To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Friday, January 15, 2010

BLACKOUT - Stumbling in the Dark Rant

When hubby left for his evening class, I had many plans. I was going to look for blog backgrounds, watch one of my fav shows "Criminal Minds", work on my watercolor, and....and.... I had put clothes in the dryer, and right now I was photographing something for one of my next posts, for which put an extra light on. Plop, the light went off. 

Shocks, my electric breaker probably went out with all that use of extra electricity. When I looked through the window, I noticed the lights on the walking path behind my condo were not on. Hmmm, strange... And what were all those cars going back and forth there by the gate?

I stumbled and tripped in the dark on my way to the kitchen to get the big matches. I remembered  that I had a candle standing on my sofa table. After I put it on, I at least could see my own hands. 

One little flame
Then I walked with the candle to the kitchen, because I got hungry. It was around 6 pm. Ooh, I remembered there's that candle on the window sill that my oldest daughter gave me for Christmas, a few years ago. I really "hated" to put that one on, but I couldn't see myself walking with that one candle everywhere with the chance of spilling hot candle wax on my hands. 

Thank goodness, I had made something in the crockpot, and it was still warm, so I had warm food! I better eat it now! Little things matter when  your tiny world suddenly changes and you have no control over it! After I ate my delicious Northern Beans stew, the cogwheels of my brain went into overdrive trying to think where all my other candles were. In the last blackout in my previous house I had nine big candles burning in the livingroom. I sighed, because they were probably somewhere in an unpacked box in the garage (remember I moved a few months ago). 
But when I was going to the bathroom, I remembered that I had seen a box with long slender candles. Yep, there they were! Triumphantly I put 2 peach candles in a jar, since I knew those candle holders  for sure were in the garage.

My greatest flash of memory came when I thought of the small floodlight that hubby  uses when he has to repair something underneath the (old) house. Aah, that really came in handy when I had to go to the bathroom - it was pitch black there!

I seemed pretty much "set up" now. The candle light of three candles was enough that I could continue on my knitting work (since I knew the pattern by heart now). But after a while I got bored. Couldn't blog, couldn't watch my show, couldn't listen to music (I still have to put music on my Ipod!!). 
I am not one who goes looking in the street where two big trucks were with flashing lights on, up and down the street, to find the "spot." that needed to be fixed. They made a lot of noise, and people on the microphone talking to each other. It sounded like a war zone, even though it was dark.
I even couldn't clean (oh, I feel so sorry about that). But...I could photograph my candles! The perfect opportunity and PLENTY  of time!

After that, now what....? Believe it or not, I wrote three short stories, after I made a sketch by candle light of something funny and cute. After I was done, I got up, and opened the front door. Everything was still dark. It was very quiet and very dark -no lights on in the whole block! 
I had found out by then that the cars were going back and forth, because most garages open with an electric door!

 playing with settings

When I closed the door it was almost 2 am. The beeper of the fridge went off. I waited, because that had happened before. But no, I now could see the sign of the condo's lighted up! Perfect timing! I really want to go to bed.
Mind you, my mind was so keyed up from adventure overload, that I couldn't go to sleep! 
After a while I got up and answered some comments on my blog (I know, they say that your mind "wakes up" when you put the light on, but hey, I had enough of waiting in the dark for one day!)

I finally did go back to bed at 5:30 am. and first thing I did after I got up was to put the candles happily away!


rainfield61 said...

Oh!! What an adventuruos night which last until 5:30am.

The Muse said...

I can just envision you there...candles and crockpot...inspired and cozy...

I dare say you played the hand well...not many people would have this story to tell if their lights (power) went kaput!

Angie Muresan said...

Well, at least you had an adventure. Somehow whenever we experience a black out time seems to hold its breath. Magic happens when we are guided by the flickering light of candles.

DawnTreader said...

One doesn't quite realize how dependent we are on electricity until it goes away... I'm glad I live in town, we don't get all that many or long-lasting blackouts. In the countryside, in certain kinds of winter weather, it's a different story...

Whitemist said...

Always good to have candles around!
And they are pretty besides.

Linda Higgins said...

The only bad thing is that you had to spend it alone! I love when the power goes out and it doesn't happen very often. 3 short stories! Wow let's hear one of them! I love the streaked candle pic. hmmm I just may have to have a candle night and PRETEND that the power is out... Huhoney will think I am crazy! worth a try though.......

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Rainfield. I thing I had enough adventure for a while (smile) -I'd rather paint!

The Muse,
Thank yuo Muse - That whole day started off weird/unusual for hubby, so maybe it "prepared" me for more to come LOL!

I think it helped me that in my job I need to find solutions for others. I kept thinking, how did the painters do it -painting with candlelight? Or for that matter, anything?

jeannette stgermain said...

Interesting! Here, it's the other way around -the blackouts happen more in the city (and I live close to a big shopping mall) than in the country -except for the Northern states, as result of big storms.
Can't tell you how thankful I was the next evening that I could do anything I wanted (because of adequate light)!

candles is an old love of min, and probably has to do with having lived in Holland. People like to have candles on in winter evenings, as it creates a lot of atmosphere. Only, this was a little bit too much atmosphere:)

Yes, and I didn't want to/couldn't call hubby since he was in class. Also, I expected the blackout only to last 2 hours and that lights would be back on by 8 pm!

I laughed when I imagined how your hubby would react when seeing candles in every room -it's a good way for romance though:)

Diane AZ said...

