I was originally going to title this, Hell Weekend, but it not only sounded like a cheesy slasher movie, it wasn't completely awful.
What a weekend!
I think I mentioned before that The Oracle is a statistician for college and professional basketball. After he helped me get the kids on the bus, he took our car Friday morning to work a conference tournament on the other side of the river. The first day of the tournament was a four-game stretch with the semi-finals scheduled for Saturday and the final on Sunday.
The four-game day is a brutal one with games scheduled in rapid succession, something like noon, 2:00, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m. Each men's game lasts a bit over two and a quarter hours. Four basketball games in one day is a lot and requires an overnight stay. Fortunately, his friend/boss has a home in the area and invited The Oracle to stay the night. Rather than be away from the kids for two nights, he decided to return after the two games on Saturday and drive back Sunday morning for the final.
This area of the country endured a horrid nor'easter weekend of nonstop rain and high winds that brought a fair amount of flooding and shredded several trees. It's been damp, cold, and miserable for three days.
Anticipating the Oracle's return Saturday night, I was making a vat of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I'm dropping the meatballs into the gravy at 4:30 when -pop!- our electricity went out. I waited a minute or two hoping the transformer would reset itself and power would return. No dice. I turn off the stove and order from a restaurant that delivers.
The skies are overcast and darkening. Most power outtages in my area last a few seconds to an hour or so, but when the lights don't come back on, I start enlisting the older kids' help to pick up the toys from the floor so we're not tripping on them in the dark later. I'm busily gathering candles and lamps to light the way when night really falls.
Dinner arrives and we eat by candlelight, and we have a good time. We feast on fat helpings of ice cream for dessert since I suspect the ice cream isn't long for this world.
I'm impressed with my kids' sudden ability to find things to do that don't require a television or computer, something of which they seemed incapable until Saturday night. Any "normal" weekday, Mighty B. is hounding me incessantly for permission to play with the Wii or his Webkins, and when his time ration is burned, he mopes about with "nothing to do" and getting into trouble. Precious Daughter has a roomful of toys, but once she tires of reading she'll stare at the never-ending repeats of Phineas and Ferb until her eyes fall out if I let her.
At our Christmas-in-February gathering (long story), my parents gave each of the older kids these awesome night-vision goggles. While I wasn't crazy about another hunk of Chinese-made plastic, I have to admit that the sheer coolness of the goggles trumped their country of origin, and I highly recommend them. They work surprisingly well, and I found myself borrowing them for numerous trips to the basement to find our propane lantern and my grandmother's oil lamp. When it got really dark, the kids were playing hide-and-seek with them in the back of the house where I lit no candles. Chessie hangs out back there, and she thinks candle flames are interesting toys.
(My stepmom found them on QVC which is where the link above leads, and QVC is selling them for ten bucks cheaper than Toys R Us. If you read the QVC reviews, you'll see that some customers reported goggles with defects. QVC's return/exchange policy is awesome, which is another reason to buy them there if you do.)
We're on the end of our electricity grid. We later discovered that we are one of fourteen houses on our street without power. The neighbor to my right has lights and heat, and the houses across the street do too. The cause of our outage is a downed tree behind one of the fourteen.
The Oracle returns home despite my recommendation not to and feasts on cereal for dinner. The kids are up rattling around until 10:3o or so. We eventually extinguish our candles for the night save one in the bathroom, and tuck the kids in with their flashlights nearby.
By morning, we're still without power and the house is getting chilly. The Oracle has to drive to Sunday's game which means we'd be stuck in a cold house all day with no food and no car, and at this point we know we're without power for the long haul, so we quickly shower (turning off the water between soap and rinse), feed the critters, and tag along with the Oracle to the basketball game.
We're not even sure if we can get tickets, but there's enough around the arena to keep us occupied for two-and-a-half hours.
A solid hour of that time was spent just trying to get lunch.
(To be continued...)