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Candle in the Wind

Since we’ve lived in Armpit, Florida, we have weathered more than our share of hurricanes.  And not once have we ever lost power for any significant length of time.

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that our power lines are all buried underground, and that God knows I cannot function without my coffee pot and/or Vita-Mix.

But on Monday, we had a smallish rain shower.  And with the first clap of thunder, the power went out.  The children quickly scurried about building a fort in the family room, since it was the middle of the afternoon and we were not yet plunged into darkness.  AND IT WAS SO EXCITING!

Something told me that this was potentially serious, and I issued an order that NO ONE was to open the refrigerator or the freezer out in the garage.


That decision would plague me later in the day, as the temperature in the house climbed up into the 80’s and I began to perspire.  All I could think about was the TWO  cartons of Breyers No-Sugar Added Ice Cream sitting unopened in the freezer.

Calling to me.  From the garage.

And incidentally, that same freezer was full to the brim because I had just made my every-2-month-run to Sam’s Club run, my once-a-week-run to Wal Mart, and my run to Publix, armed to the teeth with coupons, to stock up on BOGO offers.


Alas, we subsisted on stale old crackers found in the pantry.  And dry cereal.

Interestingly, earlier in the day as I was reorganizing a seldom used top shelf, I found a bag which contained a moldy piece of chocolate cake (I think) and a tub of Duncan Heinz Icing, dyed purple.  Appetizing.

I suspect this was booty from Emme’s birthday celebration.  LAST OCTOBER.  And I had stashed them away for later bingeing.

But forgot about them because my short term memory has taken quite a hit in recent years.

And I know what you’re thinking.  No.  In my desperation, I didn’t dip into the icing. (not far fetched since I have been known to pull a tub of icing from the trash to dine on it.) Really, it didn’t look too bad.  Leading me to wonder what kind of shelf life does a canister of Duncan Heinz icing have?


I had dinner covered in that there was chicken marinating in the fridge (if I were to break my own rule to retrieve it) and the grill was piping full of propane.

But as my body temperature rose with that of the house, I realized that the chance of my cooking dinner was slim to none.  In fact, I finally took to my bed and let Jensen run his matchbox cars up and down me.

Which was really kind of soothing.

Mercifully we ended up at Sonny’s for a nice air conditioned dinner.  I wondered how long we could plant our bottoms on the nice naugahyde before someone kicked us out.  I figured if I kept on ordering sides of Fried Okra they wouldn’t mind.

Fried Okra is a staple during any type of emergency.  In my book.

When we all felt sufficiently sick, we headed home.  Taking it extra slow as we passed all the Power & Light worker bees on the street going home.  Each time we passed, more and more trucks and workers were added.  Not a good sign.

When we saw a large flat bed 18 wheeler holding the old giant electrical box thingy, we knew we might be in for the long haul.  So we headed to Lowes to scope out generators.

We stood there in front of the display.  Staring first at the contraption, then at the price.  We left empty handed.  Stopping to let Jensen admire the row of vacuums.  Too big of a purchase to make when one feels pressure.  Or is bloated from 5 too many servings of Fried Okra.

The house was hot and steamy, and I distributed various flashlights to aid in the preparation for the long night ahead.  I allowed one lone candle to be placed up high where the pyromaniacs couldn’t reach.  “But MOM, where’s my noise maker (white noise)?  And my music?  And my fan? “Mom, can I play the Wii?”

I know for a fact that Ma Ingalls never had to deal with any of that from Half Pint and her siblings.

When the children began to wig out, I did what any good mother would do.  I planted them on a couch and put the 5 inch DVD player before them to let them watch Veggie Tales.  Worked like a charm.

The electric company kept stringing Fiddledaddy along telling him the power would be on at 12 am, then 3 am.  He kept watch.  Finally the power was restored at 5 am.  I awoke to a bright light shining in my eyes from the kitchen.  And I gave a prayer of thanks for lights.  And air conditioning.

The first thing we did was to check the freezers.  Thankfully, and I am so very thankful for this, all the meat was still frozen solid.

