The Doughboy and the Cat

Pillsbury crescent rolls may have saved my life.

Not really.

Like about three million other people, I lost power Friday night when the drunken, pissed-off, wife-beater-wearing grandpappy of all thunderstorms tore eight states a new a-hole. It came out of nowhere and whipped itself up into such a frenzy as to compel me to turn on the news to make sure death was not raining from the sky. I had come back from futile attempts to see out my living room windows, and the weatherguy had just finished saying that winds were 70 miles an hour, when every source of light and coolness in my apartment went dead.

I’m not one to complain much about power outages. It doesn’t happen that often where I live, and I figure I’m healthy, relatively young and not a mother of small children, so I can deal. Plus I work a lot, and work has generators. Every morning since the storm, I’ve gotten up, called work, they’ve told me to come in ASAP, I’ve taken a cold shower and then gone to work, returning around midnight to find that, unsurprisingly, the power had not returned.

On Sunday, with all hope of refrigeration lost, I opened the fridge door to start cleaning out the more heat-sensitive items. Reaching half-blindly, my hand found something sort of sticky and spongey.

The crescent rolls.

The crescent rolls had functioned as a kind of turkey timer, popping on their own when the temperature inside the fridge had reached a higher-than-ideal range. Though there was still some amount of chill, I found this to be a handy reference. I supposed it meant all dairy and meat must definitely go, but there was still hope for the condiments, juices, and my blessed dozen bottles of wine I had stored in there to shield them from the merciless heat. The bread, peanut butter and jelly were still viable. I lived on them.

I got home from work at midnight-thirty Sunday night/Monday morning to find a new use for my wine thermometer. It’s the only way I knew for sure (confirming tactile perception) that it was a full 90 degrees inside my home. Using my cell phone for a flashlight, I found the cat (she’s black – not helpful in the dark). She was panting like I’ve never heard her before. I hauled her into the blacker-than-space bathroom to baptize her with cold water from the sink faucet. She was not happy about it, but I think it helped.

With my cell phone dying and work my only access to the internet, and I quickly found that all my friends are pains in the ass who complain too much. Sure, it sucks to be without power, but these are first world problems, people. If you’re young and healthy and bitching from your hotel pool, you should reevaluate your life circumstance vis-a-vis your right to complain about the temporary lack of a utility.

You know how I said I’m not usually one to complain about a power outage? It’s true, I’m not, but I decided I could conquer the damned world for want of three things:

A battery-operated fan
A battery-operated hair dryer
A battery-operated coffee maker

These three things, people. When sh*t goes down, they’re all I really need. I could tame the wild frontier if I had these three things.

Sadly, I did not have any of those three things.

Returning from work late Monday night, I noted how many more streetlights were on; how many more traffic lights were working. And I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up. From work, I had checked my power company’s color-coded outage map. I was still red-bad, meaning my area’s concentration of outages was higher than any other. But as I pulled to the curb, there arose above me my building, glowing golden light.


By the power of Grayskull! IIIII haaaaave the powwwaaaaahhhhhh!

The A/C was roaring. The thermostat said it was 79 degrees. The cat was not in renal failure – nay; she was yelling at me as I came through the door, declaring our victory, practically doing the conga with a party hat on her head. The television was on. The cable! The cable was working! There was light. There was the hint of refrigeration! The vodka in the freezer was chilled enough to drink!

F*&k the wild frontier!

I slept without the aid of a wet towel. I took a hot shower this morning for the first time since Friday. I made myself coffee (albeit with the rinsed-out previously used filter, because I ran out, and without half-and-half, because, well… all my once-refrigerated foodstuffs live in the dumpster now). I wanted to hug a transformer. I still had peanut butter and jelly before I left for work, but that’s because I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping.

Finally, being at work is no longer better than being at home. And the 13 hours of overtime I’ll have will fit nicely into the real estate fund.


14 thoughts on “The Doughboy and the Cat

  1. I’m glad you’ve got your power back! I only lost power only for a few hours, but there are parts of the area that are still without, particularly as you get further north (closer to DC). I feel so sorry for those people! It’s terrible with the heat we’ve been having. But at least it’s not freezing weather.

  2. Note to self: purchase crescent rolls, get a black cat, and… maybe I’ll be better prepared for the next outage. With the storms we’re seeing tonight, I keep waiting to hear my AC die again. Fingers crossed.

    Also: I like imagining your cat getting baptized. St. Kitty Mister.

    • The cat will not prepare you for the situation. The cat will merely claw you as you try to sleep in a sweltering bedroom while you wonder whether its tongue/gums have turned bright red to indicate kitty heat stroke. You can’t tell. Because it’s dark. Also? Cats don’t stay still for flashlight examinations.

      Hope you held on to your power last night.

  3. That is crazy! Thank god you finally had it restored! I read about it on the news and I just feel so bad for all the elderly or sick roasting in that heat. I think I read it might be weeks for some to get theirs back on? We lost power for almost 2 weeks back in the Ice Storm nightmare of 98 (I like to refer to it as HellFrozeOverPalooza) And you’re right–I remember the sheer joy of taking a hot shower and brewing a pot of coffee again. Once the power’s gone, it’s incredible when you realize how much we rely on it.

    • I’m not sure about all the areas, but there was definitely a solid week estimate for people in my area. And that’s if there are no more storms that knock power out again. Two weeks is a terrible length of time to be without power! I hope you had a generator! Electricity totally rocks!

  4. I’m sure work was grateful to have somebody who could make it in in spite of hardship. Win-win, I say! And I’m really REALLY glad you baptised kitty. She may have hated it, but she could have died. Cats don’t pant lightly.

    • Work? Grateful? Umm… no. It’s sort of expected. But since work had power and temperatures below 90 indoors, I didn’t take exception. And yes, I was worried, but she’s back to being sassy and having no idea that she’s 13 years old.

  5. It’s been very strange to sit here in Socal with the temperatures in the high seventies and continuous power while hearing about the scorching temperatures and multi-day power outages in the rest of the country. We’ve never had power out for more than a few hours. Perhaps that helps to make up for the earthquakes and wildfires. Glad it’s back on and your cat’s OK.

    • It’s been a topsy-turvy world of weather the last couple of years. The East Coast certainly sees its share of heat and humidity, but we’ve been beaten up! I’m actually grateful that I was at work most of the time the power was out. The cat really was all I had to worry about.

  6. Great post!! We All need to learn how to live without!! These catastrophes will be happening with greater frequency because of global warming. (Did I say something politically incorrect? O.K., climate change.) We were without electricity (and all that entails) for over a week after Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston. But being a camper, I had some coping skills. We had filled both bathtubs with water, and used one for drinking and the other for bathing/cleaning (not so much). We created a fire pit in the front yard and roasted or boiled all the meat in the freezer compartment. We had candles and flashlights for evening activities (again, not so much). We went to bed early. We got to know our neighbors because people spent a lot of time outdoors. It really wasn’t that bad. The really big job was clearing the fallen trees (eight in our yard); some very nice neighbors and friends helped with that.
    Of course, none of this would be of any use to someone who lost a house to fire. Those are the folks I really feel sorry for. The rest of us just need to hand in there and cope.

  7. Oh, I am glad you are okay…you don’t show up in my reader any more so I unsubscribed and resubscribed to your blog. The kitty probably didn’t appreciate the bath – but they can’t really cool themselves very well…I can’t either. I worry that we’ll lose electricity in a tropical storm or depression.

    • Yeah I don’t know what’s going on in the reader thing these days. Seems like WP just has more and more bugs. Perhaps if they stopped creating new themes and started fixing stuff…

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