Early this morning, and I mean 3 a.m. early, a line of thunderstorms ripped through the area. The lower half of the state is getting pounded with precipitation while the area I live in is just settling in for about 20 to 30 hours of steady "spitting."
At about 3:30 a.m., they power flickered and went out for about 25 minutes ... no big deal. But even as I sensed the subtle change in the house , I got a tingle of "crisis mode" because I realized I wasn't prepared.
I mentioned several weeks ago that I was relocating and temporarily staying with a married pair of older relatives. They happened to be away for the weekend and I knew nothing about their domestic levels of emergency preparedness. In my former abode, I was like a Boy Scout on steroids. In my kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, front entry closet, and garage, were easily-accessible drawers containing a flashlight, at least three candles, a box of wood matches, and one of those butane "grill lighters." The bedroom and garage "caches" additionally held those crank-on-the-side/don't need batteries type flashlights complete with built-in AM/FM radios, and a had an easy-to-reach box with four of those "camper light" flashlights packed right beside my Christmas lights so I would remember to get new batteries each year. I also kept a decent first-aid kit in the linen closet, as well as the trunk of my car, and a mag lite and fuse/water valve diagram taped to the side of my electrical box. And for more "personal" type of emergencies, I kept fully-stocked shaving kits ... deodorant, toothbrush and paste, soap, small cologne, sewing kit, disposable razor, hand towel, tweezers, nail clippers, condoms, dental floss, aspirin, hair gel, etc. ... as well as a basic change of clothes in my car trunk and filing cabinet at work.
But this morning, as the thunder rumbled through my new neighborhood, I was alone in a dark partially-finished basement bedroom. My candles and flashlights were labelled and packed away, waiting to safeguard my future place of residence. I was doomed ...
... for, like I said, about 20 or 25 minutes. My petite panic attack was "ridden out" in the comfort of my queen-sized bed, and my still-sleepy brain kept me from trying to find my way around in what was a very cramped, lightless space. I probably drifted a little, so it seemed like mere minutes of "oh,no ... what will I do?" distress.
I blame my Mom. As I look at my list of emergency preparations (and there are some I didn't mention), I realize that I had no childhood role models for being ready for anything. My parents, Mom especially, really let us kids be responsible for ourselves and our actions. We picked out our clothes and we, for the most part, decided our own fates about washing faces and brushing teeth. If we looked foolish and smelled bad, we were the ones who faced the ridicule. And we were kids, so we didn't really give a rat's ass about a good many things. And in regards to emergencies, my parents both had cool heads. We never hid from hailstones or cowered in the basement during a tornado warning. And if the lights went out, my Mom bumped around the kitchen lighting her favorite antique hurricane lamps and eventually locating a few loose candles ... usually the little birthday kind ... to help light up the gloom.
Thanks, Mom, for my old closet stockpiled with at least 48 rolls of toilet paper. And thanks, Dad, for my box heaping full of shaving cream and deodorant. And thank you both, up in Heaven, for seldom being on time so that now my siblings and myself are almost manic about being on time.
POINT OF RANT: A flashlight is only as good as your ability to keep fresh batteries on hand.