On Losing Power & Losing It

When the power goes out, I lose my shit. And as a Washington Post journalist once joked, if a squirrel drops a nut, the power goes out in Montgomery County. Look, I’ve even started anti-Pepco Facebook pages, submitted written testimony to public hearings on Pepco’s inadequacies, written and called my Maryland state legislators about Pepco and attended neighborhood meetings with our legislators to discuss solely…you got it….Pepco. So in honor of what misery so many people are living in right now, I bring you a post of mine from July 2010 when our power went out. And noteworthy, days after our power came back on (you know, after I’d dropped $300 on replenishing groceries, it went out AGAIN for another 4 days. Do you remember those consecutive summer storms? Can anyone ever forget it).

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This is what I look like the second my power goes out

I went back in time and didn’t find love, happiness or world peace. I found the dark ages and it made me crazy. You got it, one week ago Sunday our power went out.

There I was happily napping on our sofa when I was rudely awoken by a loud BOOM. And then dead silence. I jolted up…being the only thing left in our house with enough energy to jolt….and stared at my husband. He remained calm.

I, however, immediately turned into a raving lunatic. I cannot STAND IT when our power goes out. I cannot stand it for even 5 minutes. Let alone when it’s 110 degrees outside. As does anyone who has the unfortunate experience of losing power more often than they’d like, I have our power company’s worthless outage line on speed dial and immediately began calling them. Their first estimate was 9pm.

It was 2pm.

I tried to calm myself. Lick my wounds. Assess how I could survive the next few hours in the scorching heat. I calculated how much longer I thought the kids would sleep, assessed where we could go eat dinner, then we could play til closer to night fall, put them to bed and boom – it would be 9pm.   But seriously – night fall? It’s 2010. Who the hell even considers night fall any more? Who are those people who like power outages and sit around candle light and sing Koombayah, I wondered, because I hated them.  Are they for real?

I could survive this, I told myself, as I continued to pace like a dog foaming at the mouth, and frantically unraveled the lanterns I scored from Target in the event of a power outage.

Oh yes I did, in case you are wondering. I really did drop like $100 on lanterns for serious campers (of which I am not, unless you consider renting large homes in the woods with several fire places and a hot tub on the deck, camping. Which I do, for the record).  But see- as my dad says – the 6Ps: Prior planning prevents piss poor performance. I planned (having survived much of the summer of 2005 without power and being like 7 months pregnant, I am still recovering from that) and purchased my lanterns before Memorial Day but, as it turns out, I forgot the lanterns need batteries (again, not a camper). And guess what – of course we didn’t have the proper batteries in the house. My husband mocked me as I yelled at him about how he is the battery keeper and why doesn’t he have a proper stash in the event of national emergencies of epic proportions. Such as this one.

I continued to pace. And foam at the mouth.

Then guess what. The storm happened. Yep – our power went out an hour before the freaking storm even rolled through.  As it turned out, it ended up being one of the worst thunderstorms in the history of the area, complete with like 90mph winds and of Pepco’s 778,000 customers, 300,00o lost power.

But see, I don’t care so much about the other 299,999 customers without power when I don’t have power.  I care a lot more about those people when I have power and air conditioning and can listen to the news and feel sorry for them, comfortably, in my cool house with lights on. It’s a dog eat dog world and I like electricity. A lot. Maybe more than  my husband. And almost as much as my kids.

So, as the wind was whipping and the rain was coming down in sheets and the lightning and thunder wear roaring, and I was wondering if we were going to land in Oz, I actually asked my husband if he thought Pepco was deploying a crew in this weather – could they be out working on power lines in this storm – I demanded to know? BECAUSE I NEED POWER.  Was it really TOO dangerous to be up on a ladder on a power line?

He ignored me.

Then, as any raving, power loving lunatic would do, I called Pepco again. After the storm. And they said it would be AUGUST SECOND before the power came back on. This was like July 25th.

So what is a gal to do?

But immediately start throwing tank tops, shorts, diapers and baby tylenol into bags and just leave. I left town. Like one friend said, what asshole sits around without AC?

We’ve established that I cannot handle it.

And so four more days passed and our power came back on Wednesday afternoon. This was not how my week was supposed to have played out but I found a silver lining.

As it turns out, friends, when your power goes out for 4 days in oppressive heat – you have to throw out everything in your fridge and freezer. And because I was on the lam with my kids, my husband was the only one left here to not only toss all the contents but clean it out.

AH HA! Maybe losing power isn’t all bad because that, friends, that is a job that I avoid at all costs. I’m pretty sure I had a head start on DD1’s first science fair project in 2018 growing in my fridge. God only knows what was found inside my freezer.

And so, we returned home yesterday. I opened the fridge to see this:

Is that not a beautiful sight? Especially because I didn’t have to do it?

I then headed off to the grocery store, dropped $300, and my fridge and freezer look paltry and like we are all on a serious, calorie conscious diet. It seems to me that when I receive my next Pepco bill, what should I do but enclose my grocery bills until my fridge is stacked, as a form of payment.

Reasonable, right?

Later this week, I’ll post another piece about when our power went out in the winter – something I used to wonder -which is worse – power outages in summer or winter? My conclusion then was this: me and my then 2-year-old had a common enemy, that common enemy was Pepco. For electric fun and frolic, “Like” Wired Momma on Facebook.

One Response to On Losing Power & Losing It
  1. suburbancorrespondent
    July 3, 2012 | 2:38 am

    All around us the power has been out – but we were the lucky ones this time. I’m thinking it is because I actually had camping lanterns with batteries in them, ready to go…

    I get way too cranky without AC. I don’t know how you are managing.

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