Jul 28, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Learning a few good lessons from a loss of power.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

You can learn something new about yourself constantly, if you pay attention. I thought I was a tough mama. I thought breaking up a sibling fight before bloodshed, mastering the laundry pile, interpreting toddler speak and balancing work with a smile on my face established me as a superhero. I figured I could handle anything.

Following hurricane Irene, I discovered something. I’m a spoiled brat. Take away my power — my computer, light, flushing toilets, a daily shower, the ability to vacuum — and I throw a diva-sized fit.  

I was relaxed when the power went out on Sunday. We were prepared. A tree fell in our front yard, but it did so quiet nicely. I still had cell service. I could still access the outside world. Slowly, slowly, as the days dragged by, my attitude went downhill.

We lost cell service. Repair trucks were nowhere to be found. I was tired of eating barbequed food and take-out.  My “” was turning to a whiney mess.

I reached my limit on Thursday. I turned off of RT 133 onto Obtuse South to see a caravan of trucks — clearly repair trucks — heading away from our neighborhood. The kids were cheering, assuming the trucks has finished restoring our power and were moving on. I told them not to get their hopes up, though I was secretly hopeful. When we arrived on our street I moaned out loud at the unmistakeable sound of our neighbor’s generators.

Twenty minutes later, I had the car packed. An hour later, at my mother’s house, I heard that we were finally scheduled to get power back. .

Rage. Rage. More Rage.

See, I’m a spoiled brat. I didn’t want to hear CL&P’s excuses. They weren’t prepared this time. Come to think of it, . I wanted them to shut up and get a move on.

Maybe they heard my screams all the way from New York. That night, I was informed by a good neighbor via Facebook and simultaneously that power had returned to our little spot of heaven.

Joy has returned. It is so easy to have a good attitude when you have internet access and running water. Still, the trials of this week have taught me a few things.

  • I cannot cook pancakes on a camping stove. Brewing coffee is as far as I go.
  • I cannot wield a chainsaw and I don’t look cute trying.
  • Carrying water from the brook in the back yard to the bathroom to flush the toilet (it requires three trips per flush) is man’s work. It may sound sexist. I don’t care. Sure, I can do it. I don’t want to do it. Chop the wood, guys. Carry the water. Kill the bugs. Change the oil in my car while you’re at it, please.
  • I typically pretend to not like routines of any kind. I actually love them. I can’t wait to get back to my normal routine. 

I have not been fully enlightened by this experience. I haven’t reached a state of clarity over which is worse during a blackout — the stench from the refrigerator or the bathroom. I still feel a bit of rage when I think of CL&P. I have yet to make peace with myself over the junk food consumed out of necessity. And I cannot figure out why it looks like Irene hit the inside of my house.

At least I can genuinely smile now, late into the night, with sufficient light to see myself clearly. Taking away my power may have brought me to tears, but I am so very thankful to have it back.

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