Family time came in a strange form last night. Thanks to
record heat (over 100 degrees in many Southern California areas, and close to
95 in ours), and the constant running of air conditioning units, our
electricity went out yesterday and didn’t come back on until today around noon.
Now, you may say this is awful because that means we didn’t
have air conditioning all night, but the fact is, we didn’t have it to begin
with, as many homes in our coastal location do not. So already our home had
reached a scorching 95 degrees inside. The fans helped some, but once the
electricity clicked off we no longer had their help either. My family was
cranky, sweaty and stinky and, by almost five that night, very hungry and
So we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner, something
that we never do mid-week and rarely on the weekends. Once you have one kid,
and then two, going out to dinner proves difficult if not completely impossible
at the end of an already long day. We filled up on all you can eat salad and
pasta and then my husband and daughter scarfed down not one but two helpings of
brownie with ice cream. The baby ate smooshed peas and a baked potato and we
sat around and talked about our days.
Back home, we got out of the car and were surrounded by neighbors,
all wondering about out electricity situation. As it grew dark outside, the
kids played tag and monster and other kid games and the adults joked about the
one house that had a generator, and how we would all be over later for bedtime.
Someone mentioned that it seemed like a midwestern evening, because out in the
Midwest people actually step outside and talk with neighbors at night.
At home, we lit candles and gathered comforters and pillows.
My daughter, who is three, believes in monsters now, so we decided to camp out
on the living room floor. There, we curled up beneath the living room windows
at just 8:30 PM and promptly fell asleep.
Last evening, I had a ton of work to do. I am working on two
articles for one publication, an article for a new magazine for whom I’ve just
been hired to write, two websites and some PR materials for a handbag company.
From the desk, my computer glared at me like a forgotten child. I spent about
half a second worrying about the things that I needed to get done and couldn’t
complete, and then I realized that it was out of my hands and I would make the
best of the night off instead. And then, for the rest of the evening, I didn’t
think about work. Instead, I focused on the family.
Sometimes it takes a blackout, a heat wave and a push and a shove to get us all
together, but that is what we need. If you haven’t camped out on the living
room floor with the family in a while, do it, even if your electricity is
running. You’ll never believe just how productive you can be the day after
until you do.