Are we having fun yet? | Living with Gleigh

All this snow was so much fun until the power went out. Now it's cold and dark in the house. My oldest summed it up last night when she said, "Having the power out is depressing; it's cold, dark and cakeless."

All this snow was so much fun until the power went out. Now it’s cold and dark in the house. My oldest summed it up last night when she said, “Having the power out is depressing; it’s cold, dark and cakeless.”

The power came on for 10 minutes Thursday night then went off. When it came on a half hour later, we thought it would hold. An hour after it had been on, I literally stood up to make a cake and the power went off again. That was at about 6:50 p.m.

So here we are on Friday afternoon at the library; along with all the rest of the Covington residents. The kids have been reduced to doing homework in the library. They have nothing else to do; it’s cold in the house and the fun snow is now just a sloppy mess.

Besides homework in silence at the library, we were discussing how things could have been so much worse: I could have made the cake and have just been putting it in the oven when the power went out or I could have made the cake and it could have been in the oven partially done when the power went out; both scenarios are markedly worse than not getting to make a cake at all.

To top it off, our only heat source when the power is out is our gas fireplace insert. It chose Thursday morning to spring a gas leak. I smelled it when my husband was getting ready for work, but quite honestly I thought our septic tank was going bad. It smelled like rotten eggs and when I got up about three hours later, I was sure bad things were happening to our septic when I went out into the living room. The smell was in the hallway and in the entry way; which is odd considering the septic tank is on the other side of the house. As I got closer to the fireplace, the source of the stench finally occurred to me. I got my youngest and her friend up at the ungodly hour of 8:00, just to come smell it, so I could be sure. (Well, I initially woke them up to literally check for signs of life before I made them smell).

I shut the gas valve off that feeds the fireplace. Then it took me the rest of the morning to get rid of the stench by opening the front and back doors to let not only the smell out but the remainder of our heat. The smell must’ve been heavier than the air, because it took so long to move out, at one point I wasn’t even sure it had been the fireplace leaking and had to get the neighbor to come over and smell, just for a fresh nose.

I called my husband who pointed out that the stench is more powerful than the leak so you can smell it long before it could kill you. Hmm? Not sure that was comforting or not. My mom was worried and ready for us to move out. I told her we’d go to a hotel if we had to, but that I wouldn’t leave until my husband came home from work. I mean, why should he rush home from work just to die along with us?

Seriously, though, gas leaks are nothing to mess with and by that time I knew it had been the fireplace and was on top of it. Besides the carbon monoxide alarm hadn’t gone off and our bird, who resides in the living room, wasn’t dead. Miners used to bring birds down into mine shafts to check for carbon monoxide. If the bird died the miners would hustle themselves out of the mine.

Okay, now I’m just being deliriously morbid. It must be the cold or my skewed perspective on life. We all will have our winter war stories; I mean we had to eat all our ice cream before it became a soupy mess. My neighbor called me before I came to the library. She told me how they had their wood fireplace going and a generator to keep their fridge running and kids’ movies playing. I told her how we still have hot water when the power is out…. she said “lucky dog.”

I better just quit while I’m not ahead.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read more of her writing and her daily blog on her


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