Cabin Fever and Hot Chocolate
During these crazy ice/snow storms, many can’t travel. Some can’t go to work or school. Some stay in from church and extracurricular events. Some are trapped in a house with several kids for days on end. I find myself in every category. Trapped. At home. With kids. I don’t really mind the days at home with the kids as we are blessed to have electronic doo-dads for everyone to play with. I have my computer and can write as much as I want. The teen has her phone and the renter has his own space complete with his own set of electronics. So, we are set if the weather gets bad and we have to stay indoors.
This past Monday, however, was a little different. There was ice. There was snow. There was no school and there was NO ELECTRICITY. For the entire day. I got up, made some hot chocolate for myself, settled down for an early morning read in my chair and the house snapped off. All TV’s, all computers, the microwave, the chargers charging the electronic toys. All of it. No power in the house.
I hustled out to the back porch to light the gas heater. I called to check on my neighbor and opened some of the blinds for more light. The kids were aghast. “What are we going to do?” they asked. I explained that we would be fine and that we would probably have power in just a little while.
I ran to the kitchen and filled a small saucepan with water and placed it on top of the gas heater. Ours is flat on top. I told them we would soon have enough hot water for some hot chocolate if we wanted it. The kids made fun of me but I assured them that it would warm up soon enough.
In the meantime, I made the teen trace around and cut quilt pieces. By hand. With scissors. She was not very quick at this activity and kept making awful “uuunnnghhhghh” noises. The younger boys were making houses out of paper and tape. When these activities got old, we tested the water on the heater and found that it was not much warmer. I assured them that it would get warm enough for hot chocolate.
We told stories, folded some clothes, and set up lego stations around the rooms. I quilted while they built fantastic aircraft, various launchers, and submarines out of legos. We read books, hurled men down a yarn zipline, and talked about our favorite movies. Around lunch, I poked my finger into the water. Neeehh. Warmer, but not much.
Early afternoon and the teen and I brandished Nerf guns while the boys ran in circles through the kitchen, around through the living room and past the back porch. As they raced by, we blasted them. They were not allowed to slow down. We made up enough rules and regulations to float a boat. Later we traded places and the teen and I ran in circles. It was a clever way to get in my steps for the day and learn some new dodge moves. After a bit we settled out on the porch.
The teen groaned, “When will they get it fixed?” I tested our water and found it ALMOST warm enough for baby bath water. We all ate a peanut butter jelly and drank some cold milk. No hot chocolate yet, but the PBJ was better with milk.
The afternoon dwindled and we began to watch for dad. I went out to feed all the animals and decided to go get the mail. It was frigid and I logged more steps. Dad came home, changed clothes and asked about our day. We told him everything we had done and I proudly showed him the ingenuity of my hot water pot.
He went out to scrape the snow and I could see him in the barn banging around on something. “Good Grief!” I thought. Why now? It is freezing out there. Is this really the time to work out in the barn? Apparently so. He stomped in. Didn’t say a word. Got some water and left. The kids and I started getting out the candles and preparing for the dark and no electricity.
I looked up and dad was hurrying up the steps with a pot of boiling water. I opened the door and he was grinning from ear to ear. “Want some hot chocolate?”
We all cheered. He had cranked up the gas grill in the barn and heated us some water. I used a candle to find the hot chocolate mix and cups. I was rattling around in the drawer for spoons when the lights suddenly blinked on. More cheers.
We were all sipping our hot chocolate when the phone rang. I put it on speaker phone. It was difficult to hear past the cheers once the kids heard…”no school tomorrow…”
Dad picked me up off the floor and reminded me that I could always go out to the barn and make hot chocolate if I needed to get out of the house.
Many Many thanks to the linemen working on the power in the frigid cold last Monday.