Ever since we moved to St Louis, I’ve joked that St L is halfway between Seattle and Tanzania (where my sister Michelle lives). And it’s really not true–we have access to most all of the American amenities of life here.
But, this week it’s a little more true. We are fully 1/10th or even 1/4th of the way to Musoma, Tanzania this week. At 5pm in the middle of a week of often 100+ temperatures, the power suddenly went out. Which means no A/C, no fans, no refrigerator, no electric stove, and obviously no lights. Not that A/C in an old brick building can do much in 105 degree weather, but it can keep it in the 85 degree range, which is way better than 105.
So what’s a hot Seattle-hailing family to do? Well I’ll be honest–my first reaction was to freak out, and then complain, LOUDLY. Though all the while cognizant that my dear Tanzanian sister went without water for several days just last week. Which I thought about, and then continued complaining.
And we weren’t without recourse—my wonderful husband packed up Alaythia and I into our nicely air conditioned car, and drove us off to a giant, fancy supermall in the suburbs. It was surprisingly empty and wonderfully cold, and Alaythia gleefully raced through each store and along each kiosk, admiring many a pair of sunglasses, fancy purse, or shiny watch. She managed to exert a great deal of self-control when told to look and not touch, and so she joyfully looked and looked and looked, and exclaimed about each and every item (“Pink purse!!!” “Sunglasses!” “Pretty watch!!!!”).
Once through part of the mall, we arrived at our main destination–the movie theater. We searched the current movie selections, only to find there was exactly one movie that we could take a toddler to at that point in time: CATS & DOGS: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. In a great act of self-sacrifice, Kabyn bought the tickets, we put on our 3D glasses, and in we went.
And it was a BLAST. Such a fun, silly family evening. Alaythia loved it and sat on my lap, quietly, engrossed in the entire movie. We laughed–sometimes hard–and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
We emerged from the mall happy, cool, and refreshed—only to find that at 9:30pm, it was still 93 degrees out. How is that even possible? Plus humidity, of course. We drove home, nervously hoping for the power to be back on—and thankfully, it had just come back on. We gratefully ran into our apartment and turned on all the fans. Seattlites, let me just tell you that it is mighty hard to keep a small carbon footprint here. Mighty hard. We do what we can, but nothing about being here makes it easy…
The next day, we worked away on work, school, toddler play. The day heated up. And at 5pm, guess what happened—the power went off, again. This time we called friends, packed up all our perishables in the fridge that were quickly going bad (bad choice to stock up on produce two days ago at Costco…), and took all our veggies to their house and cooked us all a dinner of a conglomerate of perishables. They graciously let us unexpectedly invade their home, and we had a fun evening out and about. Thankfully, power was on by the time we returned home, but we did find out that last year, the power went out, in August, for ONE WEEK STRAIGHT! AAAAAAAH!!!
The next two days are supposed to be scorchers, then it looks like we’re back to cooler weather (i.e. high not above 91). The power didn’t go off today, but we’re kind of preparing for it to go off sometime over the two days. We hope not, but, we’re a little more ready this time.
So maybe we’re not really halfway to Tanzania, but once you start preparing for power to go off at any unexpected moment in the midst of mind-numbingly hot weather, it does start to feel like we’re somewhere close.