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Thursday, October 29, 2020

How to Tell You've got a 'Tween

Hurricane Zeta made landfall at our house late last night. We live inland, so the catastrophe here wasn’t as devastating as the folks who live right on the coast, but our yard is dense with trees. We have centuries old hardwoods mixed with Georgia Pines, and that combination mixed with rain and forty-mile per-hour winds is almost a guaranteed power outage.

This morning when I woke at seven am, to the sounds of muffled voices and flashlights beaming through the dark house, I realized that once again we were out of power. I am a fairly organic girl and there are many luxuries I can temporarily live without: water, electricity, current weather alerts, but not being able to have my morning coffee? Now that’s a little rough. I have to admit that my morning pick-me-up is definitely on the high-needs essential list. 

I sat up in bed, rubbing my eyes as I remembered that I ordered a two-hundred-and-fifty-watt mini portable generator on Amazon Prime Day a few weeks ago! I tripped over a pair of shoes before I was able to locate my glasses as I reached instead for the flashlight on my phone. I made my way over to the electric outlet I had it plugged the generator into and sat it proudly on the counter. In real life, the object was much smaller than it appeared online, but what the heck. I was ready to try out my new emergency survival toy. 

 The cords behind the coffee pot were all tangled but after fishing around for a few seconds I was able to unplug the cord and stick it into the socket of the generator and flip the switch to “on.” I could already imagine the caffeine flowing through my veins and before I even got the coffee filter out, Senia Mae came around the corner and spotted the generator. “We have a generator?” she said with excitement. I stood there proudly, feeling like I was taking care of my family like any wilderness prepared Mama would. “Can we plug in the wi-fi?” 

 “What?” I spat back at her. “I was going to use this for things that are necessary… like a cup of coffee or for plugging our phones in when they go dead.”

 “Netflix is kind of necessary,” Senia Mae said and I realized that gone were the days of us sitting in bed, snuggled up to each other shoulder to shoulder, while reading her favorite story. She was now a tween who had been sucked into the black hole of the internet. Who was I to say what was necessary and what should be considered “essential?”

 Of course, our needs were going to differ, and in general she’s a really good kid, sensitive and empathetic. Not this morning. Suddenly she’s all into her Hanna Montana-ish shows. So after the coffee brewed we found the cord for the router and plugged it into the generator. Now everyone is happy, I’m sitting on the porch watching the wet leaves blow, drinking my coffee as my daughter sits on the couch with her iPad. In a bit I’ll pry the device out of her hands and we’ll go take a walk on the dirt road to assess the damage. There will probably be some resistance on her end, but I’m not going to waste all of our limited electricity on wi-fi. I’ve given each of us just enough of our fix so we don’t get forced into detox!