The other night we had some pretty high winds… I’m talking Clovis-style winds. Apparently it got up to 160 mph in Scotland (but we’re not in Scotland). Regardless, it knocked the power out for about 8 hours. When I got home from work, the four of us (Pam, the kids, and me) stood around staring blankly at one another for about an hour: what can we do without TV, computers, and internet? The lack of electricity paralyzed us into uselessness.
And then we started awakening from our technological trance.
Dinner still needed to be made, so I grabbed our camping headlamps (so I could see outside) and fired up the grill. The wind definitely made it a challenge to get the charcoal to catch. I came back inside as Pam was starting to light all the candles she had gathered. The kids saw my headlamp and pleaded with me to wear one too – these things will entertain them for hours. With the warm glow of the candles (and the aid of some headlamps), Pam got the kids involved in the closely-supervised cutting of the salad veggies.
With a Dutch Oven (of the cast-iron variety… not an event in the bedroom), you can almost prepare anything on the grill: from soup to pasta, in addition to the standard meat goodies. Dinner was by candlelight. I’ve never really noticed how much light output a few candles can produce until you have no electricity for a while. After we were done eating, the trance again tried to gain a foothold on us as we started to look at each other with a “what do we do now?” look.
Ultimately, we lit a fire in the fireplace, tried to teach Brenden how to play chess while Marissa tried on various outfits to give us a 4-year-old fashion show. Truthfully? Once we figured out how to pass the time, it was enjoyable to just be focused 100% on each other’s company rather than the “standard” sabotaged focus of 50% that modern innovations entail. It was almost like camping, but with a shelter that is impervious to the weather… almost. My worry was that the power would be absent throughout the night as well… it can be cold here in England!.. though it’s not that snow-Alaska cold, it’s more of a just-above-freezing/wet cold. The cat got the idea… had the power not come back on around 9pm, we would’ve been joining the cat with our camping sleeping bags in front of the fireplace.
Something I realized as we tried to overcome our “inconvenience”: it was really enjoyable hanging out with everybody with no iPads to look things up on the internet and no TV shows to enrapture our attention. I think we’ll make it a monthly tradition to cut the power for one night and get reacquainted with ourselves again.