Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Power outage

The power went out this morning and since we're on spring break and it was raining most of the day I was so busy trying to keep the kids busy that I forgot to look at COVID-19 statistics until the evening! They were not a pretty picture when I looked at them. I remember when we first reached 100,000 confirmed cases (Saturday, folks; it was Saturday) and it felt so surreal. We are well prepared to reach 200,000 cases tomorrow. We had 748 confirmed deaths today (tying with Spain and right on Italy's heels) (edited to add: when I checked the statistics in the morning, the day's confirmed deaths numbered 912, beating out both Spain and Italy). Just a week ago we were still dying by the 100s. Soon I fear we'll be dying by the thousands.

But we press on.

Usually in our pyjamas.

Rachel, who is most committed to the cause, calls it "the pyjama challenge." She admitted she's not even sure if that's a real thing (it probably is) but she's doing her best to remain in pyjamas at all times (though I am occasionally successful at coaxing her into actual clothes). She doesn't have many pairs of pyjamas, honestly, so this morning we decided we'd be brave and would make a pair of pyjama pants for her. After all, I've sewn napkins on the sewing machine—and just this week I hemmed a curtain that was too long—and Rachel made a skirt once. So, we're, like, totally qualified to sew a pair of pyjama bottoms, right?

Sure.


I have a bolt of fabric that I took from Karen's stash of crafting and sewing supplies and we'd planned on tidying up the Lego/craft/play room so that we could break it out to begin our little sewing bee. We thought we'd make a pair of pants for Zoë first (so that if we royally messed up we wouldn't waste as much fabric) but were still in the middle of tidying up when the lights flickered and went out, plunging us into darkness. There are no windows in this section of the basement.

"Okay, who turned off the lights?" I said accusatorially.

My children are wild hooligans and it's very close to April Fool's Day...in fact they nearly forgot that March has 31 days until I reminded them they'd have to wait an extra day to play their pranks.

"No one," Rachel said from the darkness. "I think the power went out."

Benjamin, in the farthest corner of the basement, had been playing with Lego and started panicking because he was trapped in a minefield of Lego pieces. "I want to get out!" he cried. "Help me get out!"

We left him there crying while we fumbled around in the dark, trying to find a phone or a flashlight. My phone, I knew, was upstairs, but Rachel had fortuitously found a flashlight mere moments before and had set it aside in her "to put away" pile and promptly found it so she could guide Benjamin's bare feet through the Lego pieces strewn so perilously all over the floor.

Alexander did not like the power outage at all. He kept saying, "Bis is bad. Berry, berry bad! Berry, berry bad!" every time he discovered something new didn't work. The lights didn't work. The water from the fridge didn't work. The bathrooms were dark. I couldn't microwave his lunch. We couldn't watch Daniel Tiger. We couldn't listen to music. "Bis is berry, berry bad!"

But we managed to get through the day. We tidied up Zoë and Alexander's bedroom and the kids built a big marble run with the Duplos. Rachel and Miriam made their way to the reading loft—in the dark, with flashlights—to do some reading time up there in the pitch black. The kids played wax museum. They coloured. We went for a walk (when it stopped raining). We played ukulele.

Oh, and they fought. They fought and they fought and they fought.

I'm positive a few of them were grumpy from staying up too late too many nights in a row (Zoë was still up singing to herself at 11:30 last night, and got up bright and early this morning (love that for me)) but they were all at each other's throats. So I broke out a present I'd been saving for Easter—a set of perler beads (which Miriam told us was an absolutely ridiculously redundant name since perle means bead in French) and the kids had fun making patterns on the peg boards. We couldn't iron them, of course (which was berry bad) but we made our designs and set them aside until later.

The kids were all talking about the patterns they were making and Alexander said, "And I'm making a star patter-een," because he had the star-shaped peg board.

"It's patter-in," Zoë said matter-of-factly.

"Well, that's still wrong," Rachel said. "But nice try."

Since the kids' spring break doesn't line up with Easter at all I figured now was perhaps even better timing for a gift of this nature than Easter would have been. Not that our lives will be back to normal by Easter. Not that there is a normal to get back to (have a feeling life after this pandemic will just be...different...though I don't know how).

We had fun together and the kids enjoyed watching me iron their creations several hours later when the power did, indeed, turn on—just in time to make dinner, too! Lucky us! (Otherwise it would have been cold something-or-other since our only non-electric cooking source is the grill and Andrew didn't feel like standing in the pouring rain to grill anything for dinner (and we were avoiding opening the fridge as well since we didn't know how long this was going to last...so perhaps our dinner would have been more room-temperature this'n'that than anything either cold or hot)).

Perhaps tomorrow we'll try our hand at sewing...

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