Thursday, November 30, 2006



As usual, I was awakened this morning by the rustling of a little body crawling under the covers with me. I groaned, stretched, and cast a bleary eye toward the clock. I squinted, rubbed my eyes and squinted again, but no amount of peering could conjure the glowing red clock numbers out of the darkness.

Darkness. Yes, it was particularly dark, wasn't it? After a moment's adled consideration, I figured out the problem. The power was out.

Even though our neighbourhood is only ten to twenty years old, the power grid tends toward the unstable. In the summer the power flickers with a good thunderstorm, and we lose power completely three or four times a year for short intervals.

Hasn't ever happened while I was trying to get ready for work, though. In the deep darkness of a rainy November morning, no less.

By the time I had coralled a couple of candles and a flashlight, I was already 15 minutes behind on a rather tight 35 minute schedule. I briefly considered not showering, but since I slept through the alarm yesterday morning and skipped that shower, it wasn't really an option.

Meanwhile, Tristan went rummaging through his toys and came out with his LED head lamp. When he brought it home just last week as a prize earned for selling magazine subscriptions, I had rolled my eyes. What does a four year old do with an LED head lamp, aside from blinding anybody he looks at?

It took a couple of tries to explain to him not to look at anybody directly, but I soon figured out it was like having a voice-controlled flashlight. Words I thought I would never utter: "Oh Tristan, could you please come here and look in mommy's underwear drawer?"

While Tristan thought the whole idea of the power outage was rather cool and went through the house testing the lightswitches, Simon was not so quick to catch on. The boys' morning routine consists largely of being plunked down in front of the TV while Beloved lies on the couch and tries not to feel violated by the early arrival of yet another day. With no TV to mediate the morning transition, I was happy to escape to the bus as Simon tried to negotiate.

Beloved, patiently: "Simon, we can't watch the Grinch, the power is out. The TV isn't working."
Simon, insistent: "No Grinch? Can we watch Spot?"
Beloved, wearily: "No, Simon. We can't watch anything. The TV doesn't work."
Simon, relentless: "Okay, we watch TVO Kids!"
Beloved: *bangs head against wall*

When I eventually got to work and checked back with him, Beloved said he was seriously considering locking both kids in the car, strapped into their car seats with the travel DVD player between them, until he could finish getting ready.

But even the indignity of no television wasn't the worst one suffered by the family this morning. We can get by without a warm breakfast, with mismatched socks, without our morning cartoons. But when you mess with my hair, you mess with my sense of self.

No power = no hairdryer. It's going to be a long day.


P.S. Only two days left to vote!