The Blackout of 2003

I have heard today that it is the 10 year anniversary of “The Blackout” so I have been thinking about that day, about what happened, and how different our lives are today.

I was about half way through my pregnancy with Molly.  She was my second pregnancy, and after having a missed miscarriage at 13 weeks with my first, I was still feeling nervous about this one.  It was unbelievably hot that week.  Being at least half Irish I am not made for the heat at the best of times.  Pregnant me dedicates her life to seeking out the cold.  So when the air conditioning shut off, this was very bad.

The power went off in the late afternoon.  So of course after the thought of being hot, dinner was my next point of panic.  At this point I assumed it to be a local outage.  We were just heading out the door to find a cool restaurant at which I could stuff myself with Italian food (oh those soothing carbs), when my dad arrived and had the good grace not to laugh in our faces at our stupidity when he told us that most of the Eastern half of North America were without power.

It was clear then what we had to do.

Fly to Italy for dinner.

I had a lot of perfectly reasonable requests when I was pregnant, and this was just one example.  Men are just so uncooperative.

So while I sat stunned on the couch and drowning my sorrows in trail mix, I had a sudden moment of clarity.  I had to take charge.  So I declared to Nerdguy: “We have to ration this!”  I was about to start measuring out baggies of nuts and fruit (and to siphon all of the M&Ms into a secret bag just for me) that would rival any drug lord’s level of precision.  I turned to Nerdguy to instruct him on where to find my good sharpies, and ask him to calibrate the kitchen scale, when I noticed his face going beet red.

Oh no!  The stress of it all has given him a heart attack!  And because our phones run on computers instead of hamsters like phones should be run, I can’t even call 911!  Dammit Nerdguy and your nerd phones!  Oh wait…no…his face is red from laughing.  At me.  About the rationing.

He was right.  I didn’t need the scale, the sharpies, or the baggies.  Because he was no longer getting any trail mix.  He would have to go out and hunt for his own, and we’d see who was laughing then.

It got a little bit dodgy for a while there, with mention of Lord of the Flies and plane crashes in the Andes.  I blame the lack of carbs.

Soon after that he had the good sense to fire up the gas barbecue and cook us some dinner.

In the meantime my father had set up some kind of command van on our driveway.  He has more antennae than the local police, and while it normally draws looks of curiosity from people, on that day it became clear who the man with the plan was for our street.  I looked out my window and half the neighbourhood was crowded around his van trying to find out the latest information.

I hid the trail mix.

They looked like looters.

We were supposed to leave for camping the next day, and although I was a bit nervous to be away from the house in case something happened, we figured that it might be cooler in a tent than in our house.

We were wrong.

Hottest camping trip ever.

But we survived.  I don’t remember when we got power back.  I do know that when we got it back we ran the a/c even though we weren’t supposed to.  And I ate all the trail mix.

This picture makes me laugh…the sunfire, the tiny tent and the beige pants without sticky handprints…so different than how we camp now:

A giant tent, TWO minivans, and dark clothing at all times.

Since that time we have had 3 kids, a new air conditioner, a lot more grey hair, and I am still getting teased about rationing things.  But now I ration out the bran bars.  Because you know.  Fiber.


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