Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in guest blog, mommy guest blogger, sea cow circus | 0 comments

I’m Kristin, and I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Meghan for more than a decade (geez, Meg, we’re old). I’m from the midwest but currently live on the west coast of Florida with my husband of almost four years and our highly hilarious, absolutely adorable and insanely intelligent toddler daughter Elle, who will be 2 (what?! how did that happen?) at the end of the month. My home in the blog-world is Sea Cow Circus, where I tend to write about anything and everything that comes to mind. While Meg’s off at the beach, slathering on sunscreen and tossing back tropical drinks, I thought I’d share a recent weather-related story with you all.

Last week, Florida was hit by seemingly endless wind and days of pouring rain in the form of Tropical Storm Debby. While it could have been much worse, we were exposed to our first major form of tropical weather since we moved to Florida six years ago. And we did it with a TODDLER. And SURVIVED. (Barely.)

The rain started on Thursday but wasn’t relentless until Saturday, when it started and didn’t stop for the next four days. This would have been challenging enough, as it’s exhausting (for all of us) to be cooped up in the house all weekend and then some. We like to have the option to be able to get out of the house at least once a day, whether it be a trip to the park or a run to the grocery store – toddler energy runs high and our condo can only help expend so much.

The effects of Tropical Storm Debby weren’t all that bad overall … until Monday morning around 5:40 a.m., when I woke up, heard everything that could beep in our condo let out a powerful “BEEP!” … and then heard a loud pop outside as everything in our condo went dark. (As dark as dark can get in an already dark condo. You know.) 

Awesome, I thought, followed by the obvious: The power is out. Thoughts I did not have at the time: The refrigerator. The freezer. The air conditioning. Ohmygodhowlongcouldthispossibly last.

I had the good side of the deal – I got up, showered (yay for unexpected hot water!), got ready by candlelight and went to work, where there was power and I could charge my cell phone. Tim was off on Monday, though, and was faced with a near-dead cell phone battery and an almost 23-month-old who did not understand why Sprout wasn’t on the TV.

Reports from Tim throughout the day confirmed that we were still in the dark, despite various promising updates from the power company as to when we could expect our power to be restored. He told me that Elle was thoroughly confused as to why the lights were out and kept saying “Daddy fix it? Power on?” When Tim couldn’t wave a magic Daddy wand and make everything right, Elle turned her pleas to one of our cats, saying “Mario fix it?” She begged to be allowed to watch the Gigglebellies on the computer and was stunned when Tim wouldn’t/couldn’t grant her request.

Elle and Super Daddy in happier times
enjoying a baseball game, sans tropical storms.

When I arrived home from work around 5:30, the condo was toasty, and thenatives were restless. Since we couldn’t cookdinner, we headed to Panera, home of yummy food and the added bonuses of air conditioning, Wi-Fi andplaces to charge the phones and our laptop.

After a leisurely dinner, Tim headed to the gym, and Elle and I ran a few errands, trying to waste as much time out and about as possible in the hopes that the power would be back on by the time we returned.

Just before 8 p.m., we pulled in to our condo complex, and Elle’s excitement grew as she saw headlights behind us and lights on in the complex office and first few buildings. “Mommy, lights! Lights on!” she cheered. I was less optimistic, however, especially as I followed the curved road that brought us to our building – and saw no evidence of lights on in our building or the neighboring ones.

Alas, we still did not have power. So I pulled out all of the candles I could find, a move that resulted in our home smelling like a Yankee Candle store had vomited in the condo. I was pretty sure that all of the food in the refrigerator would have to be thrown out, so at this point I was mentally calculating the reimbursement I would demand from the power company for time and money spent to replace groceries as well as the mental pain and suffering that the power outage in the June heat was causing our family of three humans plus two cats.

Elle found enjoyment in the experience, though, as she was fascinated by the candles and channeled her inner Kanye West with a  repeated “Imma blow ’em out!” (Cute side note: If I ask her to get her brown sandals, I’m always rewarded with “Brown candles, Mommy?”) Even more captivating than candles, though, were the flashlights. This will be a go-to rainy day entertainment in the future, as she loved turning it on and off and seeing the beam of light on the ceiling, wall, her legs, etc.

Flashlights are fun!

The poor girl had to go to bed in the heat and with no fan for air circulation and white noise, no small light to cast a soft glow in her room. She woke up once, understandably scared and disoriented, but we felt like we lucked out that she rolled with the (power-less) punches so well. The latest estimated power restoration time we had been given by the power company was 3:45 a.m., although I hoped and prayed it would be sooner. Tim and I went to bed, tossing and turning in the unmoving, un-air conditioned air. I slept terribly, and when I woke up to get ready for work the next morning, we were still in the dark, and I was irritated.

I dreaded facing another day without power – this was just not fun. Thankfully, Tim texted me at 10:45 that morning to tell me that the power was finally back on. Apparently he and Elle hollered, cheered and danced in celebration, and she made a point to say “Power on!” periodically throughout the rest of the day.

While we survived the experience (and it could have been much, much worse), I worry that Elle is suffering from some TSPTSD (Tropical Storm Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Our possibly pyromaniac daughter now seems to have a radar for candles, wanting to “Smell it? Touch it?” any time she sees a wick. She also adamantly insisted “Power on!” one night when I told her it was time for a bath, not time to watch the Pajanimals.

“Let me watch the Pajanimals and no one gets hurt.”

Meanwhile, I’ve never appreciated air conditioning more than I have in the last week.