When the power goes out in BFE

I was going to write about how the Christmas tree came down much more gracefully than it went up. I had intended to write this column over the weekend, but I didn’t get around to it, and with the power outage, I switched to plan B, which was not to write a column at all since I didn’t have the electricity to submit it. When our power came on sometime Monday morning, I decided to write one for all those who won’t have their power until later in the week and may need some non-internet entertainment — as in the print version that comes out at the end of the week.

Sometime during my Florida friend’s second trip out to my new home, she told me we moved to BFE. Upon discovering the words Bum and Egypt were part of the phrase (I’ll let you figure out the rest), I disagreed.

I grew up out in the country with the closest town about 20 minutes away, and though it was removed from the heart of town, it was also away from the frenzy of a growing town’s traffic. Here we’re just 15 minutes from Enumclaw and only 20 minutes away from three booming metropolises: Covington, Maple Valley, and Auburn. Not to mention Black Diamond. So really? BFE? I didn’t think so. Until now.

It wasn’t the distance from a town that made me feel that way last week, though I often feel like I’ve driven off Mt. Rainier when I go into Covington. I’m eternally grateful for all the hardworking folks who brought our power back that early, because as of this writing, there are many places still out of power at the bottom of the mountainside. Rather, it’s what I left behind in Covington that I mourned.

I missed the house, but not the building. I pined for the accessories, so to speak. When the power goes out, I don’t mind the cold or at least I didn’t in the old house. We had a gas insert that started with the touch of a button. But the bragging rights belonged to the hot water heater that still made hot water even with the power out. Our neighbors weren’t even wired that way.

Ironically, the house closed just last Friday, less than two days before the power went out. I really felt like knocking on the new owner’s door – “Hello, do you know your hot water heater still works?” I shudder to think he doesn’t know what he has.

Out here in BFE, we have electric everything and we’re on well water. No electricity? No heat, no hot water, oh and no water at all. We zipped out first thing Sunday morning and got our hands on a generator. Then my husband, and at least a dozen other husbands, convened at the hardware store to figure out how to plug them in to the house. Wives at their heels shoving YouTube videos in their faces, because what we wanted was the whole house electrified, not just a couple appliances.

Quite honestly, I didn’t need heat, I didn’t care about having a shower, but I really missed flushing the toilet. Our success was limited, we got the fridge and a freezer running. Monday morning, after sleeping the clock around, because it was cold and dark, I growled my husband out of bed to fire up the generator so I could make a cup of coffee on my Nespresso.

Good thing the electricity came on before I had time to think about driving off my mountain, knocking on my old door and asking, “Since I’m here, can I take a warm shower, wash my clothes, and flush your toilet?”

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom living nearby in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.