Friday, August 24, 2007

I love electricity

There's nothing quite like a 25 hour blackout to drive home how much I depend on modern conveniences. The kind that plug into the wall. Sure, there's the obvious electric stuff like the lights, microwave, TV and air conditioning. But there are also so many little things that make my life easier: the garage door opener, the cell phone charger, the cordless telephone, the Internet.

There are devices unique to parenting like the baby monitor, the breast pump and the white noise machine. And since I'm a the mother of a toddler who likes everything just so, I had to deal with a bedtime freak out when my 2 1/2 year old found out we couldn't play her bedtime music and her night light wasn't working. "But I can't seeeee," she cried until we gave in and joined the worst parents ever club, placing a votive candle on a high shelf in her room. The headlines flashed before my eyes as I fell asleep, "Unprepared for disaster, parents leave a candle lit, burn down house."

Other highlights of our night without power included changing diapers by flashlight and cleaning up not one but two massive spit-ups by blindly patting the floor, feeling around for warm, sour-smelling puddles. When we woke up, we couldn't call on Curious George or Clifford, our a.m. babysitters. But I was able to call up a friend who didn't lose power and beg her to find room in her freezer for cuts of meat and bags of breastmilk.

We spent the morning at the Original Pancake House and the library, where we ran into crowds of neighbors in the same situation. Apparently everyone was looking for a place to take the kids and score some free wifi.

By afternoon nap time I'd gotten accustomed to our new, camp-like existence. The cooler in the kitchen was packed with ice. We'd stocked up on batteries, candles and a battery-powered night light, and the block was hopping with neighbors exchanging stories and guessing when the power might be restored.

Then, at 5:15 p.m., I heard the most wonderful noise: the sound of dozens of window units kicking into gear at once. And from the street, cheers of glee.

Cross-posted to Chicago Moms Blog