Coming home to an empty and dark house is unsettling at first, but I was glad the kids were with their dad tonight. It was crazy to stay on top of them about pouring water in the toilet so it would flush. It is hard enough to get them to flush when the toilets worked! So quiet, I didn’t realize how loud the appliances and normal “white noise” could be. I had already emptied the fridge the day before in preparation and gave the crab meat and shish kabobs to my mom. I dropped off the organic eggs, strawberries and cherries, and hummus to her as well. I realized how little food we actually had, but it was all good stuff. How spoiled we are now.
I thought about the older generations that were raised in very tough economies who had a tendency to stock pile their food, I think they called that the “scarcity” mentality. I could relate to that, having nights when dinner was a can of beans and canned salmon and I would put on my hoodie and tuck my sweatpants into my socks to stay warm because the heat was out. I wouldn’t trade those days for the world, they make me so grateful for even this moment, with no water and no AC. No one can take the strength that gives you. What a wonderful feeling to have family and friends offering you a place to crash, even with all three of the kids (Thank you Christine M. and John S.) but I would never do that to them, I know what my kids are capable of.
I went around and lit the candles. It’s 2015 and all I have are candles for light. I watched as all the pretty pillars and fancy tall candlesticks melted away. Where are the flashlights you ask? They have been dissected for their parts by my little engineers in training. Batteries removed for more exciting toys and replaced with little plastic building blocks and Shopkins.
Deep breath and slow exhale, the air felt stale. I opened the windows and could hear the neighbor’s mega ton generator humming and cycling. We will have been here for two years in August and we have gone through a couple of power outages at this point; we should probably look into a generator. After the wedding, after the summer camps, after the lawn clean up…after, after, after.
I keep walking though the house. Strolling over to the couch with my candle, hand protecting the flame and careful not to spill the wax, I stare at the empty room. The TV is dark, the tablet is dead, and I have to conserve my phone in case of an emergency, no sense in sitting in there. I walk past the sink, with dishes from two days ago. A greasy crock pot with coagulated oily water begs to be rinsed. I am starting to feel a little gross about it all. Thankfully I could take a shower at the hotel. I thought about timing showers in Puerto Rico to midday so the water that came from the water collecting barrels on the roof would be at its warmest. This is just one day, people live like this forever, suck it up buttercup.
As I am going to the bathroom and pouring bottled water down the toilet, I am sorry for all the water I have wasted, the showers I have let run while I put another load in the washer. The faucets I have let flow waiting for the hot water to come. I am grateful still. I change in the dimly lit room, light flickering on all the walls, not bothering to lower the shades. It wasn’t light enough to make it worth anyone’s time.
It was only 9:45pm. Usually at this time, we are still milling about, getting things ready for tomorrow. The kids would still be playing Minecraft and I am reading on my phone or tablet. I couldn’t hear the generator anymore; I have come to find solace in the dark and the quiet. Maybe it’s from meditation, maybe it’s the exhaustive running around we do day in and day out.
Finally lying down and my mind immediately went into prayer. It’s been doing that a lot lately. I feel like my grandmother has taken residence in my head and I can hear her going over the Our Father and the Hail Mary in Spanish, “Dios de salve Maria, llena eres de gracia…” I make the conscious thought to set the alarm on my phone, but it never happens. By 9:55pm, I am out cold.
How tired we all really are, how exhausted our poor bodies and minds are. It is so obvious when all the stimulation is gone, how fast our bodies succumb to exhaustion. That was the best nine hours of sleep I have had in months. Vic sent me a text this afternoon, we have power! A part of me was disappointed. Maybe he will play along with me and keep the lights off tonight…maybe.