My 48 Hours as Ma Ingalls

Suffering passes, while love is eternal. That’s a gift that you have received from God. Don’t waste it. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

As expected, Hurricane Sandy hit our region hard and knocked out our power for 48 hours. Compared to the devastation many people suffered, this barely registers on the misery scale. Our house and rental properties stayed dry and undamaged. None of my people were hungry or injured or died. We are truly fortunate and grateful. Please consider donating to hurricane relief here.

However (you knew there would be a “however,” right? surly you know me by now), it was still very hard, both physically and mentally. I hate that I’m such a weak whiney whiner when deprived of my creature comforts while others are facing such heartache and devastation. Not charming, I know.

I don’t know why you’re complaining. It’s 54 degrees in here. I grew up in a house colder than this. — My husband

The first day without power is never bad, especially when it’s expected. You engage in all kinds of folksy old timey fun like boardgames by flashlight and junk food by the fireplace. The kids and I played Apples to Apples. The kids and Ed played Monopoly to the bitter end. Nate and Logan played chess. We danced and told stories and drank wine and laughed. Doesn’t that sound like a wholesome rip roaring good time? It really was.

But when you wake up the next day to cold darkness and no coffee and dark coldness and no coffee and no coffee in the cold darkness, something slowly starts to crack. You know intellectually you are still one of the lucky ones, but a hot shower and a hair dryer and a light in your closet would sure feel nice right now. And then you check Facebook on your phone and see everyone around you — literally everyone you know except your very own neighborhood — has either gotten their power back by this point or never lost it in the first place. The crack deepens.

We still have not purchased a generator — partially out of frugality, partially out of stubbornness, partially out of Ed’s camping heritage. I suspect he thinks they’re for sissies, even though he’d never say that out loud. (But see above quote if you’re doubting me.) Morning two without power is a dangerous place in any relationship. You start to turn on each other. You start to question motives. You start to compare who is more miserable and has suffered the greatest (hint: the answer is me, always me).

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. — Irish Proverb

It is at this point when friends come to the rescue. They offer showers and lodging and warm meals. You don’t want to be a burden, but when they insist a second time, you take them up on it. And that is when you know no matter what, you’ll be okay because you have good people who care enough to look out for you. You know that it doesn’t even matter if they are voting for different people in the election. They are kind and good and generous, and as long as people like this exist, the world will always be okay.