In the dark


electricity (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

Last night we arrived at the cottage to discover the power was out.  It was 11 pm, we were all tired from a full day at camp/work, followed by a nearly 4 hour drive. We quickly located several flashlight and Mr. Magic (aka M’s dad) checked the fuse box to see if by chance, the most recent visitors (my mother and brother) had accidentally turned it off – given that there was still food in the refrigerator, it didn’t seem likely. His smart phone still was working and he was able to check the power company’s website and determined that the power was out in a large number of communities across the province. No big surprise, after a series of intense a thunderstorms earlier that afternoon. According to the website, our power wasn’t expected to be restored until Sunday – at least a day and a half away. We were expecting company on Saturday morning, but figured that they might not be interested in coming once they found out we had no electricity. It was too late to call, so we planned to call them in the morning before they left and let them know.

M seemed to be ok with the lack of electricity, until he found out that it might be another 24 hours before it was restored. Then he got upset and started asking to go home, saying he “couldn’t live without power.”  What would he do with himself if he couldn’t play MindCraft on the computer?

Given the lateness of the hour, neither Mr.Magic nor I were particularly sympathetic. M refused to go to bed, proclaiming “he couldn’t sleep, knowing there was no electricity.” Since we were both exhausted, all we wanted to do was go to bed. We dragged out suitcases in from the car and rummaged around to find pjs and toiletry cases.

We were in the cottage for a good 15 minutes before Mr. Magic discovered some candles on a shelf (hard to see when it’s pitch black and you’re not looking for them).  He lit them, which made a big difference. We quickly rounded up some others and suddenly the dark, uninviting cottage became quite cozy. I wouldn’t recommend taking out your contact lenses by candle light as a general practice, but it works in a pinch.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up to the news that the power wasn’t scheduled to be restored until 11  pm the next day. We called our guests and they decided to come anyway. M was rummaging through a box of junk sitting on a shelf (the same shelf that held the candles) and found a gadget that contained, among other things, a little knife. He wandered outside and returned with a stick. “Can I whittle/” he asked?  I clearly remember that when my brothers and my cousin’s were M’s age, they spent a fair amount of time playing with pocket knives and pieces of wood, so I didn’t have a problem with him trying his hand at it. He spent at least 90 minutes out on the deck, happily whittling. He cut his finger at one point, but once it was bandaged up, he was right back at, knife in one hand, stick on another.

The power came on a short while later. Turns out the wind had blown a tree down on the wires not far from our cottage. M and his dad wandered down the road to watch the crew cut down the branch and fix the line.  Once he got back into the cottage, M made a bee-line for hos DS and started playing a game.

As inconvenient as it would have been to prepare meals for 6 people using only a BBQ, I was a bit disappointed that the power came back on so quickly. Without access to his games, M would have had to rely on his imagination to keep himself occupied. I have no doubt he would have done just fine.

Maybe if have another bad storm and the electricity gets knocked out, he”ll have another opportunity. We’ve put at least one candle in every room, just in case.


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