It took a hurricane to keep me off caffeine for a day.
As Hurricane Irene worked her way up the East coast on Sunday, I awoke at 6 a.m. without power. I looked at the trees blowing in the wind. With no coffee or Internet calling my name, I fell back asleep. At around 9, we all got up and installed batteries in a portable radio. We heard the news that, yes, there was a hurricane outside and much of the area was without power. We had bowls of cereal with still-cold milk.
I am a coffee fiend, and I was definitely feeling the withdrawal. A low-grade headache and lack of energy were with me most of the day. (Giving up caffeine for a day was one of the items on my 101 things list, and I had been putting off giving it a try.)
I went back to bed and slept until 12:30, as did the rest of my family. I virtually never can fall back asleep once I’m up!
After a lunch of pasta salad that I had prepared the day before, we broke out the board games, which was another item on my list of 101 things.
We all played Monopoly while listening to news updates on the radio.
After a late afternoon update that the storm had passed, we ventured out into the neighborhood for a walk. The rain had stopped, and the wind still gusted occasionally. Some trees were down and we talked to one neighbor whose roof was damaged, but overall our area was fortunate to not have much damage, although the power was out everywhere we saw.
My sons got hired by a neighbor to do some yard work. While they were down the street, my husband and I started making some “Cowboy Chili” over a fire in the backyard. I had some still-frozen ground turkey and homemade chicken stock that I wanted to use up before they went bad, and then I just used whatever else I had on hand.
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- canned beans: kidney, pinto, garbanzo
- can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock (or water)
- small can green chilies
- small can enchilada sauce
- spice mixture: handful each of cumin, coriander, chili powder; dash each of oregano, salt, and pepper
I usually cook my chili for a long time over low heat. Over the fire, though, it came to a rapid boil and was done in no time. I let it cook for about 10 extra minutes after it was assembled.
It was delicious.
Another item on my “101 things” list was dinner by candlelight. This was not how I initially pictured it, but it was good all the same.
After dinner, we hung out around the radio listening to a show of great stories about nemeses on NPR. I remembered my dad’s stories of how excited he was as a boy to wait for “The Shadow” to come on the radio.
We were very fortunate that none of us was hurt, and we had no damage from the storm.
And we had such a great day: it took a hurricane to get us to sleep in, go for a walk together, play a board game, cook over a fire, and gather around the radio. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect day spent with my family.
Great as it was, I let out a little squeal of delight when the power came on late the next morning.
Were you affected by Hurricane Irene?
- #45. Have dinner by candlelight.
- #55. Play, give away, or throw out each of the 32 board games in my basement. (1/32 completed.)
- #99. Give up caffeine for a day.