Sunday, September 04, 2011

A Day Without Caffeine?

As soon as I woke up I knew it was going to be a decaffeinated day.

It was dark. Pitch black. "That's not right," I thought. "Where are those big red digital numbers on my alarm clock?" It took me a moment or two to collect my thoughts. Then I got it. Another damn power cut. We had two last Sunday, but that was during a hurricane. There was no hurricane today. How could we have a power cut without a hurricane? "Uh oh," I said, apparently out loud. "Yes, it went off at five o'clock," said my wife from the darkness beside me. How would she know that? She must have been awake looking at her clock when the power went off, I guess.

I lay in the dark. I wasn't going to go back to sleep now. I needed a cup of coffee. The first think I do every day when I wake up is make some coffee for both of us and we drink it in bed while she reads her book and I do another couple of puzzles in my MENSA Absolutely Nasty Level 4 Sudoku book. Hey, use it or lose it! But how am I going to make a cup of coffee with no power? Hmmm. I guess I could boil some water in a pan on the gas stove and make some instant coffee. But then I would still have to open the fridge to get the milk out, and someone told me last weekend that you should never open the fridge when the power is off because you never know how long it is going to be off and once you have let warm air into the fridge all the food will spoil. Damn!

I lay in the dark and thought about how much I needed my cup of coffee. Maybe we should get up and drive around until we find somewhere open that sells coffee and possibly breakfast too? I wondered how extensive the power cut was. Are our neighbors off too? I got up. I looked through the curtains. There were no lights on in any of the houses around us. But it was only just after five o'clock so what did that prove? Maybe the power company doesn't know about the outage yet? Maybe I should report it? Where's the flashlight?

My wife found a flashlight and I went off to find an electricity bill to find the phone number to which to report power outages. I looked in my office filing cabinet. Duh! Of course I don't have any electricity bills. I went to paperless billing years ago. All my electricity bills are on the Internet. And the cable modem is down because we have a power cut. Duh! Eventually I found the number to report power cuts on another notice from the power company and dialled it. I was really needing my coffee by now...

I spoke with a very friendly machine at the power company's phone number. I pressed "1" in answer to one question and then "8" in answer to another. Then the machine wanted to know the phone number associated with this account. Hmmm. I wonder which of our several numbers that would be? Or failing that I could tell the friendly machine the account number that is printed on the electricty bill (which of course I don't have.) I guessed which phone number we had used when we opened the account and I guessed right. Now the friendly machine wanted to know if my neighbors had power cuts too. "Please say Yes, No or I Don't Know." I said, "I Don't Know." The machine didn't understand me. I said, "I Don't Know," again. The machine still didn't understand me. I really needed my coffee by now. Eventually the machine let me press "3" to indicate that I had no clue as to whether my neighbors had power and that I wasn't going to call them at 5am on a Sunday morning to find out. The friendly machine thanked me and wished me a good day. Hmmm.

I went back to bed and daydreamed about coffee. I wondered how long we would be without power. My son was without power for four whole days this week. Maybe we would have to go and move in with him if it's going to be that bad? My other son and his wife and my minus-two-month-old grandchild are coming to visit us today. If power doesn't come back soon I will have to call them and tell them not to come. Maybe we should go and visit them instead? I was desperate for coffee by now.

Just after 6 o'clock the power came back on. I got up. I made coffee. I went back to bed and drank coffee and completed a couple of MENSA Absolutely Nasty Level 4 Sudoku puzzles.

Carol Anne made me do it.


Carol Anne said...

You need one of these:

My grandmother had one. It now belongs to Gerald.

Of course, if you lose BOTH electricity and gas (as happened in Houston after Alicia), then you're hosed.

O Docker said...

Am I the only one who makes drip coffee one cup at a time with one of these?

Of course, you still have to grind the beans, and I use an electric mill for that. But, on the boat, I am prepared for any eventuality and have a hand grinder, too.

Forget about oil shortages. If you want to see western civilization really brought to its knees, try threatening the coffee supply.

Which brings me to the question I'm really wondering about. At what point in your life did you transition from a cuppa tea to coffee?

George A said...

Tillerman: I feel your pain all the way down here in Maryland. We're usually among those that lose power during storms and long ago I learned to turn to the trusty gas BBQ grill with it's handy side burner to boil the water. Next you need a back-up brewing system. Mine is an old Gevalia plastic cone that takes a Nr 4 sized paper filter. Stick that baby over a coffee thermos and you're good to go. Oh, one more thing: if you generally grind beans remember the little grinder also needs 'lectric, so before the storm hits buy some already ground coffee--not the best but better than nothing and much better than whacking beans with a hammer before your hand/eye coordination is dialed in...

Skip the questionable milk--why risk an upset stomach when you're already cranky due to the humidity and general inconvenience of the storm? Instead use some rum to balance the flavor. Works for me.

Smilicus said...

In SA we also get a lot of power cuts. For those who need their Caffeine, one can buy the chocolate covered coffee beans - talk a bought a caffeine high after a few of those.

Will it be legal for Laser racing thou?

Baydog said...

My girls convinced me to drive to Dunkin Donuts. That side of town had power.

Tillerman said...

Good question Smilicus. Is caffeine legal for Laser sailing?

I do remember talking about caffeine a few years ago with a sailing coach who used to be one of the top Laser sailors in the US. When he was competing at the top levels in the sport he used to take caffeine tablets when sailing. But I think he said that he had to be careful to limit his intake because at the time caffeine was one of the banned drugs.

Smilicus said...

Can believe that not only for legal reasons you should not have to many of those beans, cause on a small boat like a laser your hands shaking can spoil you smooth sailing capability...

Carol Anne said...

Oh, yeah, those chocolate-coated coffee beans really rock!

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