Fun With the Lights Out

Man, Seattle has been storm central this fall and winter. First, we had those crazy snowstorms a few weeks, which was quite out of character for the Pacific Northwest. Then Thursday and Friday it was a wild ass windstorm, the worst since 1993. Our power went out just after midnight on Thursday. I got up at my normal time Friday morning, unsure of how widespread the outages were and whether or not I should try to get to work. Getting home Thursday night had taken me over two hours as it was and I wasn’t so keen to try to make my way back to Queen Anne. It turned out that that whole area was powerless as well. Tynes called to say the office was closed and that he’d be holding an X-Box controller in his dark living room and weeping. Schools, of course, were also closed the whole family was home.

The first half of the day was actually pretty fun, excepting the lack of coffee (because we couldn’t grind the beans). While computer gamers gnashed their teeth, we just turned to the countless boardgames we have in the house. Nicole reached back to her childhood for Trionimoes, and then Kate pulled out Mag Blast. At this point we hoped the power would come on quickly. By the mid-afternoon it became clear that wasn’t going to be the case, so Nicole got a Flexcar and went out to forage and look for C batteries. We had many other kinds of batteries, but not the Cs we needed for the radio/CD player. She brought home some food but other folks had cleaned out the batteries already.

By 5 pm it was dark and cold outside and inside. Thankfully, we have a gas stove so Nik was able to make dinner and we could have hot drinks like tea and cocoa. Layered up with sweaters and shirts, it wasn’t so bad. After dinner I busted out Betrayal at the House in the Hill, a latter day Avalon Hill game. I figured a game about exploring a dark and spooky house would be fun to play by candlelight. It didn’t kill as much time as I had hoped because when the haunt was revealed, it so happened that Nicole was one move from fulfilling all the victory conditions. Still, a fun game.

Nicole and Kate fell asleep early. I stayed up until about midnight, reading The Unknown Battle: Metz 1944 by flashlight. I woke up at 7 and found the power still out. Boo. Nicole had gotten some ground coffee when she was out, so I made some and read until the girls got up. To this point we had been keep the refrigerator closed in the hopes of keeping in the cool and saving our perishables. With the power company saying it could be up to three days until all outages were repaired, we figured we better start using it. Nicole took chicken bones out of the freezer and starter making a big pot of soup. I started prepping to make breakfast.

At this point the phone rang. I figured it was friends calling to see if we were OK, but no. It was a guy calling us from a game store on his cell phone. He was shopping and wanted to ask some questions about Green Ronin’s line of d20 books. I ended up spending 15 minutes explaining our various lines and books. I guess I could have told him that it was 9:45 on a Saturday and we were without power, but the customer comes first, right? He must have been in a very well stocked store, as he asked me about a lot of our titles and books as old as Book of the Righteous.

Once I was off the phone, I returned to making breakfast. I made cheddar cheese eggs, bacon, and soy sausage. The latter was overkill but I figured better to cook it than throw it away. As I was frying up the bacon and the soy sausage in the same pan, I realized that was taking Home Simpson’s advice to “bacon up that sausage.” Hot food and coffee hit the spot.

After breakfast I began to make plans to take my laptop downtown. I really need to work on the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport this weekend and I couldn’t lose the whole day. As our water is also gas-heated, I was able to shower and man did that feel good. Just as I was starting to pack up my stuff, the phone rang again. It was Jess, asking about Kate’s birthday party. As he was telling about his nightmare trip back from LA last night, the house filled with beeps, screeches, and whirring. The power was back, baby! The house had been blacked out for 34 hours.

Now I can stay home and work instead of fighting crowds. Our cable is out, so internet is dial-in only for the time being. But whatever, we’ve got power, heat, music, and Tivo. The weekend just got a whole lot better.

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