Life in a Cave

It was raining when I woke up this morning, but that was fine with me.  I mowed the lawn yesterday, did some shopping and some laundry, and I was all ready for a nice day  at home.  I had plans.  A newsletter column to write, a scene to finish for my critique group meeting tomorrow evening, chapter business to take care of, a week’s email to sort through (all the ones I’d saved because I really wanted to read them–later), and my personal bookkeeping.  All tasks involving the computer.

I knew there had been storms across the Houston area over night, although if we had thunder here it didn’t wake me.  The news reported widespread power outages, mostly to the north and southwest of Houston.  I live southeast of the city, near Galveston Bay.  There was almost an inch in my rain gauge, but it had just about stopped when I went out to get my newspaper at 9:15.  I was halfway down the driveway when I heard the BOOM of a transformer blowing.  Sure enough, there went my electricity.  Lights, computer, TV.

It was a gray, overcast morning, and the house was dark, even at 9:15.    Sunday is the one morning I usually make scrambled eggs for breakfast–not today.  Cereal, milk, and blackberries, then.  There wasn’t enough light to read the paper I’d just retrieved.

I’m pretty sure the fancy new electric meter on the back of my house is supposed to report outages to the power company, but it won’t tell me when to expect the lights to come back on, so after a few minutes I called it in.  The recorded voice had no idea when the outage would be fixed, so I settled down with my cereal, a lantern, and my Kindle, which has a small, Adella's Enemyalmost adequate light built into its cover, and finished reading “Adella’s Enemy,” by Jacqui Nelson (if you’re a fan of Hell on Wheels or American-set historical romance, you’ll enjoy this novella about love and sabotage on the rails, available by itself or with two companion novellas in Passion’s Prize).

No sign of light by 11:15, and the recorded voice at the power company (this is why I keep one old phone that plugs into the wall–my nice cordless system doesn’t work without electricity) still couldn’t tell me when it would be fixed.  I couldn’t do anything on the computer, couldn’t even do the remaining laundry, and it was still too dark to write comfortably with pen and paper.  Lunch looked pretty iffy, too, without the microwave.

So off I went, in search of civilization.  My car went on auto-pilot and took me to Half-Price Books, a place I really should avoid, where I bought a 2014 calendar and a book (there’s a surprise) of short stories by an author I admire, Connie Willis.  On to Target for a few things, and then a nice (and hot!) lunch at Panda Express.  I had my Kindle along, of course, and started on the next Romance and Rails novella, “Eden’s Sin,” by Jennifer Jakes.  Then I picked up a few things at the grocery store and headed home, hoping to find light–and a working computer.

When I got home, about 1:45, the light was on in my kitchen window and the garage lit up when I pulled in.  The TV was on, the computer came to life when I hit its switch, and Nutmeg demanded her lunch.

It only takes a few hours without electricity to make one see one’s home as a cave with windows.  Even at night: I sleep with the radio and the ceiling fan on, not to mention, most of the year, air conditioning or heat.  It looks like most of my plans for today will carry over to tomorrow, but my laundry is churning away, I’m in touch with the world through my computer and the Channel 13 evening news, I’ll have a hot dinner tonight (or maybe a salad, but I have the choice), and I have plenty of light to read.  And, heaven knows, plenty of books!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Oct 28, 2013 @ 20:30:28

    I swear, you really do need a 12-step program for that book addiction. No food and you head off to Half Price Books. Scratching my head. I mean, it’s not exactly like you don’t have anything to read. I guess your car just knows the route automatically. . .



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