Let There Be Light

First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript November 7, 2014

I’m not a fan of home systems. Living here in the Tri-Towns where so many of us are on septic and wells makes me antsy. I don’t like being in charge of whether or not my toilet flushes or my water runs. My husband, on the other hand, likes that it makes us more ‘self-sufficient’.

“Self sufficient how?” I always ask. “Like if we have to survive while zombies eat each other on the BTA trails, at least we’ll be able to flush our toilets?”

But he likes these things, so much so that he wanted to add a new system to the mix: a generator.

“In case the power goes out and I’m out of town,” my husband explained.

Oh no! What would I do if a storm came and my husband was out of town!? I’m so glad you asked. Cue the October storm of a few years ago; we lost power for two days. Yes, it was annoying, cold and unpleasant. Yes, we ate at McDonalds three mornings in a row. But look at that . . . here I am!

But what about a blizzard? Snow plus a power outage!? Also something I have tucked away in my pocket of experience. When a blizzard hits, lights or not, you will find me immediately outside roof raking.

Did generators carry 50 foot rakes? Was that in the fine print?

But my husband was determined. It would make him feel better if there was a storm and he wasn’t around. I said a day at the spa would make me feel better if there was a storm and he wasn’t around because, after roof raking, my neck and shoulders would be sore regardless of our power situation.
But after meeting with a generator guy who explained that the unit would keep us warm and well-lit, and superpower our fridge to figure out dinner, I gave in.

I may have imagined the dinner part.

We scheduled them to come that Friday. And that Wednesday the late-October nor’easter that the weather stations of Boston preferred not to forecast with any thought for reality, blew in like a bomb.
You guessed it, our power went out. You may also have deduced that my husband was out of town for the evening.

Losing the power at night (when the temps are not arctic) isn’t a big deal, you are supposed to be sleeping after all. But losing power when megatons of lightening and thunder are exploding by your house with gale force winds blowing rain under your door and into your roof vents is a different kind of deal.

Our youngest daughter felt compelled to discuss the loss of power with great frequency while I stomped around the dark house with towels and a giant Tropical Blue Hibiscus candle because I couldn’t find the flashlight, (or, because I liked to smell nice in the middle of weather gone wild, you decide).

“So what will happen if the power comes back on and I’m asleep?” She asked nervously.
“Well, you’ll be asleep won’t you?” I said.
A bolt of lightening illuminated us on the staircase while wind blew our heavy outdoor furniture across the patio creating a low metallic dragging noise.
“What’s that? It sounds like a dinosaur!” she said, alarmed.
I couldn’t help but think if the power was on, there’d be a fan running in her room and she wouldn’t hear the dinosaurs in the night.

Why was the house shaking? Thunder? Wind? Were the zombies rising up in the meadow? If I had power I could turn on the outside flood lights . . . zombies always ran from flood lights.

“I don’t like when the power goes off,” my daughter sighed.

I inhaled some tropical fumes and nodded. I didn’t like it much either. The generator would come in two days – – I don’t need one – – but as winter looms, I think I’ll be glad to have one.