I Am Not Fit For Calamity.
How do I know this? The power in our house went out for two hours (in broad daylight) and I reexamined my whole life.
I like to fancy myself a resilient and resourceful go-getter; but that assertion got tested and destroyed just a few minutes into this misadventure.
For starters, I had trouble figuring out why WiFi wasn’t working. Since it’s just in the air, it being off made no sense. Did our WiFi air go off, too? Was the ever-mysterious Cloud involved in this?
Once I reconciled the WiFi situation, I roamed around for several minutes, noticing how dark it seemed.
“Jocelyn, does it seem super dark to you?”
“Not really, it’s 10:30 in the morning—it’s not dark in the classic sense of the word, just darker than usual.”
“Hmm, well it seems debilitatingly dark to me,” I said, and proceeded to walk with extra caution, holding my hands out to tap things so I wouldn’t run into them.
I’d already had my coffee for the morning, but thought I’d throw caution to the wind and make some more. If we were stuck with no lights, I might as well sip some java and ponder life on the back porch, where there was sunshine to light my way.
Crap. No power for the Keurig. Like, really? That, too? So let me get this straight—in the absence of electricity, we just can’t have anything hot? That’s ridiculous. Do you know how many things I prefer hot? I’ll tell you three: coffee, showers and breakfast.
And why was the power out anyway? It wasn’t even storming. Is that even a thing? To lose power from, just, nothing?
I guess I was stuck with stupid water. I carefully felt my way into the pantry for a bottle of water—and to scope out the canned food situation, should this go another full hour. Then I remembered I had a cold bottle in the fridge. Yes!
“JOCELYN! The light’s out in the fridge! Do we even have those little replacement bulbs?”
“Anna. The power is out. That means the fridge is out—it’s not the bulb.”
“I know the fridge is out, but it’s also dark, so that’s a faulty-ass bulb we’re dealing with.”
<audibly exhalation> “I’m going for a run,” she said.
“How can you run when the power is out?”
“I’m just saying, isn’t this sort of perilous? Am I safe here alone?”
I decided to get on my iPhone, since 4G is apparently far superior to WiFi and doesn’t bolt at the first sign of the rapture. Then I noticed my battery was at 51%. Ugh, it must not have charged right last night. I made a note to send my new charging cords back to Amazon. I didn’t like that 3-pack anyway. They were too long and too stiff. How’d they get all those good reviews?
What if my phone gets to 49% What then? I cannot abide a phone under 50%. I can barely tolerate one in the 70s. I started wracking my brain for charging options. Could I plug it into my MacBook? I knew the MacBook wouldn’t be plugged in, but it had a full charge—could it transfer power? I’d need my phone more than my laptop—so maybe it was worth a try?
This complicated line of thinking zapped too much mental energy—energy I needed to reserve, if life as I knew it was over.
I gathered up all our candles, which was no easy task in a dim house (all alone, I remind you). I spread them throughout the kitchen and living room, wanting to make the house as welcoming as possibly when Jocelyn got back. I didn’t want a cavernous house to ruin her runner’s high.
I got all the candles lit, surveyed my work, and applauded my resourcefulness.
Jocelyn came through the door and looked less appreciative than I expected.
“It’s noon,” she said. “It’s noon on a Saturday—not a cloud in the sky. Let’s blow these out and get ourselves together.”
Well hello Passive Aggressive, you old friend.
But I let it go, because I knew it was just the fear talking. She was no more ready to face a life of scarcity than I was.
I simply blew half of the candles out, left 12 flickering, and headed to the shower before the powerless water got below freezing.
I paused before rounding the corner, “Please take a little time while I’m showering to formulate a plan and decide how we want to move forward with so little.” I didn’t look at her, but felt sure she was nodding lovingly.
As I showered, I prayed, “Dear Lord, thank you for such a good run. Thank you for so many years of abundance and light and nourishment. I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time learning how to survive in the wilderness. I should’ve been studying survival techniques instead of watching Matt Steffanina’s dance tutorials. I should’ve been stocking up on canned beans instead of beer. Lord? Can all that beer sustain us through the dark days? Or should I believe the saying, ‘man cannot live on beer alone?’ What’s that? Did You say something about bread? Lord, I can’t hear You through all the chatter in my brain—and with this cold water pelting me. Just please know that I trust You to get us through this. They say if you’re going through hell, to keep going—and that’s what I plan to do. What’s that? Did You say something? Lord, is that You? Are You a lady?!”
Then I realized I was hearing Joanna Gaines’ voice.
The TV was on. HOW WAS THE TV ON WITHOUT ELECTRICITY? Was this actually the end times? Holy moly, I had to get some clothes on. I couldn’t meet God like this.
I dressed quickly and hurried to find Jocelyn, who was standing behind the couch, folding towels and watching Fixer Upper.
I put my hands out to the side and did a little head whip like, “What’s going on?”
“Power’s back on,” she said, barely looking away from the most perfect industrial farmhouse I’d ever laid my eyes on. “Let’s go out for lunch after I fold these.”
I took a second to feel the rush of relief. Oh, sweet deliverance, thou art mine.
“OK. Let’s run in Costco, too. I want to get some beans.”
“And an industrial-sized bag of tealight candles.”
“Sounds … uh, good.”
“And let’s swing by Half Priced Books. They’ve got a section on survival.”
She nodded slowly—probably taking time to appreciate how thoughtful and proactive I was, and said, “Ooookie-dokie.”
Later, when we were driving, I silently prayed, “Lord, thank You for knowing I am not fit for calamity. And please don’t be upset that Jocelyn ran at the first hint of catastrophe, she just … what’s that, Lord? Did You say something about exercise? These potholes are loud, sorry. Anyway, next time we lose everything, I’ll do better. I’ll be ready. I’d prefer it if You just spared me the whole ordeal, and maybe let more competent folks lose their home, but if You see fit to taketh away, I’ll make You proud. I won’t be able to make You coffee, but I’ll make You proud! What’s that, Lord? Did you say something about a day job? I can’t hear You when I’m laughing at my own funny jokes. Anyway, I do love You—Amen.”