This Damned House
Backwards Motion

53 Hours

We went to the mall on Sunday, mostly because it was officially Too Damn Hot For Life outside and had run out of other indoor time-killing options. Life lesson time, boys: If you get bored, just go somewhere and buy shit you don't need for awhile.

Anyway. The lights flickered once. Twice. We decided to leave, let the power go out and lead to mass looting at Build-a-Bear. We noticed it was raining really hard through the skylights, but by the time we got outside the sun was shining again.  

The only evidence that a tornado had touched down nearby was...well, there were a lot of leaves all over the ground.

Oh. And shit like this:

Photo (40) 

That brownish...thing? That's the underside of a really big tree that just up and fell over. It peeled off a nice layer of the earth's crust and mantle on its way down, and yes I said MANTLE because BOO-YAH GEOLOGY 101. Preparing me for moments like this and not much else.  

Photo (39)

(My drive-by cell-phone photography skillz: YOU LOVE THEM.)

Not surprisingly, we lost power as a result of the storm. As did over 300,000 other homes in our area, which I swear is like, an actual high-density area where actual real people live and work and DVR their favorite TV shows and poop using fancy modern indoor plumbing, as opposed to McHillbillyville, USA or something. I get the sense that Pepco power lines are held together by little more than popsicle sticks and electrical tape and chewed-up gum from all the third-party contractors they hire EVERY TIME we get one of these huge county-wide outages, and each repair leaves everything a bit more rickety and outage-prone than it was in the first place. 

Last time it took 84 hours for our power to be restored. This time we only lost power for about 53 hours. Fifty-three! That's nothing! And the temperatures during the day were only about 90, 91 degrees tops. I don't even see the point in blogging about any of it. What do you take me for, some kind of whiny brat urbanite with no coping skills, or something? 


Unlike the winter outage, this one at least wasn't...scary, like we all going to contract pneumonia and then get into a terrible car accident when we try to drive to the hospital for medicine for our pneumonia because our fingers fell off from frostbite already scary. This outage was mostly boring and sweaty.

Noah: Mommy, can I watch a show?

Amy: No, sweetie, there's no power, remember?

Noah: Okay. I will watch a DVD instead.

Amy: Um, can't do that either, bud. 

Noah: Okay. How about...the Star Wars game?

Amy: New rule of thumb, Noah. If something 1) lights up, 2) has buttons, or 3) is at all possibly remotely fun, it requires power, and you can't do it right now. 

Noah: Okay. Can I play with your phone?

(And yet, just a few hours later, after the boys were in bed and Jason and I prepared to watch a DVD on his charged-at-work laptop, I totally went I KNOW! We can still catch the Mad Men premiere! You just have to rent it on iTunes or something! Why don't you do that? What? Oh. Right. Never mind. Yeah, we can just watch Idiocracy again, I guess.)

I kept trying to get work done at the coffeeshops and such, but so did everyone else from the 300,000+ powerless households. On Monday I drove to Jodi's house to bask in her recently-restored electricity, only to have it go out again after an hour and a half ("HAAAAA SO LONG SUCKER," I cackled as I left, gaining strength for future evil superdeeds from her misfortune). 

On Tuesday I brought a big-ass wall outlet splitter with me and very politely asked a woman hogging an entire precious outlet with both her laptop and cell phone if she minded if we expanded the outlet's use for everybody, and...actually, it turned out she DID mind, a little bit, as she testily informed me that Panera had "a lot of other outlets" so she "didn't see the point" in using the splitter. When I mentioned that the plugs were actually all full and a bit more in demand than usual because of the power outages, she was like, "power outawhah?" but finally unplugged her shit for 10 measly seconds, then purposely replugged everything in so her chargers covered up more than one plug, just so no one else could use them. I did not like that lady, very much, and thought to myself that she deserved to get blogged about. So. There. 

(Our power came back on last night, but I brought the splitter again today because there are still thousands of people still waiting for theirs. I was heralded as the Smartest, Nicest Person Ever. Which is MORE LIKE IT, INGRATES.)

