In the afternoon of New Year's Eve, all is calm in the house. Mom and Dad are out shopping and returning heinous Christmas presents. Daniel is in the basement, playing Oblivion. Sean is downtown at Tech with his girlfriend. And Ryan and I are sitting, peaceably, in the living room watching the 4th season of The Office as I am knitting a scarf for my friend Mallory. All is calm. All is bright.
So of course you know some disturbance is coming.
Right as Michael Scott is threatening to throw himself off the roof of the building (onto a Moon Bounce castle) the lights flicker, the TV shuts off, and the refrigerator powers down.
The power is out. The afternoon is ruined.
A quick call to Mom confirms that the electric bill has been paid, and then Ryan and I sit and look at each other, the question "Now what?" hanging unspoken on the air.
Daniel comes rushing up the stairs out of the dark basement. A surprisingly delayed reaction considering he was plugged into the Matrix and was most likely engulfed in darkness almost instantly.
Now we are all sitting in the living room, sadly at a loss for what to do. Then survival mode takes over.
"Daniel!" I scream, as he jumps off the couch, "whatever you do, DO NOT open the fridge! I mean it! Not even for a second! Ryan, check if the phone is working."
Ryan goes to the phone, and picks it up. "I think the batteries are low. Or it's out. It was probably an EMP. Your cell phone won't work either," (my brother is suggesting that the power is out due to an electromagnetic pulse, which he believes can be weaponized and used to "wipe out an entire city's powers of communication"). I remind him that I called mom on my cell phone already, and he looks a bit mollified.
Dad gets home and we discover that the power outage is most likely due to a car crash on the road by our house. Ryan and Daniel actually played outside. With a ball. Together. I even took the dog for a walk (while also observing the power outage around the neighborhood. I felt a bit like a spy. Because I am a nerd).
When Einstein and I got back to the house, Mom was home and we started lighting candles in preparation for the sun going down and what was reported to be a 4 hour outage. Awesome. I convinced Daniel to take a shower while light was still coming in the windows (score!) and Ryan told Dad about his EMP theory.
A few days before this, we all painted pottery with my aunt Colleen. Three of our family's pieces (that's an even 50%) had Saints colors or a fleur de lis. Or both. Anyway, they had finally been fired and picked up and we admired our pieces in the thin sunlight still streaming through the kitchen windows.
Daniel came downstairs, freshly clean, and Mom tells him to unwrap the other pieces carefully, so that we can take a picture to send to Colleen. I went upstairs to retrieve my (awesome pineapple) bowl from my room, and on the way back downstairs, I hear many things. Allow me to paint a word picture of this scene:
Mom: Careful, Daniel, careful-Daniel: AHHHAHHGHHHH
Ryan: Daniel, WHAT? Ahhhahhhhh! Get it! AAHH!
Dad: WhAT! Daniel! NO DON'T TOUCH IT
[I am still coming down the stairs, faster now, and I see the dog chasing the cat out of the kitchen]
Mom: AH! OW Ow owowowow
Dad: Daniel! WHY did you do that?
Mom: I tried to warn him... OW, ooh, that was stupid.
[Daniel, distraught, flees upstairs in a fit]
I finally round the corner to see white fluff suspended in the air, falling slowly like fat snow. My first thought, as I see Dad at the open sliding glass door, is that the cat has attacked some snowy white bird and let it into the house, and now its downy feathers are decorating our kitchen.
The actual story is even better:
Daniel, being careful to handle the potter delicately, and being instructed to "save the tissue paper" that wraps them, had cautiously peeled the paper away from the ceramic box he was unwrapping, and placed the large piece of tissue paper on the kitchen table, right next to the candles we had just lit. My mother, seeing this happen, tried to warn him, but was unable to stop the paper from catching on fire. Wanting to save the table, and our house, from going up in flames, she grabbed the flaming paper and threw it on the floor. This movement made the flame more intense, and ashes (like white fluffy snow flurries) floated around the clouds of stress as my parents stomped out the flames. They then turned on Daniel, who blamed himself for almost killing the family and ran upstairs in tears.
So, the results from this day:
- Daniel cried for a little bit until we assured him it wasn't really his fault
- Mom burned her hand while saving the family (which she has shown me 47 times, because "you didn't believe me that I got burned but I did, look!")
- and the power was out for a whopping 65 minutes.
- Daniel took a shower
- Einstein took a walk
- Ryan and Daniel played a game that didn't need controllers
- the kitchen was swept (to clean up all the ash)
- Mom got a battle scar, and...
- I got another fun story to tell.
I think this one goes in the win column.