Whitesburg KY

Learning to live in dark

Points East

So where were you when the lights went out on Tuesday, January 27?

I was in the kitchen, here at 249 Charlie Brown Road just before 8 a.m. when the lights first flickered, trying to have a phone conversation on a cordless phone. Well before 9 a.m. the power was completely off.

I wrote this on February 2 and I can tell you for sure that no groundhog in Paint Lick has seen his shadow unless somebody was holding a flashlight. We called the power company this morning and they said to not worry about how many days before we had electric service again. The question well may be, how many weeks?

That’s what I get for living at the end of the line. My house is the last one served by RECC on our road and, to the best of my knowledge, I am the easternmost customer.

To paraphrase the old Simon and Garfunkle classic, “I am not a rock but I am an island and not one you want to land on if you need a shower or have problems putting up with body odor.”

Next door neighbor down the street is on KU and called up today to see if I needed to take a bath or do some laundry. I told him nope. We’re going to ripen up a few more days and then go sit in the front office of Intercounty RECC and refuse to move until the power is restored. This may be a test of will. Either I get power or I’ll raise my arms and cause the building to collapse.

We don’t have a cell phone signal within a mile of our home. Cordless phones, of course, have to have electricity power to work. But Loretta has been hoarding up three old cord phones that we paid high dollar for back in the 90s and she’s had them in numerous yard sales priced at 50 cents each or the whole lot for a dollar. No takers, thank you, Lord!

On the other hand, no caller ID which means that we have to answer every call that comes in and hover near a phone jack. It’s no wonder to me that dogs tend to bark loudly when they are on a permanent leash.

There are telemarketers in Florida who have learned new cuss words over the last week because I’ve been teaching them not to call me by addressing them in the height of vulgarity. At first, I just hung up when presented with new life and auto insurance options, the chance to hit new oil in Wyoming, free trials on new vitamins, arthritis miracles, and multiple opportunities to cruise the Caribbean and the South Pacific at huge discounts. Apparently every telemarketer in India, Mexico and Florida (which should be rolled into a single country), knows that my 60th birthday was a recent event and they all believe that turned me into a sucker for every conceivable scam on the planet.

Forgive me yet again, for cussing, Lord, but I’m not sure that I’m the sinner here.

In the meantime, I wish that I’d bought stock in Coleman. Or in Duracell. There’s not a flashlight battery to be had in central Kentucky at this writing, nor a single little quart can of Coleman propane fuel. But we’d learned the hard way back in the 90s to keep a good supply on hand and so far our house, however chilly, is well lighted.

It may smell like kerosene for the rest of our lives, but we are basically comfortable.

Our biggest and only emotional losses thus far have been Phred (our 15- year-old Oscar) along with Mutt and Jeff (our relatively huge 12- year-old twin tinfoil barbs) along with a host of smaller tropical fish who perished when the tank temperatures dropped below 60.

Phred, Mutt and Jeff were buried in a common grave. Loretta managed to get “Catfish”, a 14-inch remnant from the Jurassic age who looks something like the Nautilus from “20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” into a smaller tank and she has taken him to her office. Catfish’s ultimate survival is not guaranteed but if ugly is an asset, he’s apt to make it back to our aquarium and outlive everybody in the family.

Stay tuned. From what we’re told right now, I may be writing about living in the dark ages for weeks to come. And hey, I may even find a place to take a bath come Sunday night. After all, my mom used to say that we had to take a bath every weekend whether we needed it or not.

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