29 January 2009

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

Tuesday, we were iced in but had power.  Rachael and I got in some Mario Kart Wii on wi-fi with friends.  It didn't last long, I think mostly because our friends had already been playing for a while by the time we hooked up online.  Anyway, it was a regular snow day as far as I was concerned.  I went to bed and read more of Ronald Reagan's An American Life: The Autobiography until 1:30.  I was just starting to drift off to sleep when my brother called at two in the morning to ask if we still had power, because they had lost theirs.  I was up for another hour, talking to him and trying to get back to sleep.  Rachael got little sleep because ice was bringing down trees by this point, and each one spooked her.  She woke me around six to tell me we were without power.

To be honest, it's just as well that I was exhausted, because I was asleep until well into the early afternoon yesterday.  I got up and started going through old Disney Movie Club fliers.  We're way too poor to be ordering anything from them anytime soon, but I still decided to while away some time by making a list of all the titles they sell that remotely interested me.  The list included the last few Pixar films absent from our library (including Cars), some classic titles (such as The Sword in the Stone) and some live action films made by Disney subsidiaries (like O Brother, Where Art Thou?).  I even whimsically added The Great Mouse Detective because I remember seeing it in the theater as a kid and liking it.  It's not like I was actually ordering these things, you know.

Sometime around 3:00, I decided to try my battery powered CD boombox.  It only plays CD's when it's plugged in, but the radio will work with batteries.  I have no idea how old the batteries are that are in it, but I can't seem to recall having changed them since we were in the apartment in 2007.  Anyway, I was able to tune into AM 84 WHAS in time for a press conference with Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.  Based on the information they shared, I suspected we would not go an entire 24 hours without power, and I was right.

Food was the main issue, and my having Crohn's disease only complicated matters.  When you have no power, you have to be careful about eating foods that are no longer being kept cold and you obviously cannot heat items that ought to be served warm.  Most of the foods that can be kept--and eaten--at room temperature are not necessarily Crohn's friendly (such as chips).  My industrious wife was able to rig a caterer's set-up and heat up beef stew (which I couldn't eat because I couldn't see well enough to ensure I wouldn't swallow something I shouldn't).  My cousin and her step-mom, who live literally across the street, came over and brought still-cold lunch meat.  I had a roast beef & ham sandwich (okay, I had two of them).  Afterwards, we played some cards by candlelight.  A few hands later, and the last vestiges of daylight were long gone and candlelight simply wasn't enough to keep us playing.

I've gotten pretty good at reading by little light over the years, so we spent some time with the ever-popular Cinescopes book.  We determined my new aunt is an Enlightened Healer, my mom is a Dedicated Idealist (as is my wife), and my grandmother is a Passionate Maverick (like me); we had already determined days earlier that my cousin is an Invincible Optimist.  We even had to resort to pulling out Leonard Maltin's 2006 Movie and Home Video Guide to find the title of one of my grandmother's top ten movies.  Several of hers weren't given codes in the back of the Cinescopes book, so she substituted until we had ten with codes.  I wish they would release a supplement, maybe a .pdf file online or something, with an expanded list of 'scope codes.

By this point, it was nearing ten or so and my wife was exhausted.  We came downstairs and I turned on the radio again to find out what was going on, and what was expected in the coming days.  I was having a cupcake when I looked up and saw the green light of our TV antennae illuminate and, mouth half-full of cupcake, I shouted, "We have power!"  I then placed a phone call I'd been waiting all day to make.

Like most people, my friends and I quote from our favorite movies whenever the opportunity arises.  Our landline was operational all day, but we have a cordless phone that obviously doesn't work without power.  Referring to a film that will be 16 years of age this year, I dialled Matt and said to him when he answered,
"Mr. Hammond, the phones are working."