So I’ve had no electricity since midnight Wednesday due to massive wind storms here in southern Cal; it finally popped on at about 3 AM last night, meaning I spent two days and three nights in the dark and cold. The sound of all the electronics clicking to life this morning was music to my ears – our neighborhood had been told we’d have no power until Monday, so I was preparing for the long haul.
In nineteen years in this city (LA) I’d never seen anything like this. I mean, I’ve seen power outages before, but they never last more than a few hours. And always living in an urban center, with the exception of earthquakes (which are so rare they’re not really worth considering) I’m usually immune to the usual SoCal natural disasters that tend to happen in the far-flung areas, such as wild fires and mud slides. But this one time I happened to be in the hardest hit, last to get the power back on area. The odd thing was as of the morning after the storm (Thursday), the people behind me and in front of me had power. The street lights were on, and the electric train that runs right in front of my house was running just fine. So much of the time the last few days were spent in this utter frustration of “um…why does everyone else have something I don’t have…?” which is a very familiar emotion for me!
The worst was having to throw away all that awesome food I JUST bought. That killed me. I hate wasting food, and I was extremely agitated about it. But by Friday afternoon it was quite obvious that everything in the freezer was gone, and I’d better dump that full ½ gallon of milk and juices. I was able to save the couple of things I’d cooked by putting them on ice, but I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about eating anything that’s been in that refrigerator. I mean, now’s not the time for a bacterial infection, you know? Tomorrow I’ll head out and spend all the money I just spent on food to replace everything I just bought, plus all the stuff I’d had already that now needs to be replaced. Trying to take a deep breath and get over it, but it’s hard.
Luckily I had a lot to get out and do the last few days, so the times spent in my cold, dark house were fairly minimal. It’s amazing to think our ancestors lived like this all the time – once the sun goes down (about 4:30 these days), you go to bed, because it’s cold and there’s nothing to do. It was too dark to read, my phone couldn’t get internet in the house (and I didn’t want to run the battery down in case I needed it as an actual phone), no TV, but luckily a battery operated transistor radio which was my lifeline. But boy was it boring!!! I’m convinced the reason our ancestors dropped dead at 35 was because they were BORED.
One of the most unpleasant aspects of this was worrying about looting - it was SO obvious to anyone who drove by that all of our houses are empty and not guarded by our burglar alarms; every time I left the house I was worried I'd come home to a ransacked mess. I don't care about the stuff (I don't have anything of value, believe me) but I was worried about the dog. Last night I came home late to a homeless guy rummaging through my garbage with a flashlight, pulling out some of the food I'd dumped. We always say hello to each other and he seems harmless, but you'd best believe I loaded up the .38 and stuck it under my pillow.
I was, however, extremely grateful that a) I have a working fireplace (although I ran out of firewood after the first night), b) the stove worked so I could cook, c) I just bought a car phone charger so I could drive around and charge the phone, check e-mail, etc, d) I have a dog that doubles as a portable space heater, and e) the baby is somewhere where he’s fed, comforted, and kept warm without me having to worry about it or do anything. Going through this with a newborn (or a kid at all) would have been a lot more stressful! I also had many friends check in with me and offer their homes for me to stay in, which was lovely. I would have taken some of them up on this offer had this gone on much longer.
In other news, kicking ass and taking names around the house here. I am determined to get all those long-standing, pain in the ass house projects done before baby time. A guy comes over tomorrow AM to start stripping the wallpaper I applied so badly back in ’04 so the walls can FINALLY be painted and I can FINALLY start hanging some pictures and be done with it. It’s going to cost, but it’s a huge job and something I couldn’t possibly do myself, so it’s worth it. Before the power went out I spent a couple of days deep cleaning and rearranging things – the office is delightful now, freed of all the papers and boxes and dust, and the previously out of bounds area in the service porch is now spic and span and ready for stroller parking. I took a carload of crap to the Out of the Closet thrift store yesterday, and today I’m doing a toxic waste drop off of some of the 8,000 half empty paint cans from various projects over the last ten years that have been piling up, plus some of the many broken electronics that have been malingering around here. So now it’s just setting up the nursery (scheduled for this month, with some help from my friends) and I believe I’m pretty much done around here, although I’d like to do a couple more thrift store drops – tons of useless kitchen crap, leftover crap from home remodeling projects, old VHSs and books to be sorted through and disposed of, etc etc. I know I’m not a hoarder because I LOVE to purge – it’s pretty much one of my favorite things in life, getting rid of crap. Got to make room for baby crap!