It's been a long time since we've had a power outage, your post reminds me to check if we have any candles handy just in case. I love your pictures of candles, especially the playful one. "Criminal Minds" is one of my favorite shows but I can rarely stay awake that late.

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, candles is a good thing to have! Because they don't warn you when a blackout comes LOL
Oh, I'm definitely a night owl, so that show is in the middle of my evening:) Of course I do get up late!

Stine in Ontario said...

Thank goodness I know where the candles are in my house! That's quite the adventure you had but you took two fine photos to illustrate your story!

jeannette stgermain said...

I took more pics, but I thought that these were the best for this story.
Thank you Stine, my condo(minium) is still unorganized, because we downsized in the summer from a 3-bed room and double garage, to a 2 bedroom, half-size living room with a one-car garage (and a tiny kitchen).

Protege said...

The best laid plans, right? This happened to me once last year, I did not loose electricity, but cable and internet connection. It was very odd and just like you, I almost did not know what to do. But then eventually it became a very relaxing evening.:)
Wishing you a relaxing Saturday,

Diederick Wijmans said...

Adventurous and well written!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you for visiting. What an authentic Dutch name! Love your blog pics:)
Bytheway, how do you end up in Italy?

midwesttomidlands said...

What an adventure in the dark. As an artist/painter do you sometimes find your most creative late at night when everything is quiet? It seems like you were this time with your story writing, sketching and picture taking during the blackout. Maybe you will share the short stories with us?

crochet lady said...

It is always a bit of an adventure when the lights go out. Sounds like you made due just fine.

Like that last pic with the light lines.

Natural Moments said...

Sometimes when the external world shuts down, one finds the opportunity to turn the power back on within. The light switch can always be on when the source is from within.

I love that photo of the candle's flames shooting up into the air. Very beautiful being able to see the unseen.

antigoni said...

Happy New Year!
You're full of adventure. I have always candles around because i like them and we often have light problems. When we have these problems and we all are at home, we like to play table games or my hubby plays the quitar and we all sing our favorite songs next to the fire place.

jeannette stgermain said...

I'm a night person anyway:), s in general things are more easily flowing at night. But, some times I wake up with a creative idea, or a solution.
I'll keep you in suspense and share these stories another time:) - thank you for asking!

Thank you, Jen! Maybe it was because I was most of the waiting time alone that I was seeking some diversion:)

natural Moments,
That was a very poetic way of saying it! So true, it is mostly in unusual times or times of trouble that we turn to the source inside of us:)

Marvin said...

It sounds as if you turned a evening without electric power into an adventure. Last winter we spent a little over three weeks without electricity due to a severe ice storm. I got very bored with the experience.

jeannette stgermain said...

Can imagine that the excitement of one night may become very tiring if that is for 3 weeks.
Did that also mean no heat? I hope not! What about hot water, and cooking stove? O my, that would be really roughing it (for me)!!

jeannette stgermain said...

Didn't know that electricity would be a problem in Greece! Playing board games is a great pastime with kids when the electricity goes off. It's always very cozy to sing around the fire place!

Marvin said...

We heat with a wood stove and cook with propane so those were no problem. Hot water had to be heated on the stove. Toward the end of the three weeks, the temperatures warmed so lack of refrigeration was a hassle. Fortunately, we were able to hook up to a rural water system three years ago. Prior to that, we depended upon our own well, so no power meant no running water.

jeannette stgermain said...

A wood stove is cool! The one who thought to make an icebox (cooler we call them here) portable deserves a medal!
It would certainly be a great hassle to do without any refrigeration!
When we were in the process of selling our old house in the summer, and had to go back every day in 85+ degrees weather for about 6 weeks, to fix things, we made use of the icebox everyday, and I learned in a hurry which veggies would hold up longer than a few hours. Now that was sort of an adventure for me (to outsmart the hot weather).

storyteller at Sacred Ruminations said...

They say all's well that ends well ... and this DOES make a wonderful illustrated post. Reading of your experiences reminds me of a LONG blackout when I wasn't prepared (shortly after my husband 'walked out' and left me alone) ... and another when I returned from a 2-week vacation to discover my power had been turned off (by mistake) the day after I left home. Perhaps I'll tell those stories one of these days.
Hugs and blessings,

Dick said...

The only thing that would worry me is the freezer. I don't mind when the electricity is off for a few hours or the night. When the streets are dark you can see so much more stars. Of course I need to say that there is not much danger here in the dark, I suppose most places are not as safe as here.

jeannette stgermain said...

Oh my, these were really aweful situations -that is going through the wringer!! Hopefully things are better for you now?

True, there's not as much opportunity for crime on a smaller island like Texel. Why gated communities are popular here in California is crime and privacy. Peope in this community have parked one street over, and their car was broken into.

Rosie said...

Nothing worse than being on your own when the lights go out but it sounds as if you filled your 'dark' hours very well. I love sitting in candlelight but at this time of year it isn't so comfortable when the heating goes off, too:)

jeannette stgermain said...

I love candlelight as an option, together with some lights on.

Being alone didn't bother me, but what did was that I was also cut off from the phone - have to do something about that.
Luckily, it almost never gets as cold here as in the UK or Holland:)

BryM said...

You fared better than me during the last blackout at Casa de BryM--I fumbled around in the dark trying to find a flashlight, but found everything BUT the stupid thing! After the lights came back on I found the flashlight...roughly 6 inches from where I'd been feeling for it!! GRRR

jeannette stgermain said...

Oooh, isn't that frustrating! I hope that you have thought of a strategy from it to happen again:)
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week full of light!