Your regularly scheduled rants about my strange childhood and terrible taste in media have been interrupted for the time being. The power is out AGAIN, and is expected to be out for at least three days. As well, the phone lines went out and the road was scheduled for closure Thursday. So instead of waking up nice and early, packing, and then having a nice evening with my spouse, I slept in until noon by accident. Then discovered the phones were out, so I threw on some of the least-wrinkled clothes I could find on the floor and traipsed down to the general store. Everyone else had the same idea, it seems, but in a town of a few hundred people, there are only two or three places you can find free wifi, hot meals, and the latest news about our shitty community all in one place.
Now, last time this happened, I was working night shift. I would bring my food to work, where we had a generator, and cook and eat it there. I also brought my frozen goods to work so they could be stored in the work freezer. I slept during the day, when it was much warmer. I lit as many candles as I could find, wore several layers of clothes to bed, and used FOUR comforters (one was a sleeping bag) for me and my two cats to sleep under. I normally don’t let kitties in the bedroom, but this was an exception.
The biggest issue for me was taking care of my tortoise, whose species originated in the Amazon. She needs a very warm environment, and she needs humidity. Both of which cannot be found in northwest BC in the middle of February if no one has electricity. My boss was fine with her becoming an office tortoise and derping around in the storage room so at least she wouldn’t die, but it wasn’t ideal.
(Oh, and showers — that’s an issue too, but it mostly worked out. My hot water tank is huge so there were reserves to last several days. I conserved hot water by quickly washing my face and sponge-bathing in the morning and just using dry shampoo on my hair. If I got desperate, I knew that the local health centre had full generator coverage and that they were offering hot showers and meals to those who needed them.)
So this time around, I just happened to be on days off and just happened to be heading out to visit my husband. Fortunately I had enough time to pack all the animals into the car. My husband is severely allergic to cats, but he had enough warning to allow him to pop a few Benadryl. My plan was actually to bring them to a kennel so that I could spare my husband the laboured breathing and hives that usually occur when he comes into contact with cats. But everything worked out well. My husband LOVES the cats, and the cats were enthralled by the new locale (although not the drive — one cat is very sensitive and ended up getting sick from both ends a mere half hour into the five-hour trip). I also just realized that the cats have spent their entire three years of life living on a quiet street, with only one neighbour, and they’ve never seen a TV before… so all of a sudden they’re in a town that’s over 20 times bigger than the one they’re used to, and they get to deal with the scary sounds of barking dogs, constant traffic, and Bob’s Burgers.
But my tortoise is safe and warm in the humid bathroom where she gets a nice long soak each day. The cats get a warm place to sleep and I can use just one comforter tonight, like a normal person, instead of four. And I can cook whatever I want, take a real shower whenever I want, and go about my day without worry that my pipes (and pets, and family members) are all going to freeze and be destroyed. These are things I grew up expecting. These are things I am trying not to take for granted now.