But the ice cream was a little soft.

So one of us ate it.  At 5 in the morning.  I won’t say who.

But it wasn’t me.

This whole saga simply served as a reminder to me that hurricane season is upon us.  And I best be prepared.

And the next time Publix has a BYGO on Oreos, I’m cleaning out the shelves.  And writing myself a little reminder note so that I don’t forget where I stash them.

Just sayin’.


11 Responses to Candle in the Wind

  • We live on the GA coast and frequently have power outages, so I feel your pain, I truly do. We have also priced generators and walked away empty handed (even from the used ones on Craig’s List).

    What I finally ended up doing was buying a very. long. extension cord. It reaches to our next door neighbor’s house. Because she has a generator. It saved all our freezer stuff last year and also, after the fridge had re-cooled, we plugged in a fan and flopped in front of it, stewing in our own juices. Not a perfect solution, but if you buy our neighbor a 6-pack of beer, she’ll let you plug up to her generator and that suits me fine.

    Here’s to hurricane season. May we all survive it!

  • Fried okra. Yum! Okra is a vegetable unheard of in the southern hemisphere I’m afraid. Or at least in my neck of the woods. So next time y’all go to Sonny’s, order a side or three for me, ‘kay?

  • We recently had a 10-hour long power outage (http://treasuredchapters.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-woke-up-with-splitting-headache-and.html), and we had 2 puking kids. It was lots of fun. The stuff in the fridge and freezer fared OK, though.

  • I love fried okra! But I didn’t know that it didn’t always have to be burnt until I was an adult – frying okra wasn’t a talent my mom had.

  • Hurricane season always puts me in a dilemma – I always seem to pray that when one’s headed our way that it will blow either north or south of where I live, but then I feel like I’m praying for them to specifically hit others– which causes me guilt and grief. With all the worry, I could use a good dose of Sonny’s BBQ beans and brunswick stew. Closest one is about 2 hours away.

  • I love your Ma Ingalls comment. Last week when our power went out, I started thinking about all the women who trecked across the Prairies in full skirts and long sleeved shirts….as The Husband and I were piling our children into the minivan so we could drive around in the air conditioning.

  • I have a friend who (back when her daughter was little) instigated “Little House on the Prairie Night” with her family. About once a month (when her oft-traveling husband was out of town, because, come on, not many husbands would put up with this, and besides, I don’t think he knew how to play the fiddle) she and her daughter would pretend they were pioneer women. They would cook in the fireplace and read by candlelight. I’m hoping they went ahead and used the indoor plumbing. Apparently, it was great fun. So maybe, in preparation for the next blackout, you could buy some pioneer clothing. And maybe get Fiddledaddy to earn his name by actually learning to play the fiddle!

  • We had two power outages this winter. See, when you live in Kansas, it’s the snow and ice that cause them. And since freezing to death wasn’t on our list of acceptable ways to go out of this world, we made the investment in a generator. My mechanical engineer hubby actually used a 220 volt outlet in the garage to power almost the entire house with that generator. Congratulations on surviving yours, AND salvaging the food in the fridge & freezer!

  • We live in the country in NY state, at the ‘end of the line’, and our power goes out ALL THE TIME. Whenever the wind blows at ALL…so yeah, we do a lot of non-pioneer things, too, like use the gas stove & grill (and laptops…) 🙂

  • We lived in Puerto Rico for 8 years, and one hurricane left the whole island without electricity. Forty days and forty nights later, our power was restored. Count your blessings! 🙂

  • OK your post was funny, but Gretchen had me snorting! I can just see you now in your bonnet and braids, haha!
    My parents lost their house in Hurricane Andrew. They had left town before the storm hit and didn’t go home for about a week. On their way back, they picked up 2 things for our neighbor, who had stayed through it. She didn’t even ask for a generator, all she wanted was a pizza … and the biggest bottle of Jack Daniels they could find!!! They had some good nights outside in the candlelight with good old Jack!!