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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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Powerless

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Two days after the big storm, we woke up without power. My husband had an early morning meeting and left the house at the crack of dawn. Naturally, his morning wake-up call never rang through, my cell phone just so happened to be dead, and my alarm did not go off. Ten minutes to 7, the light from the skylight slowly filtered into the room. While my eyes adjusted to the brightness, a vague uneasiness set in. It was too bright.

I flung the blankets back, ran downstairs and checked the wall clock. Thank the Lord for good ol' fashioned wall clocks. I couldn't read the time. No lights. I ran upstairs, grabbed my laptop and shined my screen at the wall: 6:52. I needed to shower, wake three children, dress three children, feed three children, pack one lunch and one snack, get their outdoor gear on, and head out the door in 38 minutes. Oh, and I had to throw myself in a burlap sack.

Before I woke the natives, I had to dress them. It's a little known fact, but you can actually dress your children in their sleep. If teaching doesn't work out, I think I could be a speed dresser on Broadway. You know when there's a scene change, and Scarlet has to slip into something a little more comfortable? I'm no Scarlett O'Hara, but I could be Scarlett O's speed dresser. I wager that I could outfit anybody in one minute flat (head to toe) as long as they remain lifeless. It's one of my hidden talents.

Five minutes later, three bodies are dressed and awake. We stumble into the kitchen, where I put my oldest on breakfast duty. She sounds like a cranky short-order cook with only one menu option, 'OK, you guys, you're having cereal. Who wants milk?' While they take turns saying how spooky it is to wake up on Halloween 'with no powah,' I go in search of 'hot watah.' I can smell my husband's body wash. I feel his wet towel. Hot water touched his skin this morning. Surely, there must be some left in the tank.

I guess water pumps run off electricity or something, because all I got was a drip. A cold drip. Luckily, my mother-in-law bought enough bottled water for the family to live through a drought and a hurricane, so we had some bottled water set aside for emergencies such as this. I doused the girls' hair in Poland Springs and Frizz-Ease a lovely combination of cleanliness and beauty product. Fortunately, Jack had a Bieber bed-head style going, so I didn't mess with perfection. T minus 15 minutes 'til go time, and I still hadn't dressed myself or taken care of the cat.

Of all the times for our petit chat to have a UTI, she had to pick this week. Dearest gets a dose of antibiotics in a syringe, some kitty cat Prozac in a pill pocket and a scoop of diet food to maintain her girlish figure every morning. It took two minutes just to coax her out from under the bed and another three to wrestle her jaws open. Five minutes later, I contemplated taking the kitty cat Prozac myself but decided against it.

During the mayhem, Addie packed her lunch, Jack talked about how scary our house looked, and Meg pretended to brush her hair. As a true Mainah, I decided to honor my roots. If I couldn't survive one day without a shower, then I'm a disgrace to this outdoor, take a dip in the lake and call yourself clean state. Poland Springs it is. After my one minute spa, I reached into the bowels of my closet and grabbed whatever my hands found first. No one goes for matchy-matchy outfits anymore, anyway. I found jeans, a fleece and a cotton T (all breathable fabrics sure to combat potential b.o.).

As we headed into town with one minute to spare, I decided to pull into the gas station for some hot coffee. My hair looked dreadful, the kids' outfits were an interesting medley of stripes, print and plaid, and more than one set of eyes turned in our disheveled direction. Grabbing a box of donuts for the road, I felt like we had hacked our way out of the wilderness with our bare hands. Here we were in our natural state, and it felt great. What would life be like without our modern day conveniences? Could we go green? Maybe we could make our own solar panels, use rechargeable batteries and never depend on the whims of Mother Nature again.

Oops. Same problem.

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