What were you doing when it happened? I was investigating some weather-related computer models as part of my prep for delivering forecasts to radio station “Star 97.7” based out of Ellsworth.
My Mrs. had just walked-in from delivering some pre-Halloween goodies to the neighbors. Our two youngest grandkids were watching Doc McStuffins on the Disney channel. And then it happened. My laptop screen faded to black, Doc McStuffins disappeared from view, while my Mrs. asked me why I turned off the TV.
Actually, the two grandgirls were asking me the same question, only nonverbally with disgust in their eyes and hands on their hips. And then the truth of the situation settled upon us: power outage!
We shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, the wind had been whipping wickedly from the southeast, and torrents of rain had been pounding the pavement for hours. Yet it seems over the years we have been conditioned to associate power outages with snow storms, or at least ice storms (think 1998.)
Despite the warnings from local weather prognosticators, I think it’s fair to say most of us were surprised when our power fizzled. Even more surprising was the volume of homes losing power during Monday’s storm, eventually surpassing the number of outages reported during the aforementioned infamous ice storm of ’98.
Initially, the reaction in the McKay household was not positive. What was I to do without access to the internet and my laptop, dependent on AC since my battery had bit the dust months ago?
How was Mrs. McKay going to microwave Mac ‘n Cheese for the girl’s lunch menu?
And if Doc McStuffins had vacated the TV screen, did that mean Princess Sofia would be a no-show too? Yep, lots of grumbling and mumbling and calming of nerves during that first half-hour or so of living without the Emera juice.
But then, we discovered something I hope tens of thousands of other Mainers discovered during their how-ever-many-days-of-outage they lived through: simplicity.
Instead of Minecraft on IPhones, we played Chutes and Ladders. Instead of allowing annoying Disney characters to entertain us, we entertained each other with stories read aloud from books (anyone else a fan of Robert McCloskey?)
Rather than nuking pre-packaged food, we changed things up in favor of fluffernutters. IPads were replaced by coloring books, while ping-pong on the Wii was replaced with the real thing.
Sure, I was glad when the power returned to our abode a few days later. But I gotta tell ya, that somewhat brief interlude with simplicity was a gift. Helped us appreciate the truly important things again.
Relationships. People. Generous neighbors.
Really didn’t think much about sports at all during the black-out of ’17. Didn’t miss it much either. Suppose it’s really not as important as we think it is?