Saturday, August 20, 2011

thanks for NOTHING, KCP&L

I don't like weather.  Wait, that's weird.  I don't like severe weather.  So when my dad called my mom and I last night as we were heading home from helping a family friend to tell us a storm was heading our way, I had to talk my pulse rate down a bit.  We ended up getting off the highway early because the debris and wind were making us a little nervous and we pulled into my driveway just as the heavens unleashed the torrents.  About a block before that, my dad had called again and said, "Mom should probably stay at your house until the front passes - it looks like it's moving quicker than they initially thought."

As I ran inside to make sure Eric was dressed appropriately for a visit from his mother-in-law, the power snapped and flickered and then everything went dark and silent.  There's something eerie about all the rumblings and murmurings of your house being quieted in an instant while a storm approaches.  The thunder was crashing, the wind was picking up, the rain was pouring down and worst of all - Lila's white noise (a fan and a humidifier) had been shut off with the rest of the power.  Oh no.  Forget the fact that our garage is too full of garage sale donations to pull our car in out of the hail.  Forget the fact that the trees are swaying ominously.  The real worry here is that Lila's going to wake up.  Sure enough five minutes later, we heard a little voice, "Nuh-nuh? Yeah! Nuh-nuh!" (Translation: "Thunder? Yeah! Thunder!")  Great.  I gave her a few minutes, but the next crash was the prelude to a little more nervous-sounding, "Nuh-nuh? Mommy?"  

So in the pitch blackness - I fumbled into Lila's room and got her out of bed thinking this was turning into an absolute nightmare.  She, of course, was delighted with the unexpected midnight party that she had been invited to.  Nanny!  Doggy!  Daddy!  Mommy!  Nuh-nuh!  

The worst of the storm passed and my mom drove home, but the power was still out.  Eric lit candles, I called KCP&L for the 8th time, "We are aware of your outage, thank you for your patience." Stupid robot lady.  My favorite recorded message was when they informed me that there was a map online that showed the areas that were experiencing outages if I would like to see where they were working.  I'm sure that would be really helpful and informative.  You know, if I had power and could use the internet.  Thanks for NOTHING.  (By the way, "thanks for nothing" is kind of an inside joke between the Husband and me, but I'll let you in on it: a few years ago when we were late getting on the Lost bandwagon, we were catching up and watching the first three seasons in a month.  I guess Lost was on the brain and I had a dream one night that Eric had watched several episodes without me.  When I found out, I was furious and I stormed off saying, "Thanks a lot! Thanks for NOTHING!" Apparently my psyche can come up with some really brilliant zingers in an argument.)

Anyway, back to this story.  To get her back to sleep, I rocked Lila for a long, long time.  Every time I thought she might be fading, the thunder would crash and her head would pop up and she would suggest through her bink, "Mommy?  Jesus - nuh-nuh."  

"You want Mommy to talk to Jesus about the thunder?"
"Yeah."
"Okay. 'Dear Jesus, help Lila to remember the story we read tonight about when you told the wind and the waves to be still and they listened to you because they knew your voice.  Help her to remember what you told the disciples - that there was no need to be afraid if you were with them.  Help her to know that you are with her right now and that you are bigger and stronger than the thunder and the rain.  Please turn off the thunder.  Help Lila to feel safe.  We love you so much, Amen.'"

BOOM!

"Mommy? Jesus?  Nuh-nuh?"
"Okay. 'Dear Jesus...'"

Finally I told her we would sing one song and then it was time for her to go back to sleep.  I told her she was safe and that Jesus was with her.  "Yeah," she said softly as though she wasn't entirely convinced.

When I left her room, she let out one wail and was quiet.  However, the power was still out and it was getting really stuffy and humid in our house.  And I was getting more and more irrationally angry at the fact that our power has gone out about five times this summer.  I was muttering things like, "$150 bill this month...they should prorate it...don't pay them to sit in a sticky house...they should reimburse me the cost of all my Costco groceries I bought today that are now going bad in the fridge...$150 bill!" 

We ended up deciding to open our windows to try to cool the house down and go to sleep.  I kept expecting to wake up to the sound of the white noise of the monitor back on, but instead I kept waking up to imaginary moans and whimperings of Lila (I was a little paranoid that I wouldn't be able to hear her without the monitor so my subconscious kept waking me up thinking I heard her crying) and the fact that my body was stuck to the sheets with the humidity. 

From one of my 8 phone calls to KCP&L I learned that the human beings come in at 7:30am so at 7:31 I called and talked to the poor woman who happened to answer my now even-more-irrational-and-moody-after-"sleeping"-in-a-sauna-all-night phone call.  She was kind, but entirely unhelpful.  "I'm sorry, Ma'am I don't know when your power will be back on.  Maybe you should buy some dry ice to keep your food cool."  Yeah, right.  I'm going to drag my toddler to the store to buy dry ice for my groceries and risk getting home to my power flickering back on as I step inside.

I kept thinking it would come on any minute, but at 9:30 it was still out so Lila and I packed up the car with what I considered a reasonable amount of groceries and went to my mom's house.  Again, Lila was perfectly delighted with this unplanned adventure and babbled happily all the way to Nanny's house.  "Hi Mailman! Big truck! Doggy! Mommy, Elmo! Big truck! Train!"

And because I'm not entirely heartless, I brought the dumb dog with me thinking our hot house might not be safe for her.  But I forgot that my dog would rather paw and bark at the sliding door than run around in a backyard like most normal canines.  When she finally did explore the yard a bit, she found something to roll in and came back to the door looking like she had just gotten back from an Ash Wednesday service.  

She may look innocent, but the dog is naughty.
Like a moron, I explained to her that she had lost her inside privileges because of her choice to roll around in something.  That rational explanation went over well and we finally let her in because she wore us down with her obnoxious barking.  Lila was imitating my irritated growls at the dog for the rest of the day.  Ahhh, it's so self-revealing to have a toddler that repeats everything you say/growl.

Meanwhile, Eric was diligently checking the online map I mentioned earlier and he updated me every half hour or so as every neighborhood but ours was getting their power restored.  Honestly, I'm not exaggerating.  He said when he first checked it in the morning, most of the map was "in the red" (meaning there were 1000-4999 homes without power in that neighborhood) and by lunch time only our neighborhood was still red.  Finally, 12.5 hours later, our power was restored and we got home just in time for Lila to take her nap.  Whew.

Needless to say, I required a Dr. Pepper by the end of the day.  One grumpy mama over here.  But also one mama thankful to have air conditioning and internet again.  And I have forgiven the power company.  Mostly.  I still think they should prorate my bill for the hours spent without power.  That's probably a lost cause, though.  Thanks a lot, KCP&L.  Thanks for NOTHING!

1 comment:

Katy said...

WOW!! That was quite a storm, anytime you want to come see us, do that too! We would have had fun catching up and Tony playing with Lila!!

love ya, Kelsey
Glad you are home, power is on and Jesus protected you and Lila!