It happened yesterday around 11:30 in the morning.
I had just returned home from another adventure at Wal-mart—I swear, the store is like stepping into an entirely different world. Suddenly half the people you pass look as though they’re about to keel over and the other half have stepped right out of a page from peopleofwalmart.com. I passed by a woman in a leopard print jacket and pants (!) sniffing a bag of grapes. She had her nose in the bag and was inhaling. I wanted to ask her what she was doing but, well, she was sniffing grapes and I was worried that she might hurl the bag at me. So I just quickly walked away.
Anyhow, so I get home, put all the stuff that I bought away (mmm, cookie cake) and then there was a pop and....
It was absolutely silent.
It took me a few seconds to register the fact that our power had gone out.
I sent a text message to my friend Amanda asking if her power had gone out. But no, hers was on. So then I started to panic that it was just our house. Did I push a wrong button? Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown the remote across the room. I decided to ask the neighbor if her power was out.
“Huh?” she said.
“Your power. Is it out?” I answered.
She scrunched up her nose thoughtfully. “Huh,” she said again and then flipped a light switch. Nothing happened. “I guess not.”
So it wasn’t just my house. I felt a little bit better but still slightly annoyed. Why was the power out? Didn’t the military know that I was eager to watch the latest episode of Inside Edition? It’s like People magazine except the TV version.
An hour went by. My lips were hurting because I had to keep blowing bubbles for Natalie. How can she be so enthused over a bunch of bubbles? Didn’t she want to play with something else?
“How about we color?” I suggested hopefully. Please. For the love of God please no more bubbles…
“I want bubbles,” Natalie said and stuck the bubble wand at my face. A trail of soap trickled down my cheek.
“I have to make a phone call,” I said, jumping up and rushing into the kitchen. I had to get away from those bubbles. For a brief second I contemplated taking the No Spill bubble bucket and hiding it in my car. (“I don’t know what happened to your bubbles,” I pictured myself saying to Natalie, arms out in mock confusion.)
I dialed the number for housing maintenance. Since I live on base it’s the number I have to call if I have any issues with the house. At that moment I had a big issue. My power was out and I was pissed.
“Yes, hi, how long is the power supposed to be out for?” I asked this politely even though I wanted to say, “Is the power going to be up so I can watch the newest Bachelor tonight?” I swear, I’m not an avid fan of the show. I just like the drama. And making fun of Jake, who seems to be a bit of a drama whore (“do I have to give out two roses?”)
“It should be up in an hour or so,” I was told.
I hung up and when I turned around, Natalie stood there holding the bubble wand out.
“For you,” she said.
I’m going to have nightmares about giant bubbles chasing me, I just know it.
As we sat on the floor blowing more bubbles, I could hear the rumble of a truck outside. For a second my heart lifted—MAIL, I HAVE MAIL!—I had thought it was the UPS truck you see. But then I remembered that I hadn’t ordered a thing. I peeked out the window and saw three fire trucks. I thought, hey, maybe they came to fix the power!
A few minutes later, a fireman knocked on my door.
And he was an attractive fireman too. I immediately felt ridiculous standing there with my wild hair and my sweatpants with my sweatshirt that says, “CRANKY” across the front under Oscar the Grouch’s face. I wanted to hold up a finger and say, “Could you hold on for a sec?” And then I’d shut the door, brush my hair, throw on a shirt that didn’t depict children’s characters, and swipe on some makeup. But obviously I couldn’t do that.
“Yes?” I said, surreptitiously trying to neaten up my hair. Why does it have to be so thick and unruly? Why? The only time it likes me is when I put expensive cream in it and I’m sorry, that’s not always going to happen.
“Your neighbor’s carbon monoxide alarm went off and as a precaution, we want to check your house to see if everything is okay,” the fireman that I named Charlie, after my favorite character on Lost, said. He was standing there in full fireman gear too. “Are you feeling okay?” he asked, and at first I thought he asked me that because I was just staring at him. But then I realized he wanted to make sure I didn’t have carbon monoxide poisoning.
