Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weather Or Not?

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.

I waited.

And waited.

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
Photo Credit: © Orlando Florin Rosu - Fotolia.com


  1. good story - I'm surprised you didn't wake him up when you realized you had to go outside in the middle of the night.
    So you are not a camper - too bad because getting out in wild open spaces can be so refreshing. Honestly, a cabin is required for me, now. The tent days are back in my past.
    We lose power too often for living in the burbs. We have plenty of flashlights and candles. That's another question - no candles to go along with that bath?
    well reading the post tells me that your power is back which is good.

  2. Great, wifely maneuver with the cold feet and all! All hail the icy feet!

    We haven't been too bad up here in Redding. Lots and lots and lots of rain...with more coming our way and yours. But it has been a couple of weeks since we lost power. We were without it from about 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

  3. Those men, when they go to sleep, lord love a duck...what a night for you. our weather ladies told us two nights ago we would see no sun for ten days, the sun shone yesterday, it may be thawing today....very up and down, so I have decided whatever happens I will put up with it.I don't like when the power goes out, one thing I have lots of candles in the house....take care, good post.

  4. Oh my!! What a day and night you have had! And yes it is amazing how they can sleep through anything. Pisses me off, I will tell you. I have had similar happen to me too! Oblivious!! I think I would have planted more than cold feet on his backside. LOL!! He got off easy. Bet he was shocked when you told him all you went through. I hate when the power goes off! And I too hate to camp! My idea of roughing it is Marriott Inn!! With room service!!!

  5. This is the best story ever. Well done.

  6. Sorry for your trouble, but I sure enjoyed reading this!
    I would have woken hubby when I had to answer the door in the middle of the night!

  7. I'd say you are a very good wife. I'd have done more than the icicle toes.

  8. love the story jj! the weather...cold and icy...out of school for 2 weeks now due to weather. i could use some spring...

  9. hahaha, sorry I´m not laughing at you, but this is too funny. I can just "see" it. You write so well.
    Sounds like something that would happen to me.
    Hope you have warmed up by now!

  10. When we lose things like heat and light we realise just how much we rely on them and to me there isn't much worse than being cold in my own home.

    You're very sweet - I'd have woken up my husband!

  11. Oh my gosh, Joanna! What a series of events! And your recounting of it all is so well done, I was right there with you, except, you know, for the cold and wet and stumbling around in the dark at 1 a.m. part. *apologetic grin*

  12. Oh I just loved your tale, I think your readers will enjoy it more than you. I have also used the old cold toe trick, but not at the moment we are boiling hot here!!

  13. Classic.
    This was too funny, Joanne.

  14. Why do men sleep so well? I don't know. I don't camp either, unless that campground has a sign out front that says "Radisson". Not being able to take a hot bath...bleh.

  15. Very well told, Joanna. You had has feeling like we we creeping down those basement stairs with you. It sounds like beloved owes you more than just warm feet.

  16. he better never be alone if a fire ever started! loved the ice foot tap!! :-)

  17. Oh, that's a good one. So much misery, but at least you got to wake up DH with your icicle toes!

    Might I suggest a large investment in candles?

  18. hmm try living after an earthquake.. the 1994 one was a doozy... no water, heat, electricity for 8 hrs.. damage to home... it did bring us close w/the neighbors... hope next time u have earthquake lights that go on when the power goes off.. we do... they stay plugged in the wall and when the power goes out, they come on.... having a few camping items is always best along w/staples and water.... that's how we Cali folks prepare....
    glad u r ok.... u were smart to find a low lit restaurant...:-)

  19. What a day (and night)!! Hope you treated yourself to a massage or spa treatment or something after that!

  20. Oh Joanna, I burst out laughing when you greeted the alarm man and the cold feet on your love! You are such a hoot and ray of sunshine. Thank you!!

    PS I was thinking of you after seeing the news. I hope you are not in the midst of all the mud.

  21. Such a fun story now that you can look back on it!
    I can sympathize - hard hard winter in Iowa this year. Laughter is all we've got left.

  22. Our furnace conked yout the night before last, and it was 50 degrees in the house by the time a repairman arrived. My back was beginning to ache from the cold. There was a time when it wouldn't have bothered me, but thanks to aging, my bones don't have a sense of humor about the cold.

  23. Oh, what a fun story, but a nightmare while you're actually experiencing it!

    Glad everything is back to normal, although I suggest turning the heating up a NOTCH!

    Keep cozy. The weather here is thigh-deep snow with more falling. Sun glittering on said snow like diamonds... All in all, pretty magical!

  24. You have SUFFERED! I'm glad you found humor in it--but as if it couldn't get worse, right?

  25. Wow, that sucks!

    We've actually had such mild weather for Utah. I am loving it.

  26. I love the description of you using the flashlight to open the door to the security guy and him jumping back! Too funny. Isn't it nice how our husbands have warm legs and backs for us to warm our cold toes on!!
    I used my Amazon gift certificate to order a walking exercise tape and a book. They are on the way here! Hugs for that!

  27. We are snow covered but woohoo and praise the Lord, we have power. Due to the dreaded Ozarks ice storms we lose power up to a week to ten days at a time when the temps are zero! Have I ever said, I do not like winter? Heeeheehe! I'm so glad you survived and lived to laugh about it. Great read girl!

    Have just a super blessed day!!!

  28. I loved your story. By the way how did you know I wear the same outfit that you do, i.e., 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. Except my sweatshirt has Eskimo Joe's on it. That is my everyday outfit.
    Glad everything turned out ok.

  29. So, you had a nice brush with Murphy's Law... I could see this very scenario happening to Clark Griswold as you were telling this story! :)

    And, I am right there with you about a husband that could sleep through the Apocalypse...

