Hazmat suits come in, clean the walls, floors and ceilings. They even had to rip open the walls and spray behind them to prevent mold spores from returning.
So, like many Richmonders who weathered Irene's wrath only to witness their lights feverishly flickering for one, two, three and finally the last time before all went dark, this time we decided to try a different attitudinal approach to those wonderful entities we can't control. Part of this emotional overhaul involved cheesing out and looking at the bright side (feel free to slap me for even using that phrase) while trying to salvage the good, if any, that could be found from being forced to sit in the dark night after night only to freeze your tailhole off in the shower each morning. Here's what I came up with.
No More Reality Television
Not having television was a blessing in and of itself. It goes without saying that most of us lose a certain percentage of brain cells while watching hours upon hours of TV. There are several studies out there already making solid cases regarding the lasting effects of the idiot box. Throw in the fact that it's a pretty good libido killer, makes you fat and sedentary and causes everything from chronic eye strain and headaches to insomnia and excessive snacking, and in my opinion, TV should be banned altogether.
All of these pleasantries get even further magnetized when you throw in reality television. From Guy Fieri's bone-head cooking commentary, "Dude, that jammin' chili is totally money!" to Nadia G's Bitchin' Kichin', where said host (while dressed like a porn star) channels the love child of Tony Soprano and Vinnie Barbarino while showing the rest of us how to make "Liquid Gold Chicken Broth", I figure whatever percentage of brain cells one might lose while watching Anderson Cooper giggle like a 6th grade girl quadruples when it comes to the rest of this crap. And, don't even get me started on the Kardashian's. Who are these people and why are they famous? They don't sing, dance, act, write, create art or contribute to society in any way other than offering the rest of us a voyeuristic gander at their impending weight gain.
I thank Irene for preserving a substantial part of my neocortex this week.
Going to Sleep at "Advanced Age" Hours
Is it dark outside? Time for bed! As many of you know, when the sun disappears and there's nary a light to be found within a 5 miles radius and it's a new moon, it's dark as hell. Just taking a whiz in the middle of the night is exercise in architectural memory and wall touching. So, why stay up staring at your dwindling candles when you can hop into bed and blissfully nod off while enjoying the soothing sounds of buzzing generators?
Waking up is even better, since for the first time in a long time, I actually arose with the sun and didn't feel like crap. Instead, I felt refreshed and ready for the day. Perhaps, I'll hit the mall for a little power walk or maybe do a bit of gardening. If the grocery stores are open, maybe I can get there at the ass crack of dawn to score some of the 50% off produce deals. Who wants to meet for watered down coffee and then chair yoga? I'm up, and I can do anything!
No More Electric Coffee Maker
No power doesn't necessarily have to mean no coffee, and I have to admit, not once did I miss my coffee making goods. Why? Two words: French press. Per usual, the French know what tastes the best, so let's get back to the basics of making coffee. While espresso machines make me all warm and fuzzy inside, I have found a new love...the basic press pot. Since we had a gas grill, each morning we could get some water, heat it up in a tea pot on the grill and then press away the essence of what makes coffee so incredible, which is essentially an immaculate combination of fine grounds and natural oils that are released directly from the beans into the water. It's coffee in its purest, natural form, and if you haven't tried it, you must, even if you decide to keep your electric coffee maker.
Twitter and Facebook
Sorry guys, but I missed neither of you. While Twitter was valuable during the height of the storm for news and updates, after that I was no longer smitten and more than happy to oh...I don't know... read a book. Furthermore, being away from social media for an extended period gave me a rather frightening realization. I am addicted. There, I said it, "My name is Kendra and I am addicted to social media." Let the healing begin.
The fact is, even though it's essential for my job as a freelancer writer, I spend way too much time voyeuristic-ally exploring every nook and cranny of both Facebook and Twitter, especially when I have writer's block, which is when I should be writing actual words versus characters. And, let's face it, how much truly valuable information does one really gain from Facebook? Your baby just spit up on her brand new Gymboree jumper? Rats, that's a bummer. Got a vacation coming up six months from now that you can't wait for and already posting your packing list? Can't wait to scroll through that one. Got close-up photos of that odd rash for all to see? Recommend getting off Facebook and making an appointment with the dermatologist ASAP.
And Twitter.... As I mentioned, it was valuable for information re: Irene, but on a daily basis, it honestly resembles one, long streaming advertisement. Yes, I have been guilty of adding my junk to that stream, and I will continue to do so unapologetically, but if one day I woke up to read (on Facebook I presume) that Twitter had disappeared...poof! Just like the dinosaurs. I would shed nary a tear. Instead, I'd pop open a bottle of bubbly and thank the good Lord for giving me my life back.
Got a positive when it comes to not having power? I'd love to hear it.
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