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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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Powerless, again

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Powerless, again Powerless, again

I have 34 minutes of battery life on my laptop to write this story. I must be quick. I must be concise. I have been without power for 21 hours. 

My story begins on a Saturday night with my son's runny nose. I can bet money on the number of times Jack has gone to bed with the sniffles and woke up with a full-blown head cold. For most kids, this is no big deal. Average kids can weather 12 colds a year and keep on going. Jack has asthma and ill-formed eustachian tubes. Add these two unfortunate circumstances together, and you get a kid who makes a lot of mucous with no way to drain it from his ears. I blame the genetics from my husband's side of the family, but really, blame is of no use. One hundred or so ear infections later, the only thing that is of use is antibiotics, and lots of them. 

Sure enough, Sunday morning we woke up to two calamities: Jack's ear ache and an ice storm. Taken separately, each would be dealt with in kind. Obviously, his doctor isn't available on Sunday, but the E.R. is only a 15 minute drive. Enter the ice storm. With freezing rain, 10 downed trees in the driveway and treacherous road conditions, a little thing like getting the medicine becomes a big thing real quick.

My husband and daughters took turns whacking the birch branches in the driveway. If we could shake off some of the ice, maybe they would lift back up. Though I would really love to be idyllic and spew some Robert Frost poetry, I have no love for birches right now. How come they can't stand up like normal trees? Take ice like men, birches. None of this stuff about branches looking like girls drying their hair in the sun or glass from heaven on the ground. Just stand up, dammit.  

So that was a no go. The birch branches hovered over our driveway like mechanical arms at the car wash. During the mayhem of the overarching tree limbs, we lost power. More damn birches on the line somewhere. Always believing in the 'If you can't go over it, can't go around it, you have to go through it,' theory of things, I decided to drive the car under the canopy of limbs and go through them. 

I bundled Jack up, we went through the equivalent of an ice car wash and we kept going. We drove slow on the roads, zipped through the E.R., got the elixer fixer, and drove back down the driveway. Still no power, but it was cozy. The candles had the kids talking about the last power outage. The house was warm with wood heat and though everything was technically 'not working,' the scene was serene. We ate Fruit Loops by candlelight, Christmas cookies for desert and enjoyed some milk that was still cold. 

The mistake was going to bed early thinking the power would come back on in the night. Ten hours later, our delusions of electricity were dispelled. Not only had we not emptied the fridge or the freezer of their contents, we needed to keep Jack's medicine cold. We needed water to flush the toilets. We needed to clean out the spoiled food and find one transfer station in the state of Maine that is open on a Monday. 

Meanwhile, my parents are expecting us for the holidays, today. The last several loads of laundry that needed to get done before we depart didn't get done. The same with the dishes. As for packing by candlelight, I have no idea what the kids packed and neither do they, but I'm sure there's got to be one matching outfit for one of them somewhere in the mix. The cat needs prescription dry food so her UTI doesn't act up while we're gone (to the vet we go), and her litter needs to be cleaned (unless we leave those treats for Santa and his reindeer to discover). 

Four minutes of battery life left and frankly, who wants to hear any more? Forget it. Feel sorry for the kids who never get the medicine. Feel sorry for the people who will go without power and heat for much longer than 24 hours. Feel sorry for the families who have nowhere else to go and can't go stay with relatives with all the amenities. Feel sorry for somebody who is too busy surviving the ice storm to have time to type out a story about all the things they have to do survive it.

Forget this whine-bag.


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