This was one for the record books. They saw it coming, and warned us. The meteorologists said things like “massive power outages probable,” and “likelihood of prolonged power loss.” I wanted to make a contingency plan, because if power goes out anywhere in Ohio, it goes out at our house.
Remember that awful hurricane? It managed to blow itself into our Ohio neighborhood, and put us off the grid for over a week. It was summer, and so we got by with candles, block parties, and restaurants. I hated it, but at least I got out some.
But in winter? When temps go down to single digits? I began nattering at my husband three days before the storm.
“What if the power goes out? What will we do?”
“I am not going to worry about it NOW. The storm may not even involve us.”
“Are you crazy? That system is HUGE. They are saying that it will affect the entire Midwest and Eastern Seaboard. And they are talking blizzards. They are talking ICE. They are talking BIBLICAL.”
“Molly. Calm down. If power goes out, we have gas logs.”
“Can GAS LOGS keep us from freezing for DAYS?”
“I will address the problem when we have one.”
Well, we had one. By eight o’clock that night. And yes, the gas logs were sufficient for the first few hours. As the house got colder, we put on coats. An hour later, hats and gloves. Bedtime called for extra blankets, mufflers, and lots and lots of complaining. During the night, tree limbs began to fall. It sounded like rifle shots. Then, a stately old oak from across the street gave up the ghost, and fell with what sounded like a bomb dropping. I was up and down all night. Ice accumulated a half inch on everything outside.
By noon the next day, the thermostat read 50 degrees. My husband was serene, sitting in front of the fire, reading a book about world religions. The gas logs were sending out a feeble warmth. I called a hotel. Luckily, there were three rooms left. I cheered, and began to pack up to leave. My husband looked up from his book.
“Come on—where’s your pioneer spirit?”
“I am descended from pioneers. That spirit was diluted by suburbs, electricity, and fast food years ago. Pack a bag, and put down some blankets for the cats. I have the dog. Let’s get out of here.”
“We need to stay and protect the house. With the whole neighborhood out of power, and no dog here, there may be looters.”
“LOOTERS? In this weather? If anyone wants to loot, let them. I am wearing my good jewelry. All two pieces of it. Get up. We are going. And don’t even think of mentioning riots or roving bands of hooligans. I am not staying in this freezing house another minute!”
The hotel was very nice. We spent three nights there. I must admit, however, that I got a little bored. Room service is only elegant when you are young and in love. Otherwise, it is the same old stuff, delivered on a tray with a rose.
We got home just fine, and nothing was amiss. It took about five hours for the house to warm up. So far, there have been no reports of looting. There has never been a looter anywhere near our neighborhood in a hundred years. But my husband says that next time there is an outage, he is staying home. With a flashlight, thermal underwear, and a rifle.