Friday, September 9, 2011

Blackout Notes

Southern California experienced an unprecedented and unexpected 12-hour blackout on Thursday and it seems everyone's talking about what they learned.  For example, we learned blackouts can be fun if they're not associated with hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or terrorist attacks.  Our fun was tempered by the knowledge that Grandma was in the ICU in a hospital running on a generator, and the awareness that there were likely many elderly people alone in the dark and late summer heat.  There are more than enough reasons right now to appreciate first responders as well as the medical personnel who stayed at work long past their shifts were over to help our loved ones.

The blackout was over soon enough for most danger to be averted, but lasted long enough for folks to come out of their homes and bond with neighbors over resources, barbecues, bright shiny stars, and the eerie sense of calm and quiet in the absence of electrical hum.

It helps to be a camping family, we learned.  We have a propane stove and several LED lanterns, as well as flashlights in various stages of battery readiness.  Funny how the brain works; husband and I were so preoccupied with battery, lantern, and flashlight inventory that it was a good thirty minutes before I remembered hey, we have candles all over this house.  Duh.

I figured we'd better grill the chicken in the freezer, which was still frozen solid with no microwave or hot water to assist with defrosting.  In retrospect we were probably better off eating leftovers from the fridge.

I noticed folks outside in their cars, reading, listening to the radio...and here's where I will admit it would have taken me a long time to figure out I could charge my phone in the car.

Kids are only slightly less enlightened than adults in a blackout, thinking of plugged-in activities and then recalling that they're out of the question.  My favorite moment was when Little Sis excitedly announced, "I know!  It's super dark; let's play with Lite Brite!"

We ended our evening in the girls' room, huddled under the bunk bed reading Harry Potter by lantern light.  Power returned around three o'clock in the morning, but much to the dismay of Big Sis, schools remained closed.  The high schoolers I work with?  Not so sad about that.

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