Saturday, June 03, 2006

Overheated Fat Lady Tells Story

5:00 pm Returned from the grocery store where I purchased copious amounts of dog food and cat litter only to discover that the electricity was out.

My first hint was that the garage door would not open. How was I to return my dear Nissan to the safe haven of my 140 degree garage? At first I thought maybe my husband was on the other side holding the garage door down. He thinks little things like that are funny. Sometimes he hears me exiting my car in the garage, so he quickly locks the entrance door to the kitchen. Things like that. Personally, I think it’s a personality disorder, but it makes him laugh. And I laugh too, just so he’s not laughing alone.

I had to enter our home by the front door, which I rarely ever do. You know how it is, people entering and exiting their home through their garages in their cars, never meeting their neighbors. A sad fact of urban life.

It was one of the few times I’ve had to try to locate my key on the key chain, but it was easy because I had them make me a psychedelic one last time I was at Home Depot. Ever seen one? Very cute. There were three door hanger commercials on the front door handle. I guess I should make it a point to open the front door once in a while.

My husband was sitting on the phone listening to the electric company canned messages, “Press 1 if you have a question about billing or your account,” “Press 2 if you are interested in new service,” “Press 3 if you are trying to reach an employee,” “Press 4 if you have an electrical outage in a commercial building,” “Press 5 if you have an electrical outage in a residential building.” There would be more, but my husband pressed 5 and listened to the bad news—a power outage in our area caused by an interruption in a major power delivery cable which would probably not be fixed until 8:00 pm.

The first thing you notice when the power is out in your home is of course, the quiet. Why is it that when everything is running--the refrigerator, the fans, the air conditioning, the television, the clocks—you don’t feel compelled to run screaming out of there with your hands over your ears? It is just such a part of our lives to have constant noise pulsing and ringing and hissing and beeping and whirring. This world of electricity is really too noisy. I digress. My house was very quiet.

In Phoenix today it was the hottest day of the year so far, 111 degrees according to the thermometer on my husband’s vehicle. My kitchen is being remodeled so I haven’t really been shopping for several weeks (we have eaten at nearly every eatery within a two-mile radius because you can’t really cook without a sink, and there is some hold-up with the counters and you can’t put the sink in until the counters are ready, etc.--another story), so my fridge is quite empty. Also, if you don’t open a fridge much it takes at least three or four hours before it actually loses its coolness enough to matter, or so I’ve heard. The point is, I wasn’t so much concerned about food being destroyed as I was about my own melting temperature, which is 88, and it was already 84 degrees in my house. So I determined to curb my activities (i.e., no cleaning) in order to keep my body temperature from overheating the house. So how to cool myself down? I decided to take a nice luxurious, cool bath. I got out of my sweaty clothes and into the tub. “Ah, Calgon take me away,” as those of us old enough to know what that means used to say. I soaked and enjoyed the longest bath ever.

My body sufficiently cooled and dressed in jammies, I set out to find some candles. Now, I have been to 20 or so candle parties in the past five years (you know what I’m talking about, ladies), so it was not difficult to scare up ten or fifteen candles which I lit in various rooms. Did I say that even though the power company said 8:00 pm I really had no confidence that it was actually going to be back on by then? What to do? How does one occupy oneself for over two hours without a computer or television or lights or air conditioning? (My husband was working on his battery powered laptop computer and listening to the Suns play on his battery powered radio, so he was set.) An idea!

“Why not write an article for FDW while I am captive to these circumstances?” I arranged eight candles on my dining room table, found some paper to write on (Writing by hand! Could I remember how to do it?), and proceeded to put pen to paper. Have you ever sat next to eight candles? Sweat started to pour off my face in my 88 degree house. Critical mass! Critical mass!

Click, whirrrr--the sounds I have grown to love and expect! Ah, the sweet relief of AC. Thank you, Lord. Okay, back to the computer.


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