It is eight fifteen in the morning. Our kid has already gotten up, ate breakfast and gone to school. My lady is set to get up at eight thirty today, she only has to be to work for nine. I notice that the room is still dark, despite the fact that the light switch is in the off position. It is then that I notice that the oil furnace (which is driven by an electric fan and a mumbo jumbo of electric wires) is not working. Neither is our air exchanger. With no noise from the furnace, the air exchanger, our ten year old, etc, the house is so peaceful. That is, of course until I get up and my feet nearly stick to an ice cold floor.
You see, when our son left the house, he forgot to close the door. That means that whatever snow that was blowing around the step has now blown throughout our house. Add to that no heat, and you can imagine how cold it is here right now.
In a mad panic, my lady gets up, and without taking notice that the electricity is gone she jumps into the shower. Let it be known that we have an electric pump that feeds water from a well that is over two thousand feet from the house, and a hot water heater that is powered by electricity. Any water in the tank is now freezing cold and my lady now knows this.
The sheer shrill from her voice tells me that her shower will be fairly short, and the fact that she has now landed in the bed next to me SOAKING WET WITH COLD COLD WATER tells me that she has reacted to my hysterical laughing. Well my now absent hysterical laughing.
After the wet sheets are removed from the bed and new ones on, my lady does that thing with her hair (the thing that only takes a few minutes when SHE is in a hurry but an hour or more when I am in a hurry), throws on some nice clothes and is out the door.
I am left with a cold house and no electricity. I attempt to check in to several weather websites, but of course the internet is run by electricity so that won’t work so stupid me checks the weather station on the television. Of course that doesn’t work either. Then I grab the cordless and try to call the local radio station. Of course the cordless doesn’t work. Surprisingly, the crappy Samsung cellphone I have does work, and it rings just as I am trying to turn on the bathroom light so that I can take a piss.
Apparently the worst storm that has ever hit the island has hit the east coast. The Holyrood (yes, we have a Holyrood, but not a Hollywood unless you are Asian and Hollywood sounds like Holyrood) power station went down in the storm and the geniuses who work at the Newfoundland power station figure that they simply hook one not working system to a system that IS working and servicing over 75,000 people and Boom, no service island wide.
So now no electricity island wide. In moments my lady is back home because although someone was trying to call her and inform her that there was no work today due to the power outage, they couldn’t get in touch with us because our electricity was out and we didn’t have any phones that weren’t cordless. So she is now back home. We go to the only warm place in the house…the bed. We weren’t alone though. Apparently our teacup Pomeranian and our Heinz 51 find that the floors aren’t warm enough for them so they decide to join us in the nice warm bed as well. That sounds like a good enough plan until our Heinz 51 (named this due to the many different breeds that created him) decides that his stomach cannot digest whatever crap he ate outside and he upchucks on the pillow over my head. I am not allowed to choke him…I am not allowed to choke him…(the mantra in my head keeps repeating this but I subconsciously argue with it, eventually losing the battle and cleaning the stuff up (without water of course because we don’t have any)).
When that is all over, we hear our son come home; Again he leaves the door open (I know he wasn’t born on a raft, but I bet he would be very comfortable on one), I yell for him to close it, he does, and heads for the bathroom. “Don’t flush the toilet, we have no water!” I holler, so he hears me, and he replies “But I have to poop!” Of course he does. Everyone knows that there is a correlation between the toilet not working and my child’s bowels. (The single worst part of having no electricity is having no water. The single worst part of having no water is not being able to flush that toilet. As far as drinking water, one could substitute many things such as milk, water, juice, or on mornings like this, Whiskey!) Of course we all know what comes next…FLUSH! followed by an ‘I forgot’.
Our kid now proceeds to his playroom where he is surrounded with electric goodness. The first thing we hear is “TED, my TV won’t work”, then we hear “How can I play video games without the TV?” Then we hear “I can’t see in the bathroom (apparently the lack of flushing water has made him need to pee, and without light in the bathroom he fears he will miss the toilet) “Make sure you sit on the toilet, so you don’t miss” is an instruction from his mom. “What? Sit like a girl, no way” he replies. I know there is pee on the floor.
After an hour of cramped warmth, we are graced with the whirring of the air exchanger, the sound of the toilet filling up, the glow from every light in the house coming on immediately due to our son’s inability to turn a light off, and the phone. GOD! Why do neighbors call you and ask really stupid questions like “Do you have electricity? I do” when they know that you have electricity because you just answered the cordless phone that they called you on.
My lady heads to work, my son is once again playing his video games, and I can get supper ready. What else can be better than this you ask?
All this has led me to ask myself how I became so reliant on electricity in the first place. Up until I was ten years old, my family did without any sort of electricity or other convenience. We didn’t even have running water. As time changed, so did our lifestyle. When I was ten, my parents upgraded our home heating system to a wood range. For heat we depended on a wood stove. This same wood stove had an oven, so all cooking was done using the wood stove. Behind the wood stove was a wood powered hot water heater. With that we had hot water as long as our ancient water system brought water to the house. We depended on Kerosene lamps for light, and our entertainment was either comic books or listening to mom read classic novels to dad. When we were home from school, we took to the hills with our toboggans and Krazy Karpets and our mini-skis; or we hit the nearest pond with our skates, and played hockey. We didn’t resort to complaining how we couldn’t play video games (particularity due to the fact that they weren’t invented yet) or how we were bored. Even when the weather wasn’t fit to go outside, we stayed inside and played board games or wrestled around the room until mom caught us. We are so dependent on electricity.
So now the power has been restored. Thank heavens we live on the west coast of the island. St John’s has been hit with one of the worst winter storm in recent years, and a few hours without electricity is nothing compared to the hardships that many people are facing just a few hundred kms away.
As for me, I am now on my way out the door. I plan to visit the local Walmart and pick up a few things..namely a battery powered AM/FM radio, a wind up clock for the bedroom, and a few tanks of propane for the camp stove. Add to this a stop at the hardware store for some buckets that I can later fill with water and place next to the toilet. According to local news, the electricity we are now enjoying is only temporary, and will eventually go out again later today so that they can repair the system. Some Fun!