It's funny how we sometimes so easily take for granted things that have become such a part of our lives, we don't even notice them...until they are gone that is.
Such was the case earlier this week when huge storms rolled through the Granbury area, spawning a couple of tornadoes, hail, very high straight line winds, and torrential rains. Even though this sort of weather event is common place for Texas in the springtime, this time around, the effects lingered for the Shearon family.
Thanks to the storm, we lost electricity at our house at about 8:30 PM on Wednesday night. So, using the light we could generate from a couple of lap top computers and three cell phones, we gathered up all the candles we could find throughout the house and got them lit. I have to admit, it's always a little fun to sit around admiring the soft glow of the candle light. After all, the power always comes back on in a few minutes, so this is no huge inconvenience. Right?
Well a few minutes turned into twenty, then forty, then an hour. Okay, enough of the soft glow already. The new is beginning to wear off the candles now, and besides, it's getting a little hot and sticky in the house without the AC. Hmm, now we are getting close to 10:00 PM and it's time to start getting things ready for bed. Have you ever tried to pick out clothes by candle light? Surely the power will be back on before we actually turn in for the night. Or...maybe not.
Well, it's midnight now. That few minutes has turned into more than three hours. Good grief it's really hot in here, and no one can sleep for sticking to the sheets! When will the power come back on?? Surely it will be turned back on by morning...or so we hoped.
Awakened by the gentle tones of the cell phone alarm, I fumble around in the darkness for my glasses and take a peek at the clock radio...the electric clock radio by the bed. Drats! No flashing red numerals! I can't believe the power has still not come back on. About that time the thought hits me - without electricity, there's...NO COFFEE!!! A person can only take so much. So I thought of the old saying, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going"...to the donut shop up on the highway just behind our house. I can see that they have the blessed electricity it takes to brew coffee.
Once the coffee is coursing through the veins, things seem to get a little better - for the moment. So now the whole family is up and trying to get showers and get ready for school and work...still in the dark. So, more candle light is needed. The soft glow is not nearly as appealing this morning as it was for the first ten minutes or so last night. At this point, our oldest daughter has given up all hope of surviving the morning, so she's off to her cousins house across town to get ready for school. Finally, everyone manages to get ready and we all get to our appointed places to begin our Thursday morning routines. I walk into the court room where I work and I take my place at the clerk's desk where I sit during criminal court every Thursday morning. I sit down with my clipboard and my cup of coffee to catch my breath before the Judge comes in to take the bench...and some wise-guy lawyer (who goes to our church and I really do love) who actually had electricity this morning, walks by and says to me - "nice socks." In fear and trepidation, I look down to discover that I have one navy blue and one black sock on. Now in the murky darkness of a candle lit morning, a navy blue and black dress sock look deceivingly similar. Not so under the white hot illumination of the fluorescent lights in the court room. To the contrary, I might as well have been wearing a flashing neon sign on my foot. Needless to say, I never crossed my legs in court that morning and I kept both feet planted squarely on the floor.
As soon as court is over, I head home to change the socks and hopefully to find the power back on. After all, it's now nearly 11:00 AM. Surely after fourteen hours they've been able to get the power back on.
Much to my disappointment when I arrived home for the sock exchange, there was still no power. So now I've grabbed my cell phone, which for the last fourteen hours has been used more as a flash light/alarm clock than phone, and I frantically start dialing the electric company customer service number. After all, I'm a customer and I need service. Upon reaching the customer service representative (after a fifteen to twenty minute hold time) and giving her my name and address, it was requested of me that I hold while she checked to see if I was in the "downed service grid." I proceeded to explain to the lady that I was most definitely in the "downed service grid" because I was standing next to the light switch and I was flipping it up and down and nothing was happening. To which she replied, "please hold." So I held.
A few minutes later, she came back on the line and confirmed that I was indeed in the "downed service grid," and that there were crews out working diligently to repair the service. Nothing that she had told me up to this point seemed to be much of a revelation, so I pressed for a little more definitive answer as to when we might expect to have power restored. At which time I received the mother of all "downed service grid" bad news..."it could be anywhere from several more hours to several more days." What?! Several more days?? How could she sit on the other end of this phone line and tell me, while I'm standing here in my one navy blue and one black dress sock, that I could potentially be looking at another several days of this electrically deprived life?
Faced with this possibility, my thoughts now turned to something of the most critical importance at times like this - food. What about all that meat we have in the freezer out in the garage? For the love of pork chops, I couldn't stand the thoughts of letting all that meat defrost and spoil. So like any red blooded American male, I went into emergency management mode. I had to act and I had to act fast, so I sprang into action. I grabbed my cell phone and squeezed out the final precious few seconds I had in the battery to call my sister across town to inquire about the availability of her freezer. Eureka! Her freezer was empty. So I ran to the freezer to begin unloading all the meat into shopping bags and a small ice chest. Now those of you who know me, probably know that I ride a small Daytona Scooter. It's not one of my vehicles that I drive, it' the only vehicle I drive, unless my wife and my daughter are not using their vehicles, which of course, on this day they were. So I packed the storage compartment under the seat full of meat, and I sat the ice chest full of meat on the foot deck of the scooter between my feet and for good measure, I stacked a box of half defrosted corny dogs and a package of chicken legs on top of the ice chest, and off I went across town to my sisters house in Acton.
After two hours and several trips back and forth across town transferring our soon to be thawed meat into my sisters freezer, I arrived back home at around 2:30 PM to see the electric company repair truck parked in the field down the street from our house. As I pulled into our driveway, my outside security lights flickered twice and then came to life. Our electricity had been restored! I was so happy to have the power back on at that moment, I didn't even care that I had just spent the last two hours hauling a freezer full of meat (by scooter) across town.
As I went into the house to close the windows, turn on the AC and start the monumental task of resetting all the clocks, a couple of thoughts occurred to me. The first was this - how totally spoiled I am to the modern conveniences of life, and the second was this - how little appreciation I have for the little things that I just take for granted each and every day. I go to the light switch and I flip it and I just expect to see light...never giving thought to the technological marvel of electricity and to how important it is in our daily lives.
It made me really stop and think about how often I fail to give God thanks for the "small, everyday" ways He blesses me. Unfortunately, it often takes losing something, even temporarily, to remind us of how blessed we truly are. How awesome would it be if we could all live each and every day in a conscious and deliberate attitude of thanks for all God has blessed us with.
3 days ago