So you know that we spent many years without a phone because as I said before, when the money’s gone, the phone is the first to go. Well, it wouldn’t be completely uncommon that when the money was out and the phone was already unpaid, that the electric bill would be the next to go. We probably “Lost” electricity once every 18 months on average and as always, when I was a kid, I LOVED IT! It always meant that we would come together as a family and entertain ourselves until bedtime.
Now, you should know that my dad is one of the most gifted child-entertainers, particularly in ultra-boring situations so my recollection of those days is quite fond. Of course, he had a lot of experience keeping us from going stir-crazy because every week my mom would leave all of us in the car for at least an hour while she went grocery shopping. She would NEVER let us go into the store because, obviously we would pester her for all kinds of name-brand wonderfulness and she would be forced to “deprive” us from it. I certainly cannot blame her for saving us ALL from THAT misery. Meanwhile, in the car my dad would put on fake commercials for us, make up silly songs, test our logic and so on.
Living in the darkness was something my folks were prepared for. We owned a few hurricane lamps for such occasions. Those are much like the ones you see on “Little House on the Prairie.” They have a bulbous bottom where oil is kept and then there would be a thick wick held in place with a twisty handle to adjust the wick length that should be held in the oil and the part that should actually be lit with fire. I can still smell the oil…it’s the smell of darkness and good times. Unlike when we were stranded in the alpha beta parking lot, on dark nights, my dad could play his guitar “’round the fire” which often became our entertainment of choice.
Once, when my husband and I had been married for at least 3 or 4 years, our electricity was turned off. At that time, I was in charge of the bills and (ugh) I didn’t have a reason to not pay it. The money was in the bank. Oooo- Eeee! I can still hear my poor enduring husband yelling at me for not paying the bill when we had the money to pay it. He could not, for the life of him, figure out how I could let that happen! “Was it just laziness?” he would ask me. I couldn’t give him an answer. I didn’t really know why I had the let it lapse. That night, we dined by candlelight and the next morning, bright and early, I was sent off to pay that bill and by noon we were back in business.
So many of my quirks have come to light since I have started this blog, so I have to wonder now if I didn’t pay that bill on purpose. Did I have guilt about having money to pay our bills? Did the poor, little, rich, white, Mexican want the family to appreciate the “gift of light?” or for that matter, the “gift of darkness?” Could it be that I really was just being lazy? All the other bills were paid. I have never let the electric bill go without payment since and recently, my hubby has taken over that responsibility anyway so now I just have to take my “kid-entertaining” skills and use them in doctor’s office waiting rooms and oil change waiting rooms. It’s a handy skill to have.