Thursday, April 10, 2008


Scratch what I said the other day about my future as a pioneer woman. Not gonna happen, obviously. When I pulled into my driveway tonight, my garage door opener wouldn't work. I thought maybe the clicker had died (which would be no great surprise, given that the Scotch tape holding it together may actually be older than I am). I got out of my car, unlocked the side door, and pressed the opener button inside. Still no luck. At this point, it occurred to me not that my ancient garage door opener was broken, but that my power might be out. I plugged in the work light above the table at which I do no work. No light. Yep, no power.

At this point, my thoughts went as follows:

  1. Crap. I have to leave my car outside, tonight, of all nights? Tonight, when it's already rainy and blustery and unpleasant and when the "wintry mix" in the air is sure to turn into solid ice on my windshield, which I'll have to get up early to scrape, if I can even get out of my driveway anyway after the six inches of spring snow the weather people are predicting? I have a garage for a reason, and I'd like my car in it, thank you!

  2. Crap. No power means no TV! And The Office is finally new again tonight! Nooooooooooooooo!!!

  3. Crap. I just went grocery shopping yesterday. (Yes. Again. Eating healthy is expensive, dammit.) I wonder how long that chicken will be safe in my fridge.

And then I got inside and remembered something else that's rather important relies on electricity as well. My furnace. It may be "spring" (ha), but it was 56 degrees in my house. Brr.

I called the power company to report the outage. While I waited for the automated voice named Amy to confirm she had entered my complaint, I thought about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I considered that I might have to spend an entire lonely evening with no TV, no Internet, no furnace or microwave. I wondered "What would Half Pint do?" I was quietly resigning myself to a night reading by candles or flashlight, telling myself stories to pass the time, and going to bed at a reasonable hour for once, for lack of anything better to do. And then Automated Amy came back to inform me that my power would be back by 7:20. The one analog clock in my house said it was currently 6:15. I would have to live in a simpler age of no electrical conveniences for a mere hour and five minutes. And all I would miss was 20 minutes of My Name is Earl.

Five minutes later, just as I was pulling on a polar fleece and digging up a pair of gloves appropriately thin enough for indoor wear, my microwave started blinking its "Power Failure" light and my refrigerator started whirring again.

Five minutes. How did they even do that? Is there a little red "Reset" switch for my address on a wall in an Xcel Energy building somewhere? Is there an emergency team of electric company superheros who were able to whisk themselves to the power lines behind my house at a moment's notice? I do not know, but I do know that my car is safety stored out of the elements, I can still eat the chicken in my fridge likely without acquiring a bout of food poisoning, and I was able to see Michael and Jan's disastrous dinner party in real-time. And for all of those, I am rather grateful.

The simple life is overrated, I say.


nancypearlwannabe said...

It's like you participated in Earth Hour, without even meaning to! Good job, Stef. You are helping to save the environment AND you get to watch The Office.

3carnations said...

Thank goodness you got to watch The Office. Babe. Heh.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Laura would have been proud of you for persevering those 5 minutes!

Mair said...

"What would Half Pint do?" is now my new absolute favorite thing. Let's get bracelets with the initials of it on them!

-R- said...

Did you watch 30 Rock too? I didn't think it was as good as it usually is. But The Office was awesome, and now H wants us to throw a dinner party and stage a fake fight.

I hope your house warmed up quickly!

Courtney said...

A life without The Office is not a life worth living, I say. I bet Half Pint would agree with me, had she gotten to experience TV.

Noelle said...

Sometimes the agrarian dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm glad your power came back on, and that you won't be purchasing a covered wagon anytime soon.

Pam said...

I second what 3carnations said.


Aaron said...

Screw the pioneers is all I have to say.

L Sass said...

Ha! My dad used to try to convince me that his farm childhood in the 50s/60s was JUST LIKE Laura Ingalls Wilder. I didn't buy that crap for a second, though!