If you are one of those families who have been without power for days due to ice and snow, you may look with disdain upon the idea of turning out the lights on purpose, but for our family on Thursday night, it was a necessity.
You see, we've gotten so plugged in and turned on, if you know what I mean, we can't seem to connect with each other. Things have gotten even worse since we replaced my block o' wood cell phone with an iPhone loaded with games and what not. The kids are checking my phone before breakfast, and rushing through homework to feed virtual animals or fight virtual battles in the afternoons.
By Thursday, both kids had "lost screen time" due to misbehavior, Tom kept checking sports news on his iPhone under the dinner table, and I felt more connected to my computer screen than my own flesh and blood. Dinner itself was some gross soup I made out of questionable chicken. We needed help.
I told the kids I heard a BLACKOUT was coming and promptly at seven, we turned out all the lights in the house. Using candles and our camping lantern, we gathered supplies. Soon we were at our (seldom used) dining room table ready to play Clue.
I told them one of my favorite childhood memories was losing electricity when my cousin was visiting from Africa. We had played several games of Clue then started dripping candle wax all over the game board until we had made a wax volcano and destroyed the board. I figured Tom wouldn't go for the defacing property part, but he would support the family togetherness.
I wisely selected Molly to be on a "team" with me, since the last time we played Clue as a family, she got so agitated she had to be ejected.
The blackout worked wonders. For starters, I couldn't see the mounds of laundry, paper piles and other crap that distracts and annoys me each evening. I couldn't sneak downstairs to "check on something" and read blogs until detected. BTW, am I the only one who has turned off the sound on her computer so that no one can hear her log on? Okey Dokey.
The candles sconces on the dining room walls created a perfect, creepy Clue atmosphere, and despite the fact that Tom narrowly beat everyone else out, no tears were shed. In fact, we laughed more than we had in quite a while.
Bedtime meant showers-- in the dark. During shower time, we all hung out in the master bedroom so that everyone was accounted for. We finally had time to read together. An added bonus: we all got to bed early because it seemed so much later than it was. Disc One, Season One of Modern Family (loving it!) had to wait until another day.
So while uncharged cell phones, defrosted refrigerators, and cold, cold nights are drawbacks of a real blackout, I am now a big fan of the self-imposed variety.