My family does not listen to weather reports.
When we heard about the epic ice storm that was about to descend on the northeast toward the end of December, we chose to ignore the weathermen. It was the week of Christmas, after all, and Mother Nature wouldn’t be cruel enough to wipe us on that week. Sure, power crews were being brought in from other states and other people were filling their bathtubs with extra water, but it was all exaggerated. People rushed to the stores like it was another Y2K. We were above such things.
About 6:02 AM on Sunday morning, December 21st, we lost power.
Now some of you will not understand the enormity of this occurrence. Not only did we loose phone connections, internet, and cable (which is bad enough the week of Christmas!), we lost heat, lights, and water. While losing lights would be a hardship, coupling that with the loss of heat and water, we were in a pickle.
The week started out on the right foot. But as each degree on the temperature gauge disappeared, a gloom began to settle. Christmas without cookies, old movies, or music didn’t seem like a Christmas well spent. The few lights powered by our generator were all that kept our spirits from deflating.
Four days later, it was 39 degrees. That is the temperature we woke up to on Christmas day. One knows it is cold when the refrigerator is warmer than the house, and you can see your breath inside.
By Thursday, our poor generator was having the hiccups. Then convulsions. Our lights beganto do a strobe light routine. Something was wrong. As stories from neighbors about blown furnaces, busted wells, and fried electronics reached us, we decided having a few amenities wasn’t worth the long-range consequences.
As the cold crept back into my extremities, I cracked. No longer could I endure the indignities of days without cleanliness. The inability to be warm. The lack of entertainment. The staring at my dirty, long- faced, bored family members. I began to pace. Then twitch. Then rant.
“Quick,” my sister, Michelle, said to me, seeing the signs of my looming nervous breakdown. “To my room.”
The pile of clothes on the floor and dresser, unmade bed, and remnants of wrapping paper did little to cheer my mood. I could feel the explosion boiling on the inside.
Michelle closed her bedroom door and stepped back. “Throw stuff,” she said. “And yell.”
I eyed her. What strange orders were these?
“It will make you feel better.”
And with that command, I picked up a pair of jeans. With a fiendish howl, I hurled them at her closet door. Five days of pent up frustration and angst erupted as I wrestled with sheets, beat up on the sweaters, and threw socks in all directions. Shouts and screams issued forth as I told the power outage exactly what I thought of it.
Two minutes later, Michelle’s room looked pretty much like it had previously, and I felt calm, cool, and collected once again.
Suddenly, the power clicked on.
I had survived the 2013 Power Outage Apocalypse.