Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Faff: Lights Out Edition

I believe I've mentioned before that we live in an 1895 Victorian house, with original windows and no air conditioning. We had a bit of a heat wave last week and over the weekend, and things were roasting in Chez Stryker by Monday evening. We listlessly discussed what we might have for dinner that would require no use of a heating element that could contribute to the temperature being even higher than the 82F it already was in our house.

And then the power went out. Luckily, it's June so even though it was around 6:30 PM, it was still plenty light outside. At first we figured it was because the power grid was overloaded from too many fans and air conditioners running at once, but then the plume of black smoke to the east and the plethora of sirens convinced us that something else might be going on, but because we had no electricity we had no television, internet, or plug-in radio to inform us of the deets. We sat outdoors with peanuts and cold drinks and read our books, waiting for the power to come back on. It was hot, and only the occasional warm breeze punctuated the stiflingly still air.

After a while, we realized the power wasn't going to come on anytime soon, and it was starting to get dark. We decided to have turkey sandwiches and leftover potato salad and cole slaw for dinner, since Dan was uncomfortable cooking in the dark, and since neither of us wanted to contribute any additional heat to the house, especially considering our fans weren't functioning. We ate our cold meal at our dinnertable in the last light of the evening, reminiscing about power outages we remembered from childhood. Most of the ones I remembered happened during winter thunder-and-rain storms, so a hot summer evening was a totally different experience.

When we finished eating, we retired to the living room. Dan found his head lamp, and lit several of the decorative candles we normally have in our non-functional fireplace. And we sat in the hot, stuffy room, full of food. There wasn't quite enough light to read, so we just sat. I thought about how much we depend on electricity for just about everything.

The kitties, expectedly, were more than a little freaked out by the situation. Humans at home! but no lights on! and no delicious, delicious fan! Why so hot, humans? Why no lights? Something was Just Not Right.

And then, for about 3 minutes, the lights suddenly came on.

A half hour after sitting in the dark, digesting dinner and watching the decorative candles flicker, they came back on for good. We found out that the cause of the blackout had been an explosion at a nearby power station, right near a hospital. Apparently some of the patients had to be medevac'd out when the hospital lost power. I thought some more about how much we depend on electricity for everything, for large, life-saving things, and for small things like an evening's entertainment. It was kind of nice to have no teevee and no internet for an evening, but to not even have enough light to read by was more than a little disturbing. It was a little like camping, except in our own hot, stuffy house in the middle of the city rather than under the stars. I'll take the lights when I'm home, thank you very much.

* * * * * *

Two bad things this week, offset by two good things today:

First, I'm going to have to find a new shampoo. Again. I'm still bitter about the last time, and after over a year of looking I finally found something that wasn't horrible. And effing Pantene had to go and change up all their products again, the bastages. I bought a cheapo clarifying shampoo and I'll know in a week or so whether or not I hate it. Why the hell do hair product companies have to change up their ENTIRE PRODUCT LINES when their customers already like what they have to offer?

Second, I was really looking forward to doing some swimming this summer. I've been trying to change up my workouts a bit, and thought the chance to spend some time in a pool would be lovely. The City of Denver's outdoor pools are only open in the summer, so when I went to the website for Congress Park's pool I was dismayed to learn that they're only open from noon to five. WHEN I AM WORKING. My only other nearby option is to pay $5 a pop to swim in an overpopulated indoor pool. No thanks. (Harrumph.)

Today, two good things happened. First, I found a key that had been missing for at least six months in the pocket of my jeans (a pair I hadn't worn since sometime this winter.) Yay! Also, I won another theoretical cooking contest. This one was more of a Chopped-style challenge than an Iron Chef one. It involved red bell pepper, walnuts, and artichoke bottoms in the appetizer round, pork loin, coconut, and lima beans for the main, and sour cream, candied lychee and pretzels in the dessert round. I think all three of my recipes would be top notch if I were to actually make them. (Especially dessert!)

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