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    An Open Letter to the Power Company

    March 26, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Dear Power Company,

    {Yes, MPL, this means you.} First of all, I would like to thank you for replacing the transformer in our neighborhood. After all, it is a real bummer when it breaks in the heat of summer and the temperature in the house skyrockets to 120 degrees within minutes. Since I will be pregnant this summer {in my final trimester, no less!}, I appreciate this even more than usual.

    However, comma…

    You sent me a letter saying that you would be turning out the power in our home. At 9am. I took your warning and prepared accordingly. We were all up on time, all dressed on time, and all packing our bag on time. There is nothing like a lack of electricity to give us a good excuse to go to Grandmama’s for the day.

    Everyone was excited. I, for one, was excited at how on time we were.

    So imagine my dismay when the power went out 35 minutes in advance.

    Now, for most people, this is not a big deal. But I keep my Suburban, which I must, by my lone pregnant self, fill with numerous children before leaving, in the garage that has the electric door opener.

    The second the power went out, I groaned inside. After all, I had been in a race to beat the clock, and you cheated. I knew how bad it could get, how utterly dependent on technology we were when it came to getting out of the garage without a muscle man to assist us.

    It was E. who opened the door leading to the garage, and his sisters instantly screamed because it was dark. Pretty soon, the whole crowd was murmuring about the monsters they were convinced lived in the garage.

    I commanded them to hold the door open, hoping enough natural light would filter in that I could find the maunal pull. I couldn’t. I asked for a flashlight, only to learn that the children recently broke all of them and didn’t find it necessary to mention this fact. In the meantime, Q. had, without my knowledge, tried to follow me into said garage and then, finding herself in utter darkness, she began to howl and cry.

    It was great.

    In frustration, I called my husband. I wanted sympathy, empathy, whatever he could offer. I only slightly wanted a solution because I was toying with the idea of playing victim all day long. His reply? “Why don’t you open the door of the Suburban and see if that sheds enough light to help you find the pull?”

    Oh. As his grandma would say, dummy me.

    Sure enough, his idea worked like a charm and pretty soon we were all fighting about who was going to buckle whose carseat. It was great. I jumped into the car, backed it out into the drive, and pressed my handy little garage opener button.

    Nothing happened.

    I had forgotten that I would need to manually close the door also.

    So I got out of the car and locked the children in, hoping that there were no spies waiting to arrest me for breaking child endangerment laws. I ran into the garage, only to find there was no way to close it with my level of strength and height except to close myself inside.

    And so I did. I groped my way through the darkness, trying to find the door into the house. I ran into an ice chest. I ran into a stroller. I ran into a suitcase. I found the door. I ran through the house. I fumbled with the keys. I unlocked the door. I locked the door. I jumped back in the car.

    And, Power Company, I am thinking this is all your fault. After all, I knew it was easier to leave before you turned the power off. It doesn’t bother me in the least that you needed to turn it off.

    What bothers me is that you lied.

    Next time, tell me the truth. If you are going to turn it off at 8:30, don’t say 9! If you are going to turn it off at 7, that’s okay, too. Just give me fair warning.

    At the very least, it will give me the chance to back the Suburban out of the garage.

    Brandy Vencel

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