Updated: Oct 24, 2021
The WRite Life
It is a burden not having electricity. When Pacific Gas and Electric, PG&E called to inform me that my power may be shut off for two days because of high winds and fire danger, I was hopeful that the winds wouldn’t come. Losing my power is becoming a yearly experience here in Northern California. Ever since PG&E was responsible for causing fires that have destroyed forests, animals, homes, and have taken lives the company is diligent in turning off power whenever there is any wind during the fire season which is getting longer every year.
My son started school on Monday. My daughter was scheduled to start today, Wednesday August 19th. On Tuesday I was called by PG&E to inform me that yes, the power would be shut off and fours sooner than was earlier said. There would be no school for my daughter—her school uses PG&E as well.
Anika was anxious to know whom her homeroom teacher would be, anxious to know if any of her friends were in her class. We rushed to her school to look at the class list. We were told the information was online. We drove home before we lost internet connection to look this up. As can be imagined, this was a huge deal; Anika was starting middle school. In the end her first day might work better on another day. She had wanted me to curl her hair for the first day. We hadn’t worked out the details; she would be at her dad’s house this evening, and she felt he wouldn’t be fond of dropping her off at my house so I can do her hair.
My son still had school. I decided that he and I would stay home for the night. He would sleep better and get off to school feeling more rested if he was home. Even though we had no electricity, no internet, no hot water.
I have a gas stove. I made us burritos, warming the left overs on my stovetop.
Later, I enjoyed the light wind as it blew some of the smoke from nearby fires out of the air. I played the piano instead of talking on the phone or looking at my emails. I heard Elias pick up his ukulele, and then he played the piano. Music, blue skies is all what I love—for the moment life felt less hectic. I felt more at ease.
As the sun started to set, Elias walked around the house asking what he was supposed to do without internet. His video games had to remain in cyberland. I thought I better hurry and collect flashlights and head lamps. The head lamps did not work. I forgot how dark it gets in my house, on my property. There are no street lights. We live on four acres and my neighbors’ houses were dark, except for the occasional light from a window from those who have generators.
I had a downloaded movie on my iPad, Catch Me If You Can. Elias wanted to watch a movie on the iPad in the same room where we watch TV. He, like his mother, is a boy of routine. When it was time for bed, we made our way through the darken house with the flashlights from our phones and said our goodnights.
I dropped him off at school and went to Starbucks to use its internet. I have never been one to work in public places. I get too distracted. Even while in college I only studied and read in rooms by myself. And yet, I needed to finish a query letter and send it. I was behind on my blogs and emails. I was happy to discover that all I had to do was park in front of Starbucks to get reception. I never even went in. I worked in the backseat of my car for over 90 minutes.
I drove home to work on edits. I was thankful that it wasn’t too hot yet and though my house wasn’t cool, it wasn’t hot either. I ate a bowl of cereal with tepid almond milk—the kids’ cow milk, yogurt, and ice creams would all have to be tossed in the garbage. It was nice to write and think with no connection to the world wide web, the phone ringing. I read my printed manuscript, making notes.
I opened my computer to write this article. I had 25% percent left of battery on my computer. I used the battery all up. Then I read and played the piano.