What to Do When the Power Goes Out While It's 5° Outside

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Go outside to take a look at your neighbors' houses to determine whether the power outage is just in your home. Seeing that some neighbors do, in fact, have power, seek out your fuse box in the creepy basement, where you also discover the carcass of a massive & terrifying bug of unknown origins. Confirm that no fuses have blown & immediately abandon ship.

Check the neighborhood Facebook group, which indicates that everyone in your neighborhood who uses the same power company as you is, indeed, sans power. Light every candle you own, which is in't many because you recently threw a bunch of them away when you realized they were inciting allergies.

Turn on every piece of technology that has its own battery (including two computers & an iPad) so you may benefit from the warm glow of their screens. Google "what to do in a power outage," which isn't very helpful because you're not an idiot & this isn't brain surgery. Put on a winter hat.

Get a text from your mother that's more helpful than the Internet: a reminder to put your faucets on a low drip so your pipes don't freeze. Do that, then feel like you're going slightly insane as you listen to three faucets drip... drip... drip in the blackened silence of your apartment.

Weigh the options, including freezing to death alongside your cats in your own bedroom & driving to your mom's house alone in very cold weather while all the lights are out on the highway (as reported in your neighborhood's Facebook group, of course). Frantically text all options to your husband, as though you don't know how to make decisions alone. Excessively refresh aforementioned neighborhood Facebook group to see if there's any news about power restoration. There isn't.

Continue to text your mom & your husband. Update Twitter. Like literally everything you see on Instagram. Use up all the battery on your phone. Oops. Recharge it in your husband's computer until the computer dies, too, taking its warm technological glow (& half your light source) with it.

Return to obsessively checking Facebook, where you learn that a transformer explosion is the cause of the power outage, which spans most of the west side of the city of Cleveland. Decide to go to your mom's when you see an update from the power company that says no estimated timeline is available for the restoration of power... to 40,000 homes across the city.

Pack your suitcase in the dark, using your iPhone as a flashlight held under your chin so you can use both hands for the task of assembling clothing for a who-knows-how-long stay. Remember that your mom's house is usually freaking freezing, anyway, & pack extra sweaters for the move from one icebox to another.

Make repeated trips out to your car to load it up with everything you need for a trip of indeterminable length, including cat food, an extra blanket, & a bag of stuff you've been meaning to take to Goodwill. Keep an eye out for carjackers because there's been a rash of break-ins lately, as though you need additional anxiety tonight. Or ever.

Briefly consider going to the restaurant across the street to wait out the outage, because somehow, they still have power, those bastards. They also have curry. And beer. Instead, head back into your home, where you catch one of your cats & put her in a carrier in the middle of the living room, suppressing your guilt as she screams & cries & thrashes & generally appears to be miserable.

Set our to catch your other cat, who is now hiding underneath the bed. Prod him using a long back massager, then proceed to chase him around the bedroom a few times until you are finally able to drag him out of his hiding place. Try to avoid his wrath as he hisses at you while you shove him headfirst into his carrier. (Sorry, buddy.)

Lace up your snowboots (because it's icy as hell, because of course it is) & schlep both cats out to your car, where one of them continues to hiss & the other continues to scream. Spend the 40-minute car ride murmuring, "It's okayyyy" in a soothing voice, upwards of 100 times, to no avail. Worry that your cats have peed in their carriers. (Good news, to be determined upon arrival: They have not.)

Stop at Taco Bell for cinnamon twists & nachos because this night has been stressful, OK? Eat your contraband fast food while parked one street over from your mother's house so that your mother will not know of your secret shame. Feel embarrassed about doing this at the age of 33. Moms, man.

Arrive home & smuggle your cats into your childhood bedroom before your mother's chihuahuas can realize they're in the house. Sigh with exasperation as aforementioned hissing cat makes his way under a new bed... & continues to hiss. Lock cats in bedroom & pour yourself a glass of red wine.

Realize you've forgotten your allergy medicine, which is problematic because you've recently become deeply allergic, somehow, to your childhood home. (Prime suspect: dogs.) Decide to run to the 24-hour CVS pharmacy down the road, but first, lose your keys & take, like, 20 minutes to find them.

While at CVS, check social media... & learn that the power is back on across Cleveland, just an hour after you got out of dodge. Contemplate crying; contemplate returning to Cleveland; decide to do neither.

Find a cookie in your purse. Eat cookie. Buy allergy medicine. Go back to your mom's house. Settle in for the long haul - or at least until tomorrow morning.

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