July 8, 2014
5:52p.m. EST: It happened
The wind howled, the storm raged and the electricity flickered on and off. “This is it,” I thought. “The day we have been preparing for. The end of the world as we know it.” The lights went dark. The television went out and we sat in silence. Three seasons of watching Doomsday Preppers and actively perusing Pinterest “Preparedness” boards had prepared me for how my family should react. We would be calm, cool and collected, knowing that we had 72 hours worth of emergency food and water in the basement, a slew of camping trips under our belt and a son with one year of cub-scout training. We were ready for anything.
5:57p.m: “Mommy. I’m hungry!”
Starvation had come earlier than I had anticipated. The children were wasting away before my eyes. I needed to find sustenance before I lost them both. The only logical solution was a trip to McDonalds. This lifted everyone’s spirits and I achieved the temporary title of “Best Mom Ever.” This euphoria was short lived as we realized that, without electricity, we had no garage door opener. I tried to open the door manually to no avail. I delivered the crushing news that there would be no Happy Meal for dinner that evening. The news was met with disappointment, tears and I was rapidly stripped of my “best mom” title. Morale was at an all-time low. My solution was Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches. The starving little waifs protested, wanting only hot food to fill their sensitive bellies. I tried to reason with them, explaining that without power there could be no hot food. My oldest, the cub scout, presented me with the simple solution of rubbing two sticks together so he could get ‘real food’ like chicken nuggets. We compromised on a dinner of cold cuts, cheese and crackers.
7:00p.m.: Insanity began to take hold
The children played in their bedrooms until the outside light began to grow dim. My daughter, obviously reaching her breaking point, traveled from room to room flipping the light switches on and off. The realization that we had no electricity began to sink in. “Mommy? Can I watch a cartoon?” I explained that, without electricity, there would be no cartoons. She seemed to accept that answer and then promptly asked for a movie. With that request denied she looked outside at the torrential downpour and asked to play outside. Logic and reason had vacated her little mind. Things were looking grim.
8:00p.m.: Survival Instincts
Daylight had gone completely. It occurred to me that we would need some form of light to get us through the night time hours. Thankfully, my husband had come home and knew the location of one working flashlight. With that source of light I managed to scrounge up a few tea candles, a hazelnut scented pillar candle and a jasmine votive. The world was crashing around us, but our home smelled wonderful!
8:30 p.m.: Sleep
The children were sent to their beds for the night. Both children were suffering the early effects of “screen withdrawal.” Thankfully, our oldest still had battery power on his 3DS or we may have had to sedate him with a Benadryl cocktail.
My husband and I, weary from our evening of hardship, retired to the front porch to relax with a lukewarm adult beverage.
July 9, 2014
7:00 a.m.: A new day
My husband dressed for work. Showers were a luxury we could no longer enjoy. With the loss of power came the loss of our well system. Each family member claimed their own toilet with the bleak knowledge that there would be no flushing any time soon. I remembered that I had read a few articles on how to fashion a sanitary waste disposal system from a bucket, pool noodle and cat litter, but that would only be used in extreme conditions.
9:00a.m. Now what?
With my husband at work, no coffee in the house and two hungry and cranky children, I decided that we needed to get away. Hubby was kind enough to free my mini-van from its garage prison and we were free to hit the highways. Apparently the apocalypse had only hit our street. The rest of the town was running just fine.
We traveled to the closest doughnut shop. The children weren’t sure how to react to these conditions. Running water, hot food and refrigerated drinks were now foreign to them. As I sat, sipping my latte, I worried that they might not adapt. I could not bring them back to the 3rd world conditions that we left behind. They needed to be surrounded by their own kind. We made our way to “Monkey Joe’s,” the local bounce house. After three hours of screaming, running, and bouncing fun I began to catch glimpses of the children I once knew. I knew we could get through this crisis. We would survive.
5:45p.m: After a full day of running around the city we received a cell phone call that power had been restored to our area. We breathed a collective sigh of relief and ventured home. A little older, a little wiser and a lot stronger.
I walk away from this 24 hour crisis secure in the knowledge that, should the true apocalypse come our way, our house will smell lovely as we perish.