LAUGHLINES: Power to the People – Please!

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This past weekend, the power went out (again) at our house, which meant firing up the generator and firing up everyone’s tempers.

It’s hard to be in a good mood when you’re restricted to one room with heat, and have to share said room with one husband (who alternated between surly and horny, don’t ask me why), two teenagers (they were just surly) and three dogs (they put on the most positive front during our ordeal, by the way).

The power went out thanks to a freak Halloween weekend snowstorm. You may have read about it. Mass black-outs, trick-or-treating cancelled, emergency shelters all over the place. Our little town got about a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow, and about 20 minutes after the first flake hit, bam. The lights blinked once, twice, and out they went – and out Matt went, headed to our gas-powered generator at the back of the house.

The generator started to hum, and that meant we could flush toilets and watch DVDs  thanks to a very long extension cord running from the outside to the back of the flat panel. Some outlets worked, some didn’t, and the heat only worked in the den. There was no hot water, but mercifully, the oven didn’t work (not that I really cared). Matt also made sure the garage beer fridge was on Circuit #1.

Yes, that generator is a great idea, but since we last used it, it’s a lot closer to the house, which anyone can tell you is a bad idea. How bad? Carbon monoxide can seep into the house fairly easily, and it wasn’t long before we started to hear a strange female voice emanating from the basement, repeating the phrase “Carbon monoxide – -warning” over and over again.

This chick sounded pretty calm, but I was freaked out. Thank goodness this detector had relatively fresh batteries (which I can never find for essential things, like the TV remote) and we knew the danger before putting the dogs in their basement crates for the night. Talk about the ‘big sleep.’

That meant the dogs stayed upstairs with us surly/horny humans, but after two days, the novelty of living and loving and sleeping together wore off. We were trapped with our two teens and they were trapped with their parents. Heck, choosing which DVD to watch eventually got pretty ugly, and I thought, if choosing a movie can set off World War III, heaven forbid we actually have to hunker down for, well, World War III.

Just as I thought we were doomed and had resigned myself to washing the dishes by hand in cold water, the lights came on. We were instantly a loving family again, and the dogs made a beeline for the basement.

Apparently, even they had had enough.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.