Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Remember Electricity? Those Were the Days

Waco got hit with a helluva lighning and thunder storm overnight (not the one pictured to the left, but probably close to that). It started about 2 a.m., and by 3 a.m. our 9-year-old daughter was in our room, frightened to death by what sounded like Armageddon being fought outside our windows. The rain came down harder than I've seen it in a long, long time, and our normally bone dry August Texas lawn was fast becoming a lake.

At around 4:15 a.m. our power went out, so we got to listen to the sonic booms in a room lit only by candles. Finally, the storm moved off -- at least the lightning and thunder part -- and we were able to get some sleep.

I had to take my morning constitutional in the dark, with the help of a lone flashlight. I can't be sure that I shaved well, or have matching clothes on. It's harder than you think to get groomed and dressed in the dark.

We forget how utterly, hopelessly dependent most of us are on electricity and modern conveniences until we lose power for an extended period of time. Just about every part of my morning routine had to be altered in some way because we had no juice. I couldn't even drive the car out of the garage in the normal way to go to work because I rely on electricity to open the door for me.

The neat thing was, though, that this morning brought something I usually don't hear getting ready for work -- quiet. There was no TV blaring with the morning news, no toaster popping, no radio going, no blow driers whooshing. There wasn't even an air conditioner humming. All there was was darkness, and the steady beat of the rain on the roof. I found it very comforting, except for the fact that I knew a gallon of ice cream in the freezer was slowly melting away.

Mrs. Muley stayed home with our daughter, awaiting the renewal of precious power. She called me about 10 a.m. to report that the power hadn't yet come back on at our house, so with the help of our daughter she cleaned out our refrigerator of all the most crucial items and drove across town to her mother's house, where the power was still on. Just as she had transferred the items to the new refrigerator, the power went off at my mother-in-law's house as well. So now my wife is in the dark again, and the ice cream has resumed melting.

Power is out all across Waco, so we're forced to patiently wait our turn. I hope things get back to normal soon. But I can surely be thankful for answered prayers that we didn't get hit by lightning or flooded out. And I am also thankful for being forced to pause and consider just how fragile my reliance on something as basic as electricity really is.

UPDATE: It's 12:05 p.m., and still no power in either our house or my mother-in-law's. My daughter has been placed in the house of a friend with available electricity, and Mrs. Muley has made it to work. If we still don't have power by tonight, we're considering taking a cue from Gilligan's Island and rigging up an old stationary exercise bike to provide pedal-power electricity. Guess who gets the first riding assignment.

FINAL UPDATE: It's 1:30 p.m., and since we can now get our answering machine to answer when we call home, we believe our power is finally back on. It's still raining, though, and reports of scattered flooding continue to seep in from throughout Central Texas.


nightfly said...

Hey, I hope you guys are getting back on track down there. Nobody hurt, I hope...

Muley said...

Nobody here hurt, although we did have the required one person who ignored the warnings not to try to cross a flooded low-water area and got swept away and drowned.

Where I live, we got about 5 inches yesterday. This means I'll have to cut the grass AGAIN this week. But we're glad everything's OK. Thanks for asking.