Sweet Sangria

Unlike others in the city, Erin and I appear to be lucky enough to be on the same switch as a hospital or a fire station, because after the power came on at 9:50 p.m. on Thursday, it's stayed on ever since. Both my parents and our friend Dan have been hit with rolling blackouts.

Even so, we're conserving power like the rest of the province. Even if we had our air conditioning installed, we wouldn't be using it. It's tempting, though. The blackout hit during a rare (for this summer