“I’m great,” I said, opening the door to let him in.
The fireman fixed his eyes on the carbon monoxide alarm that I had pulled out of the plug. It had started to go off and I assumed it was because the power had gone out. (In my defense, our upstairs not plugged in carbon monoxide alarm had not gone off.)
“Did you do that?” he said sternly.
I was tempted to say, “My daughter did that! Shame on her!” But I couldn’t do that. Especially when Natalie was standing right there. She has a mouth on her and I imagined she would have said, “I DID NOT! MOMMY LIES!” So I went, “Err…yes….it wouldn’t shut up. I mean, it wouldn’t stop beeping. And I assumed it was because the power went off....” (I didn’t tell him that I had contemplated kicking it across the room if it wouldn’t have shut up..)
The fireman did not look happy.
“You can spank me if you want,” I added. I’m kidding. I didn’t say that. But in my mind the words, “You can spank me with your hose if you want,” filtered through my brain. I mean, how inappropriate is that? His hose can be taken in so many different ways and I could have been slapped with a sexual harassment suit. (“I was just making sure this poor housewife wasn’t poisoned by carbon monoxide and she told me to spank her with my hose,” I could see the fireman tattle in a courtroom.)
“I’m sorry,” I said meekly.
“Next time, you call us, even if you do think it’s because of the power. It probably is because of the power but you need to be safe,” he lectured.
“Yes,” I said, nodding. I almost added “sir,” to the end.
Then there was another knock on my door. Two more attractive firemen stood there.
Good gracious, was it my birthday or what?
“We’ve come to help sweep your house,” one said. When he smiled I could see a row of sparkling white teeth. I named him Dan.
“Come in,” I said, opening the door.
They carried equipment and started going through the house. When they walked in the laundry room I remembered that I had UNDERWEAR in a basket in there. It was clean but still. I practically sat on top of the basket when they came in. I pretended it was a perfectly acceptable chair.
“Are we okay?” I wondered, because they had gotten silent as they stared at their machines.
It turns out we were.
“You guys wouldn’t happen to know when the power will be back on, would you?” I asked before they left.
“I heard 1245,” the one named Charlie answered.
I checked my cell phone. “It’s already past one.”
He snored. “Typical Air Force.”
And then they left.
Typical Air Force indeed.
What I found amusing is throughout all of this, Tom kept sleeping. He works the night shift so he sleeps during the day. You would have thought that he would have heard the male voices but no. So this means I can have John Krasinski over and he wouldn’t even know. Sweet. (Kidding, Tom.)
When he finally did wake up, it was going on 4 and the power still wasn’t up.
“What’s happening?” he asked, blinking. He frowned at the blank TV.
“The power is out,” I explained.
He scratched the side of his head and spun around. “Why?”
“I decided to try out a life without electricity. Newsflash, it sucks,” I said sarcastically.
Tom doesn’t get sarcasm when he firsts wakes up so he was all, “I’m confused.”
He understood it all ten minutes later.
When he left for work a half hour later, the power was still out.
I couldn’t cook in the dark (YAY) so I took the kids to Olive Garden. It was my first time going to a restaurant without Tom. But guess what? My kids were fantastic. They sat and the only mishap was when Natalie dropped a delicious breadstick on the floor (“we must be kind to the breadsticks, Natalie, they’re like little sticks of Heaven..”)
When we got home, the power was still out.
I was seething.
And then, right when I was about to send a text to Amanda over how the Air Force could kiss my pale ass, the power came back on.
“Let there be LIGHT!” I shrieked and did a happy dance in my living room. “I had a fantastic daydream about all you lights...and you were there, and you....” I said, speaking to the sources of light in the living room.
“Mommy, why are you hugging the lamp?” Tommy asked.
Oh. I hadn’t realized that I was.
I just got carried away, I guess.
This just proves that I could never go without electricity.
Beautiful, beautiful electricity.
The Amish don’t know what they’re missing, really.