Nine Hours Later... (Or, since I have nothing to do but sit and write...)
The little light shed from our cell phones kept us from knocking our knees on furniture. We looked around for the emergency flashlight that should have been in our room, but finding none, we decided to take a walk. We knew the check-in office had power, we could hear the noisy generator a mile away.
Blackouts are black. Just so you know. There is no light, from ANYTHING. The smoky skies meant no stars. The only lights we could see were the solar powered path lights that some guy across the street and down the road had along his walkway. They looked like glow worms, but it also helped us know which direction was north. We took turns using our cell phones as mini flashlights. I had no way to recharge mine if it went dead while the power was out, so I finally just stopped using it. Mr Nice Guy and I probably looked like a little old couple maneuvering that parking lot.
Over at the office, I asked for a flashlight, because our little home away from home appeared to be missing one. Hours earlier they had kindly provided me with the pasta fork that was also missing, but by this hour they had many more pasta forks than flashlights. So, I asked if the people next door had checked in yet. As hard of a time as WE had finding the place in broad daylight, I imagined nobody else would show up until the sunlight came back for a visit. We got lucky. They weren’t coming that night, so one of the guys went over and swiped the flashlight from the neighboring condo. I only knew it was there because my parents had just stayed a few days in it, and my daughter TOLD me there was a flashlight in the bedroom drawer. Woohoo!
Bummer it had such a dim light. *sigh* But, we were also issued a nice green glow stick, which had a prominent place in the hallway outside our door for the kids to find their way to the bathroom at night. The flashlight stayed downstairs with the girls in case they needed it, and we all got a good nights sleep.
Now my room was way too hot.
So, we opened all the windows in the place and went to bed - early, but exhausted.
About 10:30 p.m. when the power shot back on (and Mr Nice Guy shot straight up in bed) and the carbon monoxide detector screeched its presence, we realized exactly which lights had been left on earlier in the day. Pretty much all of them. Ok, so that’s not true, I had gone around and turned all the switches to OFF, but every single LAMP was now on. And the washing machine started washing. And the fridge started chilling. And the A/C started cooling. Yeah! After turning off all the lamps on both floors, and just leaving the washing machine to do its thing (who CARES about quiet hours in an emergency situation?) and setting the clock and the alarm for the next morning, I went back to bed. And flopped and turned and couldn’t sleep.
About the time I dozed off, the carbon monoxide detector screeched again, announcing its demise and the clock went dark. Good grief. But at least the room was much cooler, so I went around and closed windows. And went back to bed. And fussed and tried to get comfortable. Sunburns still burn in a blackout, I’ve learned.
About 3:30, I heard the detector scream again, a loud shrill bleep that told me it was either coming to life, or dying once more. I heard it a couple more times during the night, each time startling me wide awake. If I could have reached it up on that vaulted ceiling, I would have beat it down with a broom.
Morning came slowly. It always does when you really want it to get here fast. But wakefulness came even slower. Having a dreadful nights sleep meant nobody was in a big rush to get stuff together and cooperate. Thankfully, my oldest was in an unusual state of good spirits. She jumped around gathering things and organizing bags against the wall to go out to the suburban. Nice. I could use this today! Especially since we had nothing planned for breakfast, because we were going to be on the road early, remember? And breakfast was going to be on the road. A treat! Well, that treat didn’t arrive until after 11 a.m. We’re lucky nobody died in the process, but amazingly we all kept our cool.
I take that back. After I got up this morning, and surveyed the amazing mess left over from dinner-in-the-dark, I realized the mayonnaise never made it back to the fridge. It was the one casualty from the blackout, and I took it pretty hard because it was a small jar purchased for around $47.56 plus tax (because remember? We're in the State of California and all that stuff is expensive).
Surprise today: We’re off to Reno! (The long way around, because, after all, the highway we took getting here is closed due to, what else? The Telegraph Fire)