Sunday, October 14, 2012


Nesting is such a weird thing.  It always makes me feel a little bit crazy--having such strong urges to do such random things.  Before Henry was born, all of the boys HAD to have haircuts, and they HAD to all have brand new white undershirt pajama shirts.  Stat.  And the last few days, I've been all in a tizzy about needing to get to the store to buy a Costco-sized pack of batteries, in case the batteries die in our big family flashlight this fall.  This, even though in the last two years that we've lived here, we've only lost power once, and it was out for maybe 30 minutes in the middle of a weekday morning. 

Where do these urges come from?  I know they're supposed to be instinctual, but they don't make a lot of sense to me.  I understand wanting to fill the pantry with food and wanting the house to be clean and warm.  But white pajama shirts?  Haircuts?  Flashlight batteries?  Why does that stuff matter now?  I'm pretty sure the mamas way back in my ancestral line weren't worried about those same details.  It makes me feel a little foolish for fixating on them.

We woke this morning to a huge windstorm.  Justin jumped out of bed and ran out into the storm to stake up our new peach tree (a baby shower gift) and make sure it wasn't pulling up out of the ground (it wasn't).  Then he headed to the store to buy milk for the boys' Sunday cereal, and lo and behold, he was barely out of the driveway five minutes when the power went out.  Aha!  Stupid flashlight battery urges.  At least I felt just the tiniest bit mollified (even though I haven't actually purchased the batteries yet).  Then I hear from the living room:

Cole:  "Okay, you guys!  Come on!  We have to find ways to stay warm!"

(Enter several pairs of boy feet pounding up the wooden staircase.)

Reese:  "Whyyyyy?"
Cole:  "Because we don't have any HEAT!"  (We haven't used our propane heat in a year and a half.....we heat with wood.  And we have several years worth split and stacked undercover on our porch.  Sigh.)

They come back downstairs all wrapped in big sleeping bags and stuff themselves through the kitchen doorway, where I am chopping the leftover baked potatoes from last night's dinner to fry up for them (cereal doesn't fill bellies well in this house). 

Cole:  "Mom!  Can we make a fire?"
Me:  "Why?"
Cole:  "Because it's SO COLD!  And we need to stay warm!  There's NO POWER!"
Me:  "Honey, we don't use our heat anyway.  It's fine."
Cole:  "Oh.  I know.  But I'm still cold.  Can I make a fire?"  (huddling in sleeping bag).
Me:  "No.  I know the power's out but really, it's so warm.  Go check the thermostat."

He shuffles out and yells from the living room, "Thermostat says it's 68!"
Yeah, no.  No way this pregnant mama is going to okay a fire in the woodstove when it is already nearly 70 degrees....

However.  I did tell them that we could light one in the kitchen stove/cooktop so that I could still make their potatoes and cook up omelettes for Justin and myself in the cast iron skillet.  They ran around like crazy, bumping into each other, arguing and yelling to "Get the wood!"  "Find the matches!"  "No I want to do it, Mom said I could do it!"  "WE'RE OUT OF MATCHES!"  (We weren't.)  Thank the Lord it wasn't an actual emergency.  Justin walked in to the middle of this mayhem and the boys all dashed to the table, desperate to fill their aching bellies now that we were in Survival Mode and Actual Lives were at stake.  Cole dug the Rice Krispies out of the cabinet and I heard him mutter to himself as he moved the dried fruit out of the way, "Oh, PRUNES!  Good.  We still have prunes," and give a deep contented sigh.  As though the September bounty from our plum trees would buy us just a few more precious moments at the bitter end.

So.....survival instincts.  It's possible we may be just a bit off-base with the things we find important.  I'm shaking my head just remembering the boys wrapped in sleeping bags and running around the house in chaos in a 70 degree house full of food....but the truth is, the things I'm worried about aren't a whole lot better.  We adapted this morning and were pleased to discover what we COULD do...we ate hot, fried potatoes, veggie omelettes, and we ground our coffee in the mortar and pestle before putting it through the press.  We made a mental note to replace the tea kettle soon, since it's obviously made for electric stoves--the handle is plastic and gets a little more melted every time we have to heat it on the cooktop.  We lit an oil lamp so that we could see to cook in the dark corner of the kitchen.  And then we sat and dreamed a little about being more self-sufficient and less reliant on the electrical stuff we take for granted (Sean sniffed about not being able to play video games----he doesn't play video games anyway).  Baking bread and cooking a chicken in the crockpot are both on my list of things to do today...and both of those would have been ousted had the power not come back on just a few minutes ago.  Oh and the LAUNDRY!  What would I do with my piles of dirty laundry if I didn't have power?  Certainly we would own a LOT fewer clothes.  Power's back on now....rainy-day video games back in full swing...but I'm thankful for the chance to reevaluate my life yet again and consider changes that might make our footprint just a wee bit smaller. 

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