About an hour ago, our electricity went out. No blink or fade out, just snap and it was gone. Bob and I paused and waited for it to return. After a minute, we figured it wasn't going to magically snap back on, not this time.
"I hope it's not just us," said Bob. My husband bundled up and went to the see if anything happened at our main box outside - after first checking the fuse box in the basement.
While Bob was outside, a neighbor stopped to talk to him. Jim said his electricity was out, too - so we weren't alone. The electric company said Jim had been the first to call with notification of the problem.
It's about 10°F outside. The sun is shining, but a wicked wind is blowing. As the wind crosses the open fields it builds strength and takes the heat out of our house.
Everything we have needs electricity, even our heat, so nothing is running.
The house is quiet. No humming fridge, no radio, only the ticking of a battery-operated clock so we know the time. Of course, there's no Internet because our router is run by electricity, but my lap top has a battery and I can write until the battery runs down - I'm trying to type fast.
Bob automatically went to sit at his desk in front of his computer. His computer doesn't have a battery, so he can't even play Solitaire there.
From there, Bob went into the living room, sat in his chair, and bundled up in a blanket. When he started laughing, I had to know why.
"I got comfortable and then went to put my chair back," he said. We both laughed. He has a power lift chair, which he got after his hip operation. Of course, it doesn't move unless there's electricity.
"At least you weren't lounging back in it when we went dark," I said. "We'd have a heck of a time getting you out from there." I imagined him kicking his feet trying to get free of that chair.
It's an hour and a half now. Bob and I marvel at how we take electricity for granted. We expect it to always be there when we flip a switch or punch a button.
I can't cook either, which is what I do when things get stressful. I can't even heat up a cup of water and make tea - my hands are getting cold as I'm typing these words, but I think I can go awhile before I try to type with gloves on.
Bob and I remembered back to our younger days in Illinois. The electricity always seemed to be going out back then.
My parents' home was heated by an oil space heater. The only thing good about that heater was that it didn't need electricity to run. Mom kept it on low to save fuel.
Our house was small and it usually didn't take much to heat it, except when the weather was extremely cold and windy. I remember bundling up and then sitting on that heater. I never burnt my bottom either, that's how low it was set.
Eventually, I expect our electricity to return and then we will celebrate, but right now we're still waiting - can't even get tap water, except for a trickle that's still in the pipes and that will be gone soon.
Before Bob dozed off in his chair, he said, "I don't envy the crew who has to go outside to fix this." He's right. Someone is out there trying to remedy the problem. I bet that crew is really feeling the cold right now and I thank them for their service but please hurry.
Of course, there's always someone else in worse shape. Without electricity it's really difficult milking a herd of cows, cleaning up afterward, and keeping everything from freezing. Our neighbors are faced with that problem right now.
So here Bob and I sit, waiting and wondering. It's two hours now. Hopefully I can give this column a happy ending soon, before my computer battery runs out - right now, I'm wishing we had a fireplace - we're worrying what we'll do to keep from freezing if the power doesn't return today.
Three hours and we have electricity. What a lovely sound to hear the furnace turn on. Thank you We Energies crew for coming out in the cold.
Remember, on Feb. 16, Colleen Sutherland and I will have a book signing at Sissy's, in Seymour from 2-4 p.m. Colleen will have copies of her romance Yesterday's Secrets, Tomorrow's Promises and I'll have Never Bring Her Roses, plus Words in My Pocket Books 1 and 2. See you there.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke.