"Good morning! How are you? Do you have power at your house?"
This was the standard greeting this morning at church. We were greeted with it countless times and we greeted others with it. Now, it is true that we go to a rather wildly charismatic church, where it is assumed that there is power in the house. We don't usually have to ask.
Today, however, was about a different kind of power. The kind supplied by Edison. You see, last Wednesday, we had a wind storm with near hurricane winds. I've read several reports that clocked it anywhere from 40-60 miles per hour in Los Angeles and up to 97 in the San Gabriel mountains.
We went to bed Wednesday with it being a bit windy out, better get the clothes off the line. And woke up at 1AM to the wind knocking so loudly at the windows that it actually scared me. (Yes, I'm a grown woman who is afraid of storms.) Our house is big and old and drafty and the curtains actually were blowing inside the house, I kid you not. I have never seen wind like that in Southern California.
We woke up Thursday morning to the neighbor's roof in our front yard. Unfortunately, it hit her car. If she has a Twitter feed, I'm sure she hashtagged that #unlucky.
We also woke up to no electricity. I honestly didn't realize at first how wide spread the damage was until I started talking to neighbors. Over 300,000 homes without power. I called the power company only to be told that they had no estimated time for getting the power back on. That day the wind kicked up again and we lost the phone line, too.
We like camping, right?
We got out the candles, the lanterns, and camp stove. Instant coffee, anyone? Gana used the generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer on, but could not light up the whole house with it. And our stove and heating is electric.
The first day we read a lot of books and did some crafts. The kids found the whole thing deliciously fun--like a great adventure, like living in an old story. In the evening, we lit the candles and I read Lord of the Rings to the kids. It got dark about 4:30. So, I read for about two hours before I said, "Y'all need to go to bed. I just can't read anymore."
We tucked all the kids in bed on the living room floor. Like a camp out, right?
Day two, the novelty was wearing off a bit. I heard a little bit of whining about wanting to watch television or stay up past 7pm. So, I read to the kids Paul's delightful account in 2 Corinthians 11 about being shipwrecked, spending a day and night in the ocean, being beaten 5 times with a whip--40 lashes minus one, being stoned, being in prison, etc. I told them that we shouldn't boast too much in our sufferings. Paul might have a chuckle at our expense when we get to heaven.
Day three, my instant coffee had lost its charm. The bit of whining had turned into full-fledged praying for electricity.
In the meantime, the temperature in the house had dropped to the 50's and we were getting the sniffles.
Day four, at 4:40AM I awoke with a start! The light was on! The alarm clock was flashing that beautiful 12:00. Quick! Get up! Turn on the heat. Plug in the refrigerator. Gana and I held in our glee and went back to sleep. At about 7AM one of the kids discovered the power was back on. Such jubilation. Such dancing around. Such running to Mom and Dad's bed, jumping on the bed and squealing like it was already Christmas morning.
Who wants a hot breakfast? Mommy does! Baked oatmeal. Bacon. Brewed coffee. Delight, I tell ya. Delight.
Went to church and everyone was talking about the storm and finding out who was still without power. So many were still without electricity as downed power lines, downed trees, and exploded power boxes slowed Edison down. Still tonight about 40,000 homes are without electricity.
All in all, it wasn't SO bad. I'm sure I complained more than it was really worth. So, I had a few days off from full-fledged cooking and laundry. So what?! In the big scheme of things, it wasn't that bad. Which I can say easily now because I've just enjoyed a nice dinner with the family watching a Christmas movie.
I really should be grateful for those little things. Like not camping.