An unwelcome but powerful lesson today in the perils of being electronically dependent. My morning was going smoothly—I was working, someone was cleaning the gutters on the house, someone else was cleaning my cottage, Lewis Bundock fixed the shelf that I had loosened from the wall, and all was well`. Suddenly, the cottage went dark. I suspected the gutter man had tripped something and caught Lewis before he left, thinking he’d go fix the breaker switch. But then Jordan called from the main house—power out inside too. My alarm system alerted me belatedly and then sent me an email that fewer than 5% of houses within a mile were affected. I found that cold comfort.
But there I was—no computer, so I couldn’t work. No TV to distract me. Even my land line didn’t work because it relies on an electric power source. And I hesitated to use the cell phone for fear of using up the charge in the battery. Even the books I’m reading are on the computer. And cooking was out of the question, even cold dishes because I didn’t want to open the refrigerator unnecessarily.
I considered just going back to bed, but the sheets had been stripped and were in the washing machine—wet and soapy. Along with the extra set of sheets because Colin and Morgan slept out here Saturday night. I could file all those papers in my “pending” file, but without light I couldn’t really see the files in the drawer well enough.
I sorted a thick file of recipes and patted myself on the back because I cut its size by half. Did so by making myself realize that I am not going to cook big dishes that feed eight because eight would not be comfortable in the cottage, and the days of burner-to-oven skillet cooking are behind me. I cannot use an iron skillet on my hot plate, and the skillets I must use are not ovenproof. A year and a half into cottage living, I realize that dishes I’ll make out here and send inside to be cooked are few and far between. Many of them don’t fit the diet Jordan and Christian are following, and scheduling is a problem—to send dishes inside I have to choose a time they’re home and not cooking. Few and far between.
Belatedly I realized that I could unhook my computer from the remote monitor, so I could write but nothing else. No connection for internet or email. For some reason, the remote keyboard still worked. Small blessings. So I did a little writing.
Suddenly, after about three hours, it came back on. And from then on, the world seemed to get better. The dealership called about repairing my car (I’d been waiting since Saturday to hear from them); my Austin son-in-law, the computer genius, called and quickly walked me through erasing emails that had been stuck on my cell phone since December—I’d erase them, and they’d come right back. Now they’re gone! He also gave advice on cutting my Kindle backlog. I thought of two niggling things that had been in the back of my mind and dealt with them. I had the inspiration to ask for TV tray tables, nice wooden ones, for my birthday, because I’m really tired of asking guests to hunch over the coffee table to eat. It was like a whole new fresh start.
So here I am in this bright, new, electronically-restored world. Ah, what to do next? So many opportunities. Life is good. I think I’ll start by charging my phone and iPad.