Blackout Friday

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but we had an unexpected blackout. Not due to a meteorological factor, or a problem with our electrical box. No, it was due to a frustrated Naturalist who was tired of having a brother playing video games all day and a mother drawn up into the computer (who, me?! Spending too much time on the computer?!? Why, I NEVER!!!). This morning she announced “BLACKOUT!” which meant for the next 12 hours there would be no electricity being used at our house. No lights, computers, TV’s, microwaves, ipods, or anything else in that category. Just all of us, together, doing things with each other, all day long.

First, The Golfer started hyperventilating. Second, he fell on the floor amidst wails of pain and horror. He sounded like Rambo yelling for Adrien….”Oh, TECHNOLOGYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” Third, he got very quiet as he processed everything he would not be able to do during this day. Fourth, he formulated the exact second that the 12 hour time limit would be up and vowed to play a video game exactly then. Fifth, he started convulsing again, so we got him downstairs for some breakfast.

I couldn’t use the microwave for the oatmeal, so I warmed water over the stove, which took a little time. It was dark and overcast, so we lit some candles to keep things cheery. We then used the leftover hot water for our deluxe hot chocolate. Then, because I started feeling clastraphobic in a house with no internet, we bundled up to go to a children’s museum close by. The older two are a bit too old for it, but The Sassy Princess loves it. I’m trying to figure out a way of finding ways for the older kids to enjoy it more…aside from letting them bring in their ipods and sulking around like little slackers.

We came back to the house through sleet and snow and ran up to pile into my bed and read some books. Lots of books! We each pick one or two to bring into a big book pile in the middle of the bed and go round-robin to see who is going to pick what book to read while we snuggle under the down comforter. After 3 books, I tried really hard to stay with “Mutiny on Board the HMS Bounty” but just couldn’t keep my eyes open. That’s not good when you’re the one reading the book. Princess was sleeping, too, so the older 2 headed down to decorate gingerbread houses without me.

Eventually, 10 minutes later, they came back up to get me to help. Princess hears the commotion and gets up, too. We go down and decorate house by candlelight. Not realizing that Naturalist has consumed most of the nasty prepackaged candy from the kit, I make round two deluxe hot chocolate to which she adds the horrifying concoction of 3 times too many scoops of chocolate, whipped marshmallow fluff, a handful of mints, massive whipped cream, and a peppermint stick. In 3 minutes she was laying down by the toilet trying to come down off a serious sugar rush nausea. The Golfer, who spewed all over our front porch not too long ago after ingesting 3 cups of Ovaltine, took pity on her and stayed around to help her out. “I only had to do that once, Naturalist! You’ll never catch me drinking something like that again!” he said.

It became way darker, and spookier in our house without lights! We opened and played a few board games (or as the Golfer refered to them…’BORED games’), we ate dinner, we chatted as a family, we hung out and helped clean up the kitchen, we spent quality time together, until the Golfer finally shouted, “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! I NEED SOME TECHNOLOGY! I’VE BEEN WITH YOU PEOPLE ALL DAY LONG!!!”

We’d hoped to last until 8:41. It was 5. We knew when enough was enough. Even the Naturalist was happy to have her DS pictochat available to play.

The Golfer turned on the TV and immediately shouted down to me, “Mom! Do you know what day it is?” “Uh, it’s the 7th?” “I MEAN, WHAT THE DAY IS?” “It’s not the 7th?” “MOM, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? IT’S THE DAY OF INFAMY!!!!!!” How could I have forgotten! The attack on Pearl Harbor. The first introduction The Golfer had to his current obsession with the Military and War. Some people may set aside Christmas and Easter as holidays…the Golfer has his own important days and ways to acknowlege them. Today, the day of infamy, he watched the Military Channel once we turned the TV back on. In April, he wants to acknowledge the sinking of the Titanic by staying up until 2 am and eat 2nd class food for a ‘last meal’. (Not first class food…they ‘eat nasty stuff in there!’)

It was quite a day for all of us, but I realized that it wasn’t so far different from how I grew up. I didn’t have a microwave until I was a teenager. Our TV wasn’t watched all the time, and when it was, you had to manually turn the channels. Video games were just barely in the market, and computers were evil characters on sci-fi TV shows only.

Blackout Friday…you should try it! But maybe not for the full 10/12 hours at first!