  30. The only thing that could have made that worse would have been
    1. Being arrested in your own house
    2. Watching your deck and pool go sliding down the hill
    Poor girl.
    (I love pie & coffee, mmmmm)

  31. Oh but no - I wouldn't have waken Greg up in a heartbeat!!! Your blog post had me scared just thinking about it. I can't stand a dark house. My mind starts dreaming up all sorts of nightmares!!

  32. We've been dealing with the same weather and outages in Northern CA, too. I totally would've woken up my husband to deal with the security stuff. Of course, he probably wouldn't have gotten up...

  33. I think I'd have woken up hubby and told him to go out with the big burley stranger down those cold dark stairs filled with spiders. Well, that's what I thought having a husband was for - to do all those things a woman could do but finds good excuses not to when there is a man around who could do it instead. Am I being sexist. Yes, but ... I'm on your side Joanna.

  34. That story is too much, Joanna!! Honestly, it sounds a bit too much like my own husband...sleeping through the events that happen at night. I swear you and I are in trouble should an actual burglar ever cross our paths. We'd have to fend for ourselves. :)

    Oh, I am definitely a west coast wimp too. It is the middle of the afternoon here and I have my heater cranked because it is about 50 degrees outside.

  35. hilarious!! So nice of you not to wake the hubster - nicer than me!

  36. Totally LOVED this post. It made me laugh.
    Visions of you, standing in your doorway with the torchlight shining up on your face.. no doubt made you look demonic to that poor guy!
    And spiders in your basement.. ikkk.
    And your cold feet.. on ya husband... PERFECT ENDING.

    BIG, ROMATIC CANDLES AROUND THE BATH would have been nice. Go buy some!

  37. Great story JJ. I also use my freezing cold toes as weapons. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

  38. You spin a great yarn, JJ! I'm not a fan of cold and damp either. It doesn't go well with my bones or my demeanor.

    The weather in my neck of the wood is....there is no road once again. It's an unbroken, crisp clean white for as far as the eye can see. Oy.

  39. Is it sadistic that you made me chuckle reading that story?! And what a welcome chuckle that was believe me :)
    And if you want a glow in the dark torch I think you need to ask Ben Stiller - his character invented one in Night at the Museum 2! Just thought I'd give you a heads up!

  40. ALways love your stories and the way you can spin the negative into something funny and good :-)

    But right now, hey, I'd take 57 degrees! I start riding my mountain bike when it's above 50 here in Michigan, and 57 degrees in February would have us all out in the streets in our T-shirts! :-)

  41. sounds awful!!

    it's rainy (big surprise) and 50-ish here. So, not too bad.

  42. What an adventure! You must be exhausted. Glad it all worked out in the end.

  43. What a great story! Thank you - I needed a laugh right now. Your beloved sounds a lot like mine - conveniently sleeping through everything! I think you were very gracious by only putting your freezing feet on him and letting him go back to sleep!

  44. What a great story! Thank you - I needed a laugh right now. Your beloved sounds a lot like mine - conveniently sleeping through everything! I think you were very gracious by only putting your freezing feet on him and letting him go back to sleep!

  45. Holy smokes, Joanna, this is epic! Glad it's over. So, I'm just going to throw this out there. I could be totally wrong. But I'm going to say your hubby might have been somewhat aware of the sitch and just decided that there was nothing getting him out of bed. Just a guess. :)



  46. I would have been really leery of opening that door. And I would have for sure woken Beloved up to go to the room with the spiders. I hope it comes back on soon.

  47. Thank God my husband is a light sleeper. I would have slept through the whole thing. You must be an angel to have gone outside with a strange man by yourself at night with out waking up your husband!!

  48. That sounds like one fun night! It's almost the exact opposite of what happened here when during the big east coast blackout of 2003. Instead of being cold, we were miserably hot. Temps were in the 90's with high humidity. We thought about going for a ride in the SUV just to cool off in the air, but of course we were low on gas and the gas stations were closed because they had no power. We listened to the news on the radio and they kept telling us to use the bare minimum amount of electricity once power was restored to prevent a rebound blackout.

    When we finally got our power back in the middle of the night some 50+ hours later, I practically ran to the thermostat and kicked on the air. Everything in the refrigerator was already spoiled, so I unplugged that as a trade off. Seemed logical to me!

  49. Isn't it pathetic how helpless we are without electricity? My place is totally electric, so when the power goes out, nothing works. So much for self-sufficiency!

  50. HOW darn funny!!! I can just picture you dressed as you described! You'd make a good Yooper woman!!! Amazing that Beloved slept through the whole thing! Hopefully he would wake up in case of a REAL emergency...you've got to learn to scream like hell! Or at least louder than your alarm system "talks"!

  51. HOW darn funny!!! I can just picture you dressed as you described! You'd make a good Yooper woman!!! Amazing that Beloved slept through the whole thing! Hopefully he would wake up in case of a REAL emergency...you've got to learn to scream like hell! Or at least louder than your alarm system "talks"!

  52. LMAO Great post!! Thanks, I needed a laugh...

  53. I realize this was a traumatic experience for you and I probably shouldn't allow myself to be indulging in hearty gales of laughter but I just couldn't help it. You wrote it up so beautiful, in great descriptive detail, it was as though I was there with you. I'm glad I wasn't however. I wouldn't have been so kind as to have allowed hubby to sleep for even a minute. Or to forget it the next day.

  54. Aaaaah-ha-ha-ha! Can't believe you LET him sleep through it. I might have pulled out the fireplace poker and given him a few jabs. :)

    What a night for you!

  55. Oh my goodness. This is too funny for words : ) I love to wake up Gary with my cold feet. He does not love it as much as I do : )


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