This was potentially disastrous!! If the electricity stayed off we would need more wood and pronto. Thankfully, I had stored water in containers. But I was more worried about staying warm than I was starving to death or dying of thirst. The most imminent threat was the cold. The temperature outside had fallen from zero degrees to eight below zero. This was really a pickle. We had a fire going but we couldn’t close the windows tight because of the carbon monoxide. It would be prudent to close the windows and keep the fire going. I needed to get to the store and get more logs and wood. I left the bread in the oven and opened the oven door to let all the heat into the apartment. It was divine providence that I was baking bread when the black out hit. I got my gear on and as I headed out the door I told Aron to tell Davin to leave the bathroom door open after he finished his shower to let the heat and moisture into the apartment. I also told him to keep all bedroom doors shut so we could concentrate the heat in the living area. Davin was already coming out of the shower since the lights went out and Aron was coming out of his room angry since his computer connection was lost. Kids!! It figures all he could think about was his computer connection.
The situation outdoors and on the streets wasn’t much better. As I made my way to the closest store I realized that even the traffic lights in our area were out. People were unaware of a light at certain intersections. Extreme caution was called for now. Keep in mind that is was completely dark, even though it was only 3:30 in the afternoon. As I approached each intersection I came to a complete halt and made sure the way was clear. Some people were flying through the intersections with complete abandon. It was pandemonium.
Finally I got to the store, and they too didn’t have electricity. Their electric doors were affected. In order to allow people access to the store they had to keep their doors open. The store attendant was wearing his hat and gloves and his parka. I noticed also that he had his 12 gage shotgun with him behind the counter. I imagine that in times like this people were desperate and could try to loot or use violent means to get what they needed. This was no time to be out and about. I bought wood, which was all I could buy because his cash register was electric and he couldn’t open it. He was operating out of his emergency cash box that was normally used just for incidentals. He also required exact cash or you forwent any change. He wasn’t selling anything but wood. The bundles of wood were $7.50 a piece. I bought seven and gave him more money than was required and forwent the change but it was worth it. However, he didn’t have any logs. I was going to have to brave the streets and go on to another store or just go with wood alone. I opted not to brave the streets as they were absolutely crazy.
When I got back home both boys were sitting in the living room with some candles lit. There were yucking it up and thoroughly enjoying the crisis. Oh, what I would have given to be a kid again in that moment. They thought this whole deal was exciting while in my mind I was stressing beyond belief. They were planning what they would do the next day since they were certain there would be no school, while I was planning on how to get through the night with no heat.
I asked Davin to get the ax out and split the wood into smaller pieces. I got Aron to go ahead and walk the dogs. While they were busy doing their assigned chores I went through our food and groceries to see what I could throw together without electricity. We still had charcoal and lighter fluid so I could grill something. That was a very cold way to cook but then we had little choice. As it turns out the electricity went out just before the bread was done. It only needed about ten more minutes before it was finished. Ok, it would be a little doughy but it would suffice. I had some canned chicken and canned vegetables. We had bread, mayonnaise, cheese and lunch meat. We also had frozen hamburger patties that we could cook on the grill. I decided to keep the boys busy and that way minimize the complaining about being thrown into the nineteenth century with no electricity. If they were busy helping me then they couldn’t focus on their own feelings. With the wood split and the dogs walked I told them they had to get the grill going. Fortunately, Phil had trained them during the summer. They helped him many times with getting the grill started. Their mood was still light and exuberant. Go figure!! They were having a ball.
While they got the grill going I stacked the freshly split wood next to the fireplace for easy access and began to inventory in my mind what would be needed to get through the night. It was obvious we would have to all sleep in the living room next to the fireplace. All the coming and going was working against us. All the heat we had trapped was getting out. We needed to eat and get settled and stoke the fire to a roaring blaze. This night was going to separate the men from the boys!!