and I love Alex's line: "Hey, why you turn off my watchin'?" I can totally see him saying that. Makes me wanna squeeze him!

Glad you had a good day :) We should totally have "blackout" days on our farm, huh? :D