It was just about my bedtime when our No. 1 son popped in for an impromptu visit. Well, impromptu or not, I was ready for him this time. I finally remembered to write down the things I needed to ask him about. Usually, I think up eight things to talk to him about and then when I see him, none of those things come to mind.
Part of the problem is he comes in like a tornado — all wind and fury for a little bit and then poof! he’s gone and I didn’t remember anything I wanted to say.
This time, I wrote them down and asked him and basically forgot all his answers because as we were talking poof! the lights went out and we were all sitting there in the dark.
And this time, nobody had tripped the breakers doing something silly like running the vacuum with the heater plugged in or trying to run three appliances in the kitchen at the same time. All three of us (and our Beagle Boy Cletus) were just sitting there minding our own.
The flashlights were easy enough to find. Well, after the boy practically face-planted in the hall in front of the fridge after tripping over the heater in the kitchen. The lights went out and he just made a mad dash for the hall.
My maternal extinct was on vacation as I had a horrible case of the giggles while I tried to ask if he was OK. I completely empathized with the pain he had in his shin, just like the one we’ve all gotten from forgetting about the hitch on the back of the truck.
I’ve been there, done that and know how bad it hurts but still couldn’t control the giggles.
He’s lived in that house the majority of his 26 years and can maneuver through it quite nicely, even in the dark, until we put something new in his way, like the heater, that’s about mid-shin high, invisible in the dark and wasn’t there when he lived there.
It’s just like the bucket I put in the utility room doorway to catch the water drips in a January thaw. He rounded the corner of the fridge, his size 12 boot connected with the bucket and water flew all over the utility room.
After the collision with the heater, he blurted out a few choice words and then poof! he was gone and Dave and I were left to start looking for the rest of the flashlights. I had a momentary lapse of judgment and thought about digging out the candles.
I can’t do that at bedtime. So I drug the kerosene heater in off the back porch and lit it. That gave us some heat and a little light while I gathered up the little tap lights I’ve been playing with since the last time the lights went out. That was not a fun time for me.
We were already in bed that time. I made my way through our bedroom and the upstairs hall to the front room and the stairs. One step at a time I made it down to the living room, crossed it, missing the coffee table, maneuvering the "drunk catcher" step down into the kitchen and finally found a flashlight.
Yeah, that’s not happening again. We put flashlights upstairs in our room and downstairs in the kitchen and bought a bunch of batteries for the tap lights. I had them strategically placed all over the house — on the landing at the bottom of the steps, on our dresser, on the cedar chest in the front room and the rest in the utility room.
We were set, or so I thought. Unfortunately, most of the batteries were either dead or dying. I put what batteries we had in the lights and put batteries on the grocery list. I turned off the kerosene heater and was about to head for bed when I noticed Mr. Cletus didn’t have much of anything in his water bowl.
It’s understood that in a house with a well, you don’t have any water when the power is out. OK, so you can’t flush. Fair enough. But how can I fill the dog’s water bowl? Ever the charmer, Dave asked if we had anything else the dog would drink.
I don’t know, he’s kind of partial to those Redd’s Apple Ales but that wasn’t what I had in mind. I thought about dipping some water out of the toilet for him. Dukie and our granddog Bo drank out of the toilet all the time.
I thought about bringing in a bucket full of snow and melting it but I’d need electric for that. I had been hearing the thump, thump, thump of water dripping off the porch roof all evening, so I put a pan under that and then it finally dawned on me where I could get water.
I emptied the spray bottle Dave uses to water the plants into Cletus’ bowl and went to bed. And, with no TV or fan to help me drift off to sleep, I started pondering the idea our son had a couple of years ago about a rain barrel.
That, and keeping a jug of water on hand for the next time.
Copyright 2018 Laura Nethken