Let There Be Light — Please!

One evening last week I pulled into my driveway a few minutes before 8 o’clock and clicked the button on my garage door opener.  And clicked again.  And again.  Until I finally realized that my house was dark, the power was off, and the door wasn’t going to open.

This wouldn’t have been such a surprise if I’d driven past a block of unlit houses, but my neighbors’ windows were bright, their Christmas lights glowing.  I live in a neighborhood built up over decades, and the electric circuits must resemble a nest of snakes.  And my circuit was out.

I ‘d left the chain on the front door, which I seldom use, so I had no choice but to walk around the house, through my sadly overgrown side yard, to the unlocked back of the garage. There was a flashlight in my car.  It didn’t work.  I only tripped on the vegetation once.

Even with the back door open, it was pitch black in the windowless garage.  I felt my way along the junk table, loaded with leaf bags, tools, and demoted bedspreads, to the basket containing a couple of flashlights.  Neither of them worked.  I felt my way to the door, let myself into the house, and found one small functioning flashlight.

A call to the power company (that’s why I hang on to one land line phone that plugs into the phone jack and requires no electricity or recharging to work!) told me that the problem was a line fuse (whatever that means), reported at 7, should be fixed by 11 o’clock.  The big flashlight that had, in better days, served as a lantern, gave off a pale yellow light with a radius of about two feet.  I knew there were more flashlights around, but it didn’t seem worth the trouble to look for them.

I fed the cat,  stuffed my Kindle in my purse, disconnected and opened the garage door, and went out to the nearest Wendy’s for light and a cheeseburger.  On the way out I passed a utility truck heading up my street, so I was pleased but not surprised to find my house well lit and fully functional when I returned at 9:30.

Out With The OldNow I have lived in hurricane country since I was a little girl, so I know what I should have in the house.  Battery-powered radios, check.  Bottled water, check.  Flashlights–well, I had them, all over the place.  They just didn’t work.  One in the car, one on the back porch, two in the garage, eight scattered around the house, not including two small LED lights purchased last year and assorted clip-on book lights.  When I gathered them all up, I found two small ones that revived with new batteries, but most of them suffered from dead bulbs, corroded contacts, or just plain age.

In With The NewSo today while countless other folks swarmed through the local Target doing their Christmas shopping, I was hanging out in the flashlight aisle, restocking my supply, spending fifty bucks on two lanterns and four flashlights (all but the smaller lantern with batteries included).  All with Light Emitting Diodes (I had to pull the cardboard from one of the lanterns out of the recycling bin to find out what LED actually stands for) instead of bulbs.  Even color coordinated.  And much, much brighter than the old ones ever were.

The big lantern is in the living room, the small one in my bedroom, and the others are sitting on the kitchen counter awaiting their assignments.  I promise to check their batteries from time to time.  And I suppose I should either clean up the side yard or leave the chain off the front door.  I’m betting on the chain.  The yard’s going to need professional attention.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Eberhardt
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 00:21:19

    Good job on getting working torches. Last time we lost power, I resorted to finding a toy with flashing lights so I could ransack the recesses of my cupboard and find candles and matches. Apparently all my torches are out of batteries too.



    • Kay Hudson
      Dec 23, 2012 @ 00:40:27

      I owe the two working LED lights that I did have to a friend who worries about bedbugs and insisted I would need one to inspect for the little pests when I went to New York for the RWA conference.



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