Anyway. What the outage lacked in DRAMAZZZ, though, it certainly made up in DOLLAH BILLZ, because this is the current state of our once-packed freezer:

Photo (41) 

Okay, for dinner tonight, your menu choices are grated cheddar cheese, some fancy farmers' market flour that you have to keep in the freezer for some reason, a plastic ice pack and those weird flaxseed/spelt waffles that nobody likes. 



I was thinking of you and wondering if your area had gotten hit with the outage.

I'm sorry you were.


And the splitter? You are a genius, and a super-nice person.


Holy shit, dude! What is happening to the east coast?! Tornadoes? Earthquakes?! Mantle-exposing-tree roots?!?

Glad your power is back on. It's too freaking hot.

Sprite's Keeper

Yuck, that sucks. My cousin still has no power and his Facebook posts condemning Pepco are hilarious, but I'd hate to be in that position. Glad your power's back!


Me, too. We got our power back today around 1:30, so that makes what? something like 70 hours. It didn't suck TOO bad until today, when it got really humid again. And when I opened my fridge and freezer to smell the horror.


53 hours? That sucks! Ours was out for 37.5, and that was brutal.

We were able to have a cookout at my parents (who had power in the neighborhood across the street) with all the meat from our freezer which was thawing out overnight. We invited my sis's and bro's families too, cause there was a lot of meat going bad. When everyone thanked us, we said, "This was on Pepco. Thank them." Grrr.

Aunt Becky

The storms have been incredible here too. Mah neighborhood started flooding, before it reached my house, I just ran into the street and started waving my arms about like a crazy person. Not because it did any good, just because.

Luckily, that seemed to scare off the water for awhile.


As a professional geologist, your use of crust and mantle are much appreciated (and gave me a good laugh).


check with your insurance agent as oftentimes your homeowners insurance will cover the food loss with NO deductible. :) I remember you had steaks and lobsters in there, right?

Mary Beth (Cats, Books, Life is Good)

The good part of losing power is having to eat all the ice cream in the freezer before it melts!


Heh. You said spelt.

(sorry; it amuses me for some reason.)


You ARE a nice person for bringing the outlet splitter! Sheesh, OTHER RUDE LADY, I hope she recognizes herself on here!

Glad that your power is back!

Megan@Blueberry Scones

I am always scared to death of losing power for any length of time like that, because I'm pumping and my freezer is pretty much STOCKED with breast milk.

And yeah, mean people at Panera SUCK. Well, they suck wherever they are, but it's even worse in a place like Panera.


Not to be smug or anything, but here in McHillbillyville, GA, our power rarely goes out. And when it does our wonderful power company has it back on within a couple of hours. Reason #2,467 why I don't live in a high population area.


You probably have to keep the flour in the freezer to keep out weevils - meaning they don't process the crap out of it like regular flour. I keep all flour and pasta in the freezer (which I believe I started doing after your weevil fest).


Can you purchase an emergency generator that would power the house. You would gain power but lose bloggy goodness!


I sell these. They are worth every penny.


aaagh! that damn lego starwars video game! my 4 year old goes bezerk when he isn't allowed to play it... good thing no power outages here in cali.


I second the homeowners policy. Ours covered food spoilage when hurricane Ike knocked us out for 10 days. That's right, 10 days.


You guys have had a really rough year, weather wise, haven't you? :(

Dunno why it took me this long to realise that you live in the same area as a friend of mine . . . your winter was full of the exact same snow as hers, and their family just got power back, too. They had to throw out a lot of food.

I promise she would not have been the lady who took up all the outlets.


I have met that Panera lady. She must selfishly run around the country hogging all things...outlet.

I'm glad your power is back. :-)

Olga @ MangoTomato

God, I almost lost my mind not having power for 8 hours and I don't even have any kids!

I was sad to miss Mad Men too.

And that woman in the coffee shop!? Some people have no manners.

Lindsey Ward

I apologize if you thought of this but weren't able to get it because the people in the 299,999 other homes got there but dry ice works wonders. When our fridge went out we kept it cold for days until the new one could be delivered. I think it was four or five days. We had to replace the dry ice every so often. The packages give instructions on how much you need per cubic foot. FYI for the next time this happens (hopefully you'll never need it).


