Friday, November 6, 2015

back to black(out)

Tuesday was uncharacteristically chilly and wet by San Diego standards. We loved it! Any weather at all is pure novelty for us sunlovers, and it’s been so incredibly hot for the past few months that the entire town let out a rousing yahoo when we finally had the chance to don sleeves and socks. Granted, most of us were sweating right through our stylish fall wardrobes by noon, but still.

After work I met my boys at home and made an unremarkable dinner of dirty rice, edamame and salad. I saved a plate for my girl then left to pick her up at the dance studio around the corner just as my boy was heading out to walk the dog.

Those mundane 15 minute tasks quickly became anything but, as the skies opened right up and all hell broke loose. When it first started raining I chuckled at the thought that boy and dog were probably high tailing it home, chagrined.  Shit quickly got real though, with the kind of thunder that rattles your windows and a sky streaked with lightening. I called home to make sure all men and beasts were safely back home and was on the phone when my girl came screaming out of the studio accompanied by a comically well timed crash of thunder. On the phone, Bill reported that the power had just gone out. Cue dramatic music.

It was very exciting! This stuff never happens to us, in fact the last time we’d had a power outage was that time when the dumb guy in Arizona flipped the wrong switch and turned out the lights for all of SoCal. That was super fun, remember?

So there we were. Ready for fun!

It was 7:35 and pitch dark outside. We gathered candles and flashlights and discussed how much power/time everyone had on their various handheld electronic devices.

Of course, it was right there. That bundle of visceral memories. But we were okay, we were safe and home and this blackout was not a harbinger of doom.

We pulled out a board game to pass the time. This might sound like a commonplace, unremarkable family activity.  Family Game Night is a thing, right? Every family does it! Except, not mine. My family does not like board games. They are a noncompetitive lot. *I* like board games, but not enough to be persuasive in their favor, I guess. We have backgammon, of course – everybody likes a briefcase presentation, and we’ve had periods of play that were fun and cool. Mostly while camping. Therefore, the backgammon lives in the westy and if none of us was willing to go to the curb to fetch battery operated lanterns, we surely weren’t going to make the trek to retrieve a game for only two players.

Under the playroom couch I found trivial pursuit, is that still relevant? Bill and I used to play a lot and argue about which answers were clever enough to be cheese-worthy, because God knows we were never in it for the long haul. I only ever wanted to answer brown and sometimes pink, anyway. Next to Trivial Pursuit I found the winner… Monopoly! Everyone was surprised that we even owned it, but I clearly remembered Santa bringing it one year because he insisted that every family needs to have a damn Monopoly set, you killjoys.

Santa was so right. We had to review the rules, there were varying opinions on everything from initial bankroll to free parking to rent vs mortgage, but eventually we settled in to a really fun and silly bona fide Family Game Night. By candelight, with wine and a pumpkin full of candy.

I kept taking really weird photos
 and could not figure out the origin of the shadow

that caused big black lines across every shot
Until the next day, when I removed the paper clip that was stuck in the lens hole of my phone case. Sigh.

We played until everyone got cranky, well past the time we usually separate to our various quarters to retire for the night. We left the game out on the table in the hopes that we’d return to finish it before the next time we gathered for a meal, although we all knew that was unlikely. 

As we said goodnight and divvied up flashlights to take into bathrooms and bedrooms with us, we got to talking about that other blackout. Not the Arizona bonehead one, the Dad one. I’m not the only one who teared up reminiscing about that night and how we couldn’t help but feel like even though it too was really fun and special, it had marked the start of something bad. We sniffed along, on our way to bed with hearts a bit heavier and dread lingering just beneath the surface. Seconds later, just as I walked into my bedroom, the lights came back on.

Thanks Dad. 


Jane Corey Holt said...

beautiful, jacq. tears before 9am. And my makeup was really good today, lol. I went back to the 'other' blog and am so shocked, as always, at how little the kids were when dad was still with us. SO glad he put the lights back on for you.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I know, Jane -- I had the same thought. They were so wee! The shot of Mom and Dad slays me the most, though: Mom's being so brave, year after year, and all she wants to do, really, is have her man sitting there next to her.

Love both of these blogs so much. Your girl shrieking with the well-timed clap of thunder -- I can just *see* her -- your boy and his pooch caught out in the weather. No weather is more dramatic than weather in San Diego, where everyone thinks it's End Of Days.

But most of all, I deeply deeply love the paper clip stuck to your phone lens. Pure perfection.

Love you Big.

Central PA said...

How timely...I'm finally getting to the chore/loving task of putting photos in albums instead of keeping them in oldest is 20 so it seems about time. Anyway, I'm at the point in the albums where my mom suddenly died and it's hard not to look at the pictures taken just days before and not long for our collective innocence/ignorance to come back. Reading back to your Dad post it brings back all my sadness for your whole family and how I hated that you had to join me in the "club of unimaginable loss". (we had also just been all together for a family celebration)
Thank-you for sharing...sigh

Beth said...

Pure brilliance, Jacquie! Love this post.

Can't believe I missed all the climate drama. Sunny and beautiful out today....


mom said...

I too shed tears before 9 am, unlike Jane no makeup mess for me, lol... love this Jacquie, I think of that week so often - we'll never forget it. Thank God for all of, mom