Thursday, December 4, 2008



Helplessness, confusion, inadequacy.

The realization that you can do nothing to solve this problem. The knowledge that, even given a chance, you wouldn't know where to begin or what to do. It is out of your control and you are left destitute.

Sitting, overcome by darkness.

Grasping for any flicker of light. A small spark of hope. Anything to help you see your way through.

You call upon your very best attributes, searching for a trait that will make a difference, finally realizing that there is only one virtue that can get you through this. And it's one you fear you possess only in small quantities.

Patience. Powerlessness can be overcome only by patience*.

I think we've all felt this before. I know I did on Tuesday night when the electricity went out in our neighborhood for about an hour. What would we do without POWER!?!
*unless you're the guy fixing the electrical lines, that is.
Well, what I did without power was search in the dark EVERYWHERE for the dang matches which are always where they weren't that night. After groping in the dark for over 5 minutes (completely messing up my cupboards) David says, "Hey!! Let's open the fridge!" I give a big laugh of relief and say, "DUH!! Perfect!!" as that scene from Wait Until Dark flashes through my mind. He starts to open the door, but even before we experience the lack of light it releases, all of us say, "Oh yeah." And we all start laughing.

After creeping slowly around the house for 15 minutes we found matches and lit the candles. We sat in the living room enjoying the candle light. When we realized that this was going to be a pretty long black-out, Evie starts doing her homework by candle-light. She comes to me for help with a story problem. I twist and turn my brain and can NOT figure out how to solve it. I say, "Gosh Ev, I have NO IDEA how to do this!" She says, "I know. My teacher from math knows how to do it." Which causes me to laugh hysterically for some reason. Really? Your teacher can do it? (This also made me realize that she's never heard anyone say "math teacher" so she just translated literally from Polish. Her teacher from math. Funny.)

I tell the children of days gone by. How,like in the books I love most to read, they spent every evening by candle light. How they would "call on" each other. They played cards and listened to each other play and sing music. They conversed. And all in lighting similar to that which we were sitting in. The kids were fascinated by this. After a while, though, David said, "I want to go to bed." It wasn't yet seven o'clock. About fifteen minutes earlier Aaron had come to me and kept saying, "Night night. Niiiiight night." It made us sleepy, that dim, warm light.

And soon thereafter the power came back on. Empowerment? I guess so, but we were sad to come to the end of our adventure.

The bright light hurt my eyes.

Electricity is boring.


Erin said...

flashlights, candles, batteries. They are never where they should be. Thanks for the reminder. At least the kids went to bed early!

Barbaloot said...

If I have family around when the power goes off-I'm okay. But if I'm alone...Yikes! It'd feel like Wait Until Dark in real life.

Annette Lyon said...

As inconvenient as those times are, they can be kind of fun, bonding times--provided they don't last too long!

Jillybean said...

When we were kids, we LOVED it when the power went out because our mom let us roast marshmallowa over the candles.

McEwens said...

You have such a wonderful witty way with words! Darkenss is only fun til it gets cold!

Great bonding time though!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Love this! It goes to show you how much the light in the TV and video games and lamps keeps people awake. Hmmmm, I guess I will have to stage a fake power outage or two here soon!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we play blackout on purpose, just so we can eat by candlelight and practice using our 24 hr. kit. The girls love cooking by Sterno, but our fire alarm doesn't!

Kazzy said...

emPOWERment? Love it! It is so weird how I always feel a sense of guilt when I go without something like that and then am happy when I get it back. I guess we need to acknowledge that we are products of our time. We know what we know. And we know electricity and running water (at least many of us do in developed coutries).

Candlelight sounds comfy though...

Melanie J said...

I like the red!

Isn't it funny how a power outage can have you appreciating electricity like never before in five minutes flat?

I think that's why I try super hard to count my blessings. Because I don't want something to come along and make me realize how grateful I am because something's suddenly gone.

This is going to be my metaphor for the day. Thanks!

Lara said...

I love sitting by candlelight. There's something very relaxing about it. It does kind of transport you to a different time and help us realize how silly all our current stresses are. But, I am glad that the blackout didn't last TOO long.

Anne said...

David is so smart! Love the fridge comment!

Me plus 3 Hecks said...

I love black outs. Takes everything back to the simple life for awhile. And I'm always kinda sad when it's over. So long as I know for sure that sometime in the near future it will be over. Can't have my icecream melting!

Erin said...

How fun! I remember blackouts when I was a kid...they were always fun family times. And I love how Evie translated directly. I wish I would have taught my kids french from the time they were born.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Once in North Carolina, we had power lines out for about 3 days because of ice storms. We just lit our gas fireplace and dragged our mattress downstairs for a few days. It was kind of fun. Of course we didn't have kids then....

We all need a power outage every once in a while, as long as it's brief. :)

Alison Wonderland said...

I still love blackouts. But I've never had to go more than a couple hours without power. And I know just where the flshlights, candles, lamps and matches are.

JustRandi said...

I love power outages. I just want to be able to predict them so I know where the matches are. And maybe have a new puzzle ready or something. I'm so glad it was fun.

(And I was totally with you on opening the refrigerator door, too...)

charrette said...

LOVE the play on words! Great mysterious opener. Way to make the most of your power outage!

And I love the "teacher from math".... Math might as well be a foreign country!

Kimberly said...

LOVE that last line.

Of course, without electricity we can't blog. We'd have to use paper or something nutty like that.

dp said...

unHoly #$@%^!

18 + comments in an hour! I'm beginning to see the appeal of being a blogger, well a good one.

Well I was going to say...

My mother would tell me some tails similar to what you told your children when the lights would go out - but her stories weren't from books they were from her childhood in Whales, in ancient stone farm houses that had the "new wing" added in the 1700's. Of cold, cold stone floors and hearths. I don't know how much of their homes had power - but going to bed meant taking a light with you.
Mum is 80 now, and if I asked her would still tell me stories.


Heather of the EO said...

Great post, lady. I definitely could relate, having felt pretty powerless lately here and there. And you're right, a person needs to drum up some patience in those times. And a whole lot of faith.

I love that you guys thought of opening the fridge for light when there was no electricity. That is SO something I would do.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Hey there! Sounds like a fun black-out and you made the best of it. Can't remember the last time we had one, but it was a great adventure because we were all together. I'd probably freak out if I was by myself and can't find candles and matches.

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