We have the power go out a lot here in the center of the US but it's usually back on within hours. BUT, my whole family freaks out except me. Everyone is like "What are we going to do now? I can't watch TV, or get on the computer or ANYTHING!" I always give the "You know, people didn't always have electricity and they found things to do somehow." speech. They don't give a shit, they still whine. The world will end in darkness and boredom.

My only fear is not being able to use a curling iron.


You guys have the worst luck with outages! Glad it's back on now :-) Apparently, my freezer felt left out of the power outage vacation all the other freezers in the region were getting. It quit working Friday afternoon and we were just able to get it fixed yesterday. Lots of food :-(


Dude, 50-something hours?! When I lived in the UK that would have been OUTRAGEOUS and the power company would have ben forced to compensate people. I'm pretty sure it's legislated as a Health & Safety requirement to have power to homes.

Now I' in Back Of Beyond, New Zealand, *maybe* for the more rural areas they'd have blackouts for more than a day or two. But... dude. That's a country where sheep outnumber PEOPLE.

I'm appalled on your behalf. Also at Crazy Outlet Hogging Lady. You suck, lady! :op


I cannot imagine how one lady could be so rude to someone trying to be so helpful.


We need to become friends because we live in Woodbridge and have Dominion Va power and they ROCK! I'm not going to say we never lose power because well, you know... but....


How can anyone object to a splitter? Did she not realise she'd still be getting the same number of volts? Crazy outlet lady. Muttergrumblefrown.


Nothing is worse! Everything I like to do in life requires electricity. We get outages here in Florida from tropical storms and I just sit there wringing my hands until it comes back on.

My week has been much less stressful, we only lost our air conditioning during the HOTTEST WEEK EVER when our normal 92s and 93s were 99s and 100s and oh, the huma...humidity! I live in a high rise, so we had 90 households that were steaming. After three days someone had the bright idea to call a TV station, and since it was a slow news day they sent a van out, and voila! Within an hour the management of the building had rented hotel rooms for us all for two days! That was horrible too, bad beds, bad pillows, no comforts of home, and having to commute an extra 8 miles to work, but it was better than totally melting.

Next week will be better for all of us.


I saw that very same overturned tree when my daughter and I spent much of Monday (her 19th birthday) at the mall (I guess we go to the same mall). We got our power back on after only 40 hours. I actually enjoyed it -- my kitchen cupboards have never been so organized -- but no one else I've talked to liked it much.


Um, a tornado actually never did touch down. There was high wind, yes. But never a tornado.


I love Idiocracy! And, ps - why do meanies always hang out in coffeehouses? In every Indie film I've ever seen, every body at coffeehouses are bubbles of light and quirky sunshine.


Did you call 911? I'm an emergency medical/police dispatcher, and we dispatch for 5 counties in a pretty rural, spread-out state. When there's an outage, everyone (thousands and thousands of people) calls 911 to tell us about it. I just wonder if it's a local thing, or if it's just the people around here... Also, glad you're back on. Being without power makes my tummy tickle all nervous-like.


Hee! I'll never forget the hurricane of 2004, when the power went out in Gaitherburg BEFORE THE FIRST RAINDROP OR GUST OF WIND APPEARED and remained off for four days. Pepco's infrastructure is, indeed, made up of duct tape and bubble gum. Either that, or they're in league with the Simon people, because of course the malls had power.


I was just looking at a 120qct. ice chest at walmart that claims to keep ice frozen for 5 days at 90 deg. For $52, it would be perfect for no power!


What's with the hogging of outlets at coffee shops?! You're in a public place, you do NOT own the outlets, outlet-hogging coffee shop lady!


I'm so glad you survived. It's hard to be powerless.


Uh, you are a genius of epic proportions with that splitter. I'm going to start traveling with one so I can charge up at the airport, where there's never enough plugs!


Hilarious. I looked at the freezer photo and thought, "Yummy! They eat the Derwafflebakers (or whatever the hell they are) waffles too!" I guess it's just us, then.

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