Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Night The Lights Went Out

This weekend I was in California. I love and hate my trips to California. There is more to do than can be done, and I'm generally left feeling bad because I haven't seen several people that I wanted to. This was definitely one of those weekends.

It was my 10 year high school reunion. Tickets were too expensive, and I didn't attend. But I did have lunch with a group of old friends and caught up. Two of them went to the reunion to fill the rest of us in. I've seen the pictures. And while I know that male pattern balness isn't a funny thing, there's something satisfying about realizing that you're aging well, while that cute guy from way back when is losing his hair.

Anyway, yesterday was the inevitable come home day. The flight was lovely. I love coming home from the Orange County Airport. In fact, if I never have to fly out of LAX again, that would be fine with me. We ended up with bulkhead seating which was great, since I keep getting bigger and have trouble fitting in the seats! It was a smooth flight home, with just a little chopiness upon landing due to the thunder storms. I really needed that since I'd watched The Flight That Fought Back the night before on The Discovery Channel and was not at all ready for any drama!

Dominic met us as we were headed toward baggage claim. We got home in record time and got the kids ready for bed. Everyone was happily settled and I was just checking my e-mail when everything went dark. At first the lights were just dim, though we lost the computer and telephones. It was a little annoying. But I am the candle queen (I used to be a Partylite consultant) and so we lit a few and checked the fuses. That didn't help anything. The emergency lights were lit in the halls of the building, so we knew everyone was affected.

Then Piper started to cry from her room. There was no more light shining from the living room for her, and there was thunder and lightening, and she was sobbing for me. We brought her into our bed, and Dominic decided to sleep in hers. Then one of the smoke detectors started chirping. Me, being bright, decided to see if they had batteries, and twisted one off. They don't. They're wired into the emergency power, so they'll always work. At least that's what it looked like. So, the one just chirped. Dominic tried to twist the one I'd taken down back on. He'd just gotten it, and for good measure, pressed the test button. It started making this terrible wail. And wouldn't stop! I covered it with a cloth diaper and secured it with a rubber band, but it didn't help much. Dominic finally figured out that we could throw the breaker to it in the fuse box and shut the darned thing up. Still, there was a lot of running around in the dark with a candle, stepping on things, and some less than civil language shared with inanimate objects which kept jumping in front of us on purpose! Eventually we had to just laugh, and try to sleep. So, I slept all night with no a/c. No fan. No light of any kind. A three year old who talks in her sleeps and kicks. And the chirping of the other smoke detector. It was not my best night.

This morning the power came back. Luckily just before I had to fix breakfast. I never realized just how much in our apartment depends on our having electricity! I can't so much as boil water in this place without it. Anyway, I threw the breaker back to see if I could figure out how to stop the smoke detector, and it made a horrible noise for about 5 seconds and then stopped. Thank heaven!

Losing our electricity just for a few hours made me appreciate how much we have, and how sometimes, our lives are a bit like a scene from an old sitcom.

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