I don’t know about you, but I’m frankly very sick of all this extreme weather. Two weeks ago, we had ice storms. Ice storms in April. As T.S.Eliot once famously said, “Oh my f*cking god, April—you truly are a dick.” I believe that was in his greatest work “The Wasteland”, or “Etobicoke” as it’s known today. (I tweeted this out at the time, and it didn’t get a single like, as opposed to my lame tweet about Canada being ready to defend its sacred Maple Syrup, which got over 200 likes and numerous retweets, all of which taught me one thing: that people don’t appreciate obscure literary references and I should stick to tweeting about Maple Syrup). And then of course there’s terrible flooding out East in Saint John or St. John’s— I’m not sure which one. I initially thought that it must be the height of Canadianism to name two provincial capitals practically the same thing, but then I looked it up and the capital of New Brunswick is actually Fredericton, so I guess the height of Canadianism is to NOT know all the capitals. I DO know that up until recently, Canada had 9 teams in the Canadian Football League, and two of them were called the Roughriders. One of them was the Roughriders, and the other was the Rough Riders, just so you could tell them apart. This would be like if the NFL, for some bizarre reason, named half its teams The Patriots. Can you imagine the play-by-play (which I have to do because I have never watched the CFL)?:
Commentator 1: And the Roughriders take the field.
Commentator 2: As do the Rough Riders. Go teams!
Commentator 1: And the Rough Riders have scored a touchdown!
Commentator 2: Aw—now the Roughriders are behind by 22 and a half points.
Anyway, about the weather. I came home early this week with the intention of getting some writing done. I had the remaining chapters of my new novel laid out, and I’m itching to get it finished because I sent some sample chapters to my publisher and he said they’re definitely interested in it. But then I sat down to write and realized that I had forgotten about the chapter I had started BEFORE working 16 straight days in Etobicoke, and I had no plan for it. So that meant a lot of pacing, and thinking, and sitting and staring into space while the whole thing crystallized in my mind. By Friday morning, I knew what I was doing and I sat down at the computer. I was getting close to finished when I noticed that the wind outside had REALLY started to pick up, like the trees in the yard were whipping from side to side in a rather alarming way, and things that used to be on the porch were now in the middle of the yard. Then the power started to flicker. Then it went off. I tried to call Hydro but the line was busy, as always. But then the power came back on, so I stopped panicking and finished writing. Ken came home, and we went out to see Infinity Wars at the VIP theatre with T and his girlfriend. It was pretty good, even if I hadn’t seen all the other movies and had no idea who half the people were. Luckily, T was with us, so I could ask him, even if it meant being subjected to a LOT of eyerolling:
Me: Who’s that?
T: That’s The Falcon.
Me: The what? I don’t remember him from the last Avengers movie.
T: Which one was the last one you saw?
Me: The…Avengers? Who’s the guy with the mechanical arm? I feel like I’m really out of touch here.
T: Bucky. Stop talking.
Me: Where’s Batman? I heard he dies in this movie.
T: Mom! Batman is DC, not Marvel. They’re two different universes!
Me: So no Aquaman? You know what this movie REALLY needs? The Wonder Twins.
But then the Guardians of the Galaxy showed up, and I was like, “This is so unfair! How come the raccoon and the tree are here, but I can’t have Batman?!” But apparently, the Guardians are “Marvel” too, but just from a different franchise, and I had to resign myself to drinking wine, eating my poutine, and silently wondering where the f*ck Vision and Wanda came from.
After the movie, Ken and I drove home. But as we got into town, I noticed something terrible. There were no lights on anywhere. No street lights, no house lights, nothing. And sure enough, the power was out in the entire town and surrounding areas. I checked Facebook on my phone and someone had posted that power wouldn’t be restored until the next day at 6 pm.
So I did it all by the numbers.
1) Get out all the jar candles.
I have a drawer in a desk in the living room, where I keep jar candles. I currently have 23, all in varying shapes, sizes, and states of use. Why, you ask? Because the POWER MIGHT GO OFF. I started lighting them with a lighter wand thing, which ran out of butane by number 17. I haven’t used matches since I was a teenager, and I couldn’t get them to light on the sandpaper strip on the box, so I just stuck them in the open flames of the other candles. I am nothing if not resourceful. Candles lit. Check.
2) Find all 8 flashlights and realize that none of them work. Look for batteries. Try to install the batteries into the flashlights by the light of a “White Linen and Vanilla” jar candle. Remind Ken that “the pioneers might have been way better at living rough than me, but I bet their houses didn’t smell as good”.
3) Also remind Ken that under no circumstances should he open the fridge in order to keep the food from spoiling. Open the fridge myself to get out a bottle of wine.
4) Lie in bed in the dark, drinking wine and plotting my revenge against nature by candlelight. Eventually blow out all the candles so that I don’t set the house on fire.
In the morning, we checked again. Now Hydro was saying the power wouldn’t be back on until Sunday at 6 pm.
5) Have a minor meltdown, and order Ken to take me out to buy a barbeque so that we could cook dinner (our previous bbq had broken during the winter when I rather vigorously threw open the lid and it snapped off). I also bought one of those big camping lanterns. The only instructions for its use involved three pictures that were all upside down. After ten minutes, I lost my sh*t and called for Ken. He looked at it, then pushed the button and it came on. “You have to press harder,” he said.
“Yeah, well, just wait until you have to put together the barbeque!” I responded. Which he did. In under the time suggested in the instruction manual.
6) Call my mom and complain about the lack of electricity.
7) Call my aunt and complain about the lack of electricity.
8) Post on Facebook complaining about the lack of electricity.
9) Realize my phone battery is almost dead.
10) Remember that our neighbour has a generator. Message her to ask if I can use it to charge my phone. She says yes.
11) Take my phone and a bottle of wine across the street. Spend a couple of very pleasant hours with my neighbour, talking and drinking while my phone charges.
12) Go home and light all 23 jar candles again. Lie in bed, drinking wine and plotting revenge against Ontario Hydro, who will rue the day they ruined my plan to kick back and watch Netflix so that I could get caught up on The Avengers movies. Enjoy the aroma of “Lavender Sky” mingled with “Christmas Berry”. Read the fifth book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and get seriously pissed off at being over halfway through and still not knowing who the f*cking Wolves of Calla are.
13) Blow out all the jar candles and go to sleep. Wake up sometime in the night and realize that the hall light is on. Wake Ken up to tell him, but he already knows and has been watching Netflix without me. I forgive him, silently rejoice, and congratulate myself on being hardy like a pioneer. Make plans to buy my own generator. Just in case.