Living Life Ohio Parenting

Day Six, No Power, No End in Sight

I spent the morning on the porch, enjoying the cool breeze as I chugged the coffee I brewed while briefly plugged into the generator; you have to drink it quickly, while it’s still warm, as the power was switched back to the fridge. The breeze cooled me after a night of hot sleep — our room never cooling down after temperatures were in the high 90’s yesterday. I finished reading a book, weeping into my coffee cup.

I looked at the sky and sighed. More storms coming, no doubt adding on to the time until we get power back.


I called my husband, working at the fire station today — lucky man with air conditioning and Internet access. He confirmed storms were on the way and asked me to turn off the generator, tarp it up. I stubbed my toe walking in the door. I cried hot tears of frustration and exhaustion as I jumped around, too tired to even come up with obscenities.

I am at my limit.

We sent the boys to stay with my parents, finding no need for them to endure the extreme temperatures, the frustration oozing from their parents pores. They are happy splashing in the pool, eating more than just the peanut butter and bread that we have left, making more memories with their beloved Papau and YiaYia. I am jealous of my children.

Yesterday was the 4th of July — and the two of us sweaty parents did not get to celebrate it with our little boys. I didn’t get to see them in the shirts I carefully picked out for them this year: three jets crossing one another with red, white and blue trails. I didn’t get to eat good food with them or splash them in the pool. I didn’t get to watch their eyes fill with wonder as they watched the fireworks. As I watched the fireworks in our city, alone with my husband, I felt childlike awe and wonder mixed with sadness; I missed my boys. I had big plans this year, as my husband was off on Independence Day, to make crafts (yes, me) and decorate and make good things to eat and celebrate in style. None of it happened. A holiday lost in a way, gained in another. Surely we won’t forget this one, that’s for certain.

What Our 4th Looked Like
What our 4th Looked Like

I have, thus far, chosen to stay in Ohio, with my husband and the house. While I could very easily head to my parents’ home north of Pittsburgh, I stay. I feel lead to stay because I don’t like the idea of abandoning my husband, leaving him to shoulder the burden of caring for the house and the generator and the birds our gallon of milk all by his lonesome. We are a team. We are a hot, sweaty, frustrated, exhausted, confused team. We’ve also had some good moments together over the past few days in the not-exactly-quiet, as the hum of generators has increased — more and more families in our neighborhood finding and plunking down the money to keep a fan, a fridge, a light running. As the hot, stifling air sat on our sweaty skin yesterday, we smiled at one another and said, “I love you, even if you’re sweaty.” What else can we do? Nothing. Well, except read books. I’ve gone through two.

Every time we drive through town, sometimes with no destination in mind but solely to enjoy some air conditioning and phone charging, I want to hug every power company lineman I see. Today I saw a crew from Alabama; Alabama is my new favorite state. I am sure these hard-working linemen are as hot and as frustrated as we are, though I am curious as to how many AEP executives already have power back in their homes. The country road leading out of our neighborhood has power; I may go move in with the deputy who just built a new deck.

Someday the electricity will come back on and I will do laundry, clean up the clutter that has overtaken the house since we got home from vacation to this mess. At some point in time this summer, we will choose to go without electricity and hang out in a tent — though that keeps getting put off as this power outage is eating away at our summer, making us rearrange plans and dreams of relaxation. When it comes back on and my children are home and everyone is safe, I will breathe. Slowly.

Until then, I wait. I look to the skies and I wait. What else is there to do?


Note: All iPhone photos. My DSLR battery is dead and I don’t want to waste generator power to charge it.


When the Power Is Out, We Rock

I haven’t finished posting our #instacation instagram collages. I haven’t downloaded, backed up originals, edited, saved and uploaded photos from the DSLR and the waterproof camera. I haven’t done post-vacation laundry. I haven’t done much of anything.

On Friday evening, a tornado touched down in our small city and did a swath of damage from the edge of our neighborhood through a little historic area — and cut our power. Big time. We’re slated for restoration on June 8. AEP apparently hates our little city, ranking us as far less important than bigger cities like Columbus.

So we’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. I’m cranky about it. We lost all of our food by the time we got home from vacation — even though we left early. We’re the type of family who keeps a lot in the fridge, a lot in both freezers. All gone. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars of food. I felt sick to my stomach as we tossed everything. Horrified by the waste. I try to keep perspective, that the neighbors at the end of our street had all of their windows blown out. That the church where I practiced with my singing group is completely leveled. That we’re safe, that being sweaty is far better than being injured.

But it’s hard.

We don’t even rely on technology much during the summer months. The boys still only get their hour of screen (TV, computer, games, etc) time in the morning or afternoon — their choice for which time slot. The rest is spent coloring or reading or playing outside or going somewhere and doing something. I work different hours in the summer so I can be involved in all of that. But to suddenly be without anything is hard. I’m not one of those moms who whips out the crafts when the electricity goes out. I don’t whip out crafts on a normal day, let alone one that leaves me dripping with sweat. I will say we’ve read — a lot — in the past few days since we returned home from vacation. That’s good, I suppose. And there’s always the sprinkler.

But it’s still hard.

This morning was a hard one. We turn our generator off at night, so I put the milk — the ONLY thing we have in any freezer or fridge right now — in the freezer as it stays colder longer. I forgot to remove the cap to allow for expansion. It busted. I ruined the ONLY thing we have right now. I was not happy with myself or the heat of the day already by seven this morning. I wanted more than a fan. I wanted a hot shower. I wanted coffee to stay warmer than the time we brew it by unplugging the fridge from the generator. I wanted to stop being drenched in sweat. I wanted my life back.

Want in one hand…

I was sitting in the rocking chair feeling sorry for myself when LittleBrother woke up and wandered out in nothing but his underoos. It’s hot and we’re all trying to sleep as comfortably as possible. He mumbled a little “morning” at me and then proceeded to crawl into my lap. He curled up as best as his thin, lanky, four-year-old self could do and rested his head on my shoulder.

And we rocked.

The cool of his soft skin stuck to the sweat of my never-cool skin. I rubbed his back and remembered the hours we spent in this same rocking chair, back at the old house, rocking and shushing and nursing and sleeping and waking and crying and rinsing and repeating.

Blue Paisley Nursing

I marveled at how he has grown. The only sounds I could hear were a generator humming in the hot morning air somewhere off in the distance and the sounds of his still sleepy breath — in and out, quiet and content in my arms. I breathed in his scent — not the same as a small baby, but smelling now of sunshine and childhood and… him.

I let go of the grumpy and fell full body into the quiet moment afforded me by the lack of power. Had it been a normal morning, I would have already been in my office, two hours into my work day and four cups of coffee into not-remotely-relaxed. Our morning would have been rushed and there would have been no time for cuddles and rocking.

I may want my electricity back — my air conditioning, my hot shower, my fridge full of the good food my family eats — but I’m thankful for that still small moment in which my big boy let me hold him like he was my little boy.

How you take a pale boy to the beach. #instacation