The recent power outages are inconvenient, no question, but watching neighbors yelling at liberated dogs roaming free with no fear of electric fences is enough to lighten the burden, at least temporarily.
The challenge of creating the strong cup of coffee with no grinder or coffee pot was not funny, more like cruel joke. We all know the importance of that first cup of steaming energy. We can temporarily manage no power, no Internet, limited cooking ability and tree limbs the size of mid-size automobiles in the yard. But no Mr. Coffee? That’s unacceptable!
Each morning, I boiled water outside on a single gas burner on the patio grill. The $2 French press purchased at a tag sale on Hill Street in Suffield became my closest confidant. Watching water boil feels like an eternity and so I'd stand there looking like a grungy Seattle bag lady. UGG boots, flannel sweats, a mangled old sweater and my daughter’s wool hat have become the daily fashion of choice.
In the beginning, managing with no power was like a badge of honor, bragging rights to ones less capable of handling such undesirable conditions. There were nights of candlelight dinners with neighbors, varieties of food sizzling on the grill from freezers and refrigerators slumbering with defrosting food.
The following mornings didn’t appear as romantic and exciting as the previous evenings. When sunlight appeared, our house resembled the aftermath of a raging frat party. Bullets of wax stuck to floors from long burning candles. Sticky counters, crusty food, empty beer and wine bottles littered the house. The inside temperature was cold, smelling of fireplace ash and taco seasoning. Although the cleanup required a bit of creativity, the time spent with friends was worth the inconvenience, at least for a little while.
Our generator proved to be as temperamental as my AT&T cell service, unreliable and unsympathetic in a pinch. Adding insult to injury was the constant humming of a distant generator. It was a constant reminder their Italian roast was brewed indoors while mine was brewed outdoors in warm boots and a fuzzy hat.
Showering was like the never-ending game of hopscotch. We bounced around from the emergency shelter at Suffield High School to friends with restored power. My husband managed to successfully convince our teenage boys it’s “cool to go Euro” by going days with no shower.
With each passing day, what we normally consider inappropriate doesn’t necessarily seem so. Permission was subliminally granted for a beer in the afternoon or consuming white wine at room temperature. The dog was allowed to sleep on the couch and beds remained unmade. Mail sat unread and dead flower arrangements stood in murky water.
Keeping up appearances as a bag lady, focusing on her French press coffee maker, was a bigger priority.