It Could Be Worse~ By Guest Writer Dana Stenholtz

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Last time I wrote, I told you about my daily “thanks” list. I was thinking about that this past Tuesday night, while I sat in my apartment with no electricity and decided to write a list. The list inspired me to write my ongoing thoughts during the outage. So you know what I’m talking about in the following, T is my roommate and CC is my cat. This is what I wrote:

Tuesday, Nov 30th 6pm
No electricity since 9:50am
I am thankful for…

Running water
A working lighter
A gas range
A porch to put stuff on (since it’s 12F outside
The company of T
The company of CC (it’s not bothering him at all)
Juice on the cell phone
My car running
Groceries that are still edible
A roof over my head
Somewhere to sleep
The gas station’s bright lights
This notebook and pen
A flashlight with working batteries
The “promise” from Xcel that it WILL be turned on tomorrow sometime

I suggested candlelight Scrabble to T. Or Yahtzee. Rummy. Checkers. Anything. The answer was, “No. No. No. No.” He says that our personal blackout is “a defining moment” for him. He wants to “soak it all in.” I get that.
Despite writing blind and the absolute silence, I’m okay right now. I’m calling it my winter camping experience. It could be worse. It can always be worse, can it not? If I wanted to, I could read by the light of my cell phone, curled up in bed under 5 blankets, but not yet. I’m choosing to be part of T’s defining moment, sitting on the sofa that so uselessly faces the blank TV. I may have a smoke. The gas stove is preheating for a pizza no longer frozen. It’s going to be okay.

Pizza in the gas-powered oven. Had a smoke. Drinking the last of the vodka and juice. Not so bad, really. I may be an eternal optimist. Not feeling so down, even though “Rudolph” is on at 7pm and I’ll miss it. I just see no point in wallowing. Yes, it’s dark in here, but I’m (finally) grateful this place stays infernally warm—despite being on a corner and underground. Still 67F in here. Perfect!
I told T he could sleep in the bed with me tonight, though. Body heat and all that. Unless CC says otherwise.
We could always go to the bar down the block and walk out on an exceptionally large tab, but that’s not very polite, now is it?
Seriously, it could be so much worse. The shadows are long, yes. But… if you see a shadow, there is light somewhere. Call me Pollyanna. I’m really not going to mind.

Best Pizza Ever! Nothing tastes better than food you feel you truly earned. I’m going to put on my warmest flannel PJs soon and use the flashlight to read a little. All my (dozen) tea candles are burning low. One big one on its last leg in the bathroom, for obvious reasons. T’s getting more agitated. I’m at peace. By the time I wake up, maybe the power will be restored. If not, I can always boil water and pour it over a tea bag.
It’s been worse. I can’t say enough how grateful I am for all the things that still ARE.

Pizza is warm in mah bellahh. Took my night-time meds. Writing by the light of my cell phone. Gonna shut it off to save power and go to bed early. Maybe when I wake up, the power will be back on. If not, at least the sun will be out.
If this IS a defining moment, I’d define it as “Wow, I really am okay!” G’night!

Wednesday, Dec 1st
It’s getting cold in here now. I haven’t slept yet. Too quiet. T’s on the futon, equally restless. Only the cat seems normal. Oh well. Morning in a mere 6 hours.

No electricity yet, but at least the sun is up, so I can see again. Got awfully cold overnight. Didn’t sleep much. It’s amazing how much background noise goes on in such a small space—without all the humming, I heard everything outside, next door, and above me.
Going to cook the rest of the eggs and bacon for breakfast, just in case the power isn’t restored till later. Never been so grateful for a gas range!

Ahhh! Electric Life Returns! It was an interesting 25 hours. T says his “defining moment” totally bummed him out, with the power being shut off. I wasn’t happy about it, but I didn’t feel the end of the world approaching. If nothing else, it helped me appreciate everything a little more.
Still grateful for all the stuff on my list—even Grumpy Pants and his wallowing!

Thanks for another great post, Dana!


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