Saturday, 8 November 2014

The blackout of 2014

Yesterday's blackout threatened to break my spirit. Nine hours without power in 41 degree heat is just stupid face. Our town is known for its crap electricity supply, terribly patchy internet and lack of shops and general amenities and we have suffered 12 to 15 hour blackouts in the past, some of them even in the heat, but yesterday was something else. It was bake you in an oven HOT, the internet was on and off and I hit the "I hate it here, get me OUT!" stage.

I realised around hour four that if the world were to have a major catastrophe and everything fell into apocalyptic anarchy, I'd be one of the first to die and Willow would be right beside me.

We have rainwater connected to the kitchen. When you turn on the tap an electric pump pushes that delicious water through the pipes and up and out of the tap. When we have no power this process can't happen. Willow turned the tap - nothing.

"Mum! The tap's broken."
"Yep, no power."
Tears well in her eyes, her little face buckles under the weight of her worried brows and she says, "But I'm thirsty! I can't survive without water! What will we do?"
I point to the massive rainwater tank out the window. "Um, the tank has a tap."
She sags in relief. I really need to educate these kids on some basic survival skills.

We had a cheese platter for tea, it was easy and didn't require me dealing with gas canisters and messing about in the heat. I thought that was a pretty good meal, we even had kabana and metwurst, but the kids thought this was just a delightful entree and wondered when the "real tea" was coming. It upset them greatly that this was in fact, real tea.

I think the lowest point was when Andre offered ice creams knowing that it wasn't going to last the blackout. It had already hit the frothy stage, well beyond what should have been fit for consumption, but the kids ate it, a sad little look in their eyes.

At some point I was reminded of this.

Well thanks for those sage words, Albus Dumbledore. There was no freakin light! Melted ice cream, no cold drinks, sweat in places I didn't even know I could sweat. There was no light! There was no light!

But we did have light. In our camp box. We dug out the torches and lanterns and the kids went mad running around the house for a really long time. Like a really long time. I'd done my parenting for the day, they were now crossing over from the Mum clock to Arlene time. And I hadn't had caffeine since 9am. And I wasn't able to do my Nanowrimo word count for the day. AND the house looked like we were survivors of a break in, shit strewn everywhere. With all the patience I could muster I tried to calm everyone down and sit quietly.

Finally by the blue glow of the LED camp lanterns, the kids dozed off and we were left in peace. The whole town was still. I was exhausted. I climbed into bed, the window wide open to capture the cool change that was just starting to pass, I closed my eyes, then -  the ceiling fan started to spin, the sound of the fridge rumbled and my phone charged on the dock and blasted the house with music.

With a smile I rolled over and muttered, "Thank fuck."