Saturday, February 5, 2011

Who Turned the Lights Out?

We did.

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.


Christy said...

Very cool indeed. When my kids are older, we'll follow suit. For now, my baby wouldn't know the difference and both my kids have early enough bedtimes that we have evenings to ourselves. That said, I like the idea of no tv/computers too - and Matt and I have been lighting fires and playing backgammon again in the evenings instead of the usual tv/computers and it's a nice break! Loved the post, and hope you're all having a good weekend. Miss you!

Brenda Susan said...

Very good idea and it sounds so fun!! You are one SMART mama!!

Anonymous said...

Good. For. You. !! Do it again.


Becky said...

Nice job! Love the idea.

L said...

You are a genius!!

Cynthia said...

I LOVE it! You are so freaking creative!!!

anymommy said...

I love it too. And I should do it to myself. My children will die of Dora withdrawal.

Amy said...

I would love a "message out". No cell phone to follow me everywhere I go. No voice mail when I don't interrupt a call for a "waiting" call. No answering machine to dog me when I get out of the shower. No email. No Facebook messages.

You get me on the phone or you don't. It's such a radical thought it frightens me!

I have a heart attack if my husband unplugs the phone for an hour... WHAT IF? and he answers - "If someone is dead, they will still be dead in an hour."

for a different kind of girl said...

Very great idea! My kids got iPod Touches for Christmas and I've barely seen their entire faces since because their noses are always pressed into the screen, right now, he youngest is taking his turn at the Wii after the oldest had his, and, alas, I'm, long story short, I need one of these blackouts to happen here. I suspect there will be chaos, of course. However will my husband get by without TV?!??! But something big needs to change before we all start going around talking like robots here...and not in a good way!

(except is there ever a good way when robots are involved?!)

mosey (kim) said...

Awesome. Some of my fondest memories of the past few years have been when we've lost power for a few days and just have to "make do". Creativity is born! I'm actually going through something similar right now - recognizing the "numbing" behaviours I have - most of which are internet-related. So I've started mapping out "black outs" throughout the day, before breakfast, after dinner, and it's amazing the difference it makes...

Gretchen said...

I love this idea. You are awesome.

And now I hate you a little bit that you are so clever and got your family together for some wonderful memories.

Hate you in a green-eyed monster, "I really wanna be more like her," sort of way. Because you're so cool.


Cat@BudgetBlonde said...

Such a great idea Anna. I love storing all these away for when I have kiddos someday. I can totally get sucked into blogs after work etc. and leave little time for anything else. I recently read a cute blog where the mom had a funny accent evening once a week where they had to talk in an english/australian/ghetto accent at dinner, so funny!

Heidi said...

Great idea! I'm thinking we're not far behind you. Dinners at our house must be spent together at the table. No electronics. We do that, but the amount of time we're all on the computer or the phone or playing a video game is increasing and sometimes it freaks me out. I love your self-imposed blackout.

Isn't Modern Family awesome??