It was a relaxing and easy Saturday until I got the brainstorm to take a power walk with Beloved Husband around 4pm. After a couple of days with massive amounts of rainfall, I had cabin fever and thought the break in the clouds would be a nice chance for us to get some fresh air and a little exercise.
We started off well enough, schlepping up and down hills that define our neighborhood, as we worked up a good sweat. The sun was out and shades of blue sky peaked from behind big, white, billowy clouds.... Until it changed-- In an instant-- To a very dark sky with heavy rain drops big enough to drench us before we made our way the last seven blocks to our house.
By the time we got inside, Beloved and I were freezing. At the chance of sounding like a West Coast wimp, soaking wet and 57 degrees outside is cold for this old girl.
Since the house thermostat was set at 60 degrees, the only way to warm up fast was a hot bath. Great idea until the power went out just as I was about to step into the tub.
I don't know about you, but our bathroom has only a small window with minimal natural light so it was pretty dark for a bath. I was hoping it was a momentary outage, because afterall, it wasn't "storming" anymore and the worst of the rains were a few days ago.
So I pulled on sweatpants and a cozy sweater in an attempt to warm up and waited for the power to come back on.
And waited, and there was nothing cozy about it.
After 45 minutes, Beloved pulled out the flashlights while I called the power company who, via recorded message, told us the power would probably be out until sometime Sunday.
So there we were, cold, sweaty and looking a mess, in the dark. Oh yeah, and it was nearly dinner time. So by flashlight, we tried to pull ourselves together and drove to a local joint of a restaurant that we knew had dark lighting so as not to scare the waiters.
Yes, the restaurant was just around the corner from us had power. Turns out in our pocket of the neighborhood, only two blocks were blacked out, including ours. How special.
Beloved and I ate as slowly as we could but how long does it take to eat a bowl of soup. We naively thought we might get lucky and the power would somehow be back on, so we headed home after 90 minutes. Wrong.
By now it was complete darkness in the house and frankly a little spooky. So we headed out again to get coffee at our favorite deli. Since we'd already eaten dinner, we thought we'd hang out at the counter and read the newspaper. Mind you, we'd already been to the deli that day for breakfast so the staff was a little surprised to see us again-- especially with our sweaty, rained on look.
Three hours worth of coffee and a piece of lemon meringue pie the size of my head later, we drove back home for a long, cold night.
There is a reason I never enjoyed camping, roughing it, or anything less than ideal sleeping conditions, but I toughed it out and didn't complain.... much. I pulled on some leggings, a long-sleeved cotton turtleneck shirt, sweatpants (that just happened to be neon orange and easy to see in the dark) a UCLA sweatshirt and toe socks in all the colors of the rainbow. Add that to the wild sweaty/rained-on hair and let me tell you, I was a vision.
Because there was no electricity, we did not turn on our security alarm that night. We knew it has a back-up battery but we decided not to test it's powers. Since the electric company's trucks were actually parked at the end of our driveway, with massive lights on generators, working on the repairs, it pretty much lit up the outside of our house so we felt safe.
What we didn't know was that the alarm automatically turned to the back-up battery when the power goes out. But as the battery started to fade, it also started "talking to us" in the middle of the night--letting us know that the battery was running low.
Yes, the alarm system "speaks" or rather "barks" words at us. It didn't dawn on us that even though the alarm was technically "off" the battery had in fact kicked in so the security company could still keep track of our property.
Anyway, at about 1am, in the middle of a deep sleep, I heard the alarm barking loudly "YOUR BATTERY IS LOW!" After I shook out the cobwebs from my exhausted and very cold brain, it was clear I needed to take action otherwise the "voice" wasn't going to shut-up.
If that wasn't enough, there was also banging on our front door.
As I fumbled around for the flashlight's on switch (They should make them glow in the dark!) I finally made my way to the front door-- And no one was there.
I headed to the kitchen to get my cell phone, to call the security company, to get the talking alarm to stop, because by now the talking also included a very loud and annoying high pitched beep that could wake the dead-- But, apparently, not my husband.
As I was talking to the security operator on the phone, the door banging started again, so flashlight in hand, I made my way to the front door.
Did you know you can't see squat through a peep hole in the dead of night?
The operator told me it was their "armed response guy"-- Translation-- A big guy with a gun, and that it was okay to open the door.
That gave me pause.
I stayed on the phone with the alarm company, rigged the flashlight in the crook of my arm shining up on my face and opened the door with my other hand. Judging by the guard's reaction, I looked worse than I thought. He jumped back about 3 feet when he saw me.
When he caught his breath, he explained we had to go to the "main alarm box" for the security system, and that my friends, is in our basement-- The basement you get to from an exterior door-- Which meant I had to go outside-- In the dark and cold-- Down a bunch of stairs-- Into the basement-- And then into the furnace room-- Where spiders live.
Did I mention Beloved was still sound asleep and oblivious to any of this?
Anyway, after about five long, cold minutes, security guard and I figured out how to turn the alarm completely off, locked things back up, dusted off the cobwebs, headed back outside, trudged up the stairs, into the house and then I sent the security guy on his way.
Finally, I returned to the bedroom-- to a snoring and very soundly sleeping husband. I then did what any loving, freezing cold wife would do... I took off my toe socks and planted my ice cube feet on his.... At which point he woke up and asked what was wrong.
"Nothing honey, go back to sleep."
How's the weather in your neighborhood?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins