Well, the world did not end on December 21, 2012, as some believed the Mayans had predicted it would. But a few days later, it sort of felt like it did.
Arkansans were all a buzz on Twitter and Facebook about the possibility of a white Christmas; and, rightfully so, since local news outlets were reporting it’d been something like 80 years since the last one. And the child-like excitement seemed to outweigh the parts of our minds that know better what winter weather can do.
In our neck of the woods, Christmas Day brought freezing rain and a lot of forced plan changes. Pepa, who has spent every Christmas day with us since the Girl was born (no matter where we have lived), was visiting from Alabama and had planned on making the 6-hour return trip the following day. With promises of continued precipitation and freezing temperatures, he decided it best to head home after Christmas lunch. Those same weather promises summoned Bryan to work for a sleepover: the best way a hospital can ensure it’s properly staffed in the event of hazardous road conditions.
Throughout the day (Tuesday), as ice and snow piled on power lines, people were losing power all across the state and I knew it was only a matter of time for us. Trying to prepare for the worst, and being unable to get the gas logs going, I retrieved the space heater from the barn and told the kids to charge every electronic they had. About 11:30 Christmas night, after only a flicker here or there throughout the day, we finally lost power. So, the kids and I piled in my room with the space heater and fully-charged toys.
We made it through the night warm enough, though I kept worrying that a small propane-powered space heater really wasn’t meant for its current enclosed-space use. The next morning the kids wanted to play in the snow, even though I told them it’d be hard to warm up when they were done. Nevertheless, they braved the snow, for maybe 15 minutes.
So, we settled for a puzzle at the kitchen table.
By the evening (Wednesday), all electronics (and mommy) were powerless and the kids were at each others’ throats … in hindsight, all the hot air yelling might have been good for us. Bryan braved the roads home from the hospital to work on the fireplace with no luck and we spent another night piled in my room with the space heater and a gazillion candles. At one point, the smoke alarm started beeping and, it being the only electronic sound we’d heard in hours, we let it beep for a few seconds longer before shutting it off. What can I say, we’re junkies.
The next morning, Bryan finally got the fireplace going, made the kids hot chocolate on a camp stove, and had them all playing a board game together. I swear sometimes he’s magic.
Later that afternoon (Thursday), just as we were resolving ourselves to a hotel for hot showers if the power didn’t revive by the weekend, lights began to flicker on and off. As the hum of electricity filled the air, we all congregated for a round of “the happy dance,” which pretty much just consisted of laughing and shaking our booties, led by Wonder Boy. He’s got the bootie shakin’ down, y’all.
Of course, after that, there was a lot of TV watching and Xbox playing and hot-shower-taking. And thanking God (and the First Electric folks) for power restored.
According to news reports, there’s still tens of thousands of people without power today (Saturday). I’ve seen a few posts on Facebook and Twitter (and even had a few non-Arkansans say directly to me) that we should be thankful for having an excuse to slow down, that we’ll look back on these days and the memories we made with fondness. To that/them, I say codswallup. We don’t need to freeze our tails off or develop b.o. to make memories. And I nap every chance I get, so I know how to slow down. If you need a blizzard to appreciate what you have, that’s fine, just keep it to yourself next time. For me and mine, we’re looking forward to the sun.