Blackouts

Do you know what is annoying?  Power cuts.

I was warned about them before we returned.  My close friend sent me a text saying, “Because we are friends, I feel that I should warn you…” and she went on to tell me about the extended power cuts and the fuel shortages and rise in cost for water.  When we first arrived, the electricity tricked me into believing that it wasn’t “that bad” because it actually stayed on for the most part of a 24 hour period.  But then it turned around and laughed squarely in my face, spraying patches of spittle in the process.  Electricity can be so gross sometimes.  With bad breath.

Reality set in when we burned through a tank of diesel quickly by running our generator during the entirety of the power cuts, so we’ve now set ourselves on a strict usage policy: 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at sunset until bedtime.  This usually means that we are in bed by 8 p.m and up at 5 a.m. to maximize the natural daylight hours.  That might also be jet lag talking.  I slept in until 7 a.m. this morning.  But the policy still remains.  If there is no electricity, the generator only runs for a maximum of four hours per day.

The other day, after 26 hours of uninterrupted blackout, the electricity was finally restored for a full four minutes.  FOUR MINUTES!  I nearly screamed when it shut off!  Thankfully, though, an hour later, the electricity came back on.  The timing was a lot better, actually, because I had to get ready for a wedding (yes, weddings are still going on in the midst of all this!  You can’t stop love!) and my hair straightener is a difficult draw on the generator.  Also difficult for the generator is our air conditioner, so when we aren’t on the city grid, we deal with the heat issue by opening all the windows to maximize air flow.  With air flow, comes dust.  I can dust a table in the morning and by afternoon it is covered in a layer that can be swept through with a finger, leaving a clear trail.  Oh wait… who am I kidding?  I don’t dust.  My maid does.  But still, the layer is thick by afternoon. I think the most annoying part of the power cuts (besides no Internet access to whine to you all about it), is not being able to use my fan at night time.  I am slowly getting used to the stagnant, hot air – willing myself not to go crazy by the feeling of being suffocated by the very element that I need to stay alive.

Before we came back, I had heard that there was a 48 hour period of blackout.  I was instantly worried about my deep freezer.  I knew that I had stocked it with meat and vegetables.  I was worried that all that food would be spoiled, and the deep freezer itself would be ruined by rancid liquid seeping into the insulation.  Checking out the status of my beloved stash was one of my first priorities upon arriving home.  After setting down my bags, I opened the freezer.  My  eyes set on the patches of ice attached to the sides of the freezer.  Good sign?  I would think so, but I’m not expert.  I’m glad that I have Grade 5 science under my belt.  Logical deduction told me that if there had been ice on the side of the freezer before and it had melted then there would be a sheet of ice on the bottom of the freezer.  I pulled everything out and discovered that the bottom was free and clear of ice, and dry.  A very good sign.  So confident was I by my conclusion, I pulled out the hamburger patties that I had prepared before I had left in the first place and used them for lunch.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to throw out the opened mayonnaise from the fridge and other items that would not have sustained such a long warm spell.  It’s been 5 days since we ate the burgers and we have not gotten sick.  Win for us! Especially since there are more burger patties in the freezer and a roast and a roasting chicken.  I think we are in the clear to use the stockpile.  I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  In a situation where the little things in life are more work now (it took The Mister 3 days to get fuel for our car), the victories are just that much more sweet.

The click of the electricity kicking back in has now become a source of cheering in our family – a bright spot in more than one way in our day.  It is also the jolt to get all the things done that I can only do while the electricity is on – like make toast or iron or use my hair styling tools or watch the news to see what’s going on.  Or post on my blog!  I can’t promise that I’ll be posting as regularly as I am used to posting.  You can rest assured, though, that if there is no update from me, I’m probably just as bored by it is as you are – sitting in the dark.  Sighing. Waiting for the next oppportunity to cheer.

See you at the next click!

4 thoughts on “Blackouts

  1. Melissa says:

    Sorry you’re going thru that situation….but you sure seem optimistic and have kept your sense of humour. Kudos to you! The things we take for granted eh in Canada.

  2. H says:

    Sounds like you could use some good solar panels and giant batteries. Or lots of hamsters.

  3. marymuses says:

    Is it wrong that hearing of your power cuts makes me nostalgic for Ethiopia? By the end, when it would turn off, we’d just go, “Huh. There it goes again.” That is the luxury of being only temporary guests in a country as opposed to knowing that this might just be life for awhile. We could just be amused by it and maybe have too much fun with our giant lanterns as opposed to wondering if our food would stay frozen. (Because what food? Someone else cooks our food! Let them worry about it!) Sorry especially about the stagnant night air; that’s really the worst. I hope things get sorted soon.

  4. fiona says:

    Oh man. That sucks. Will pray for patience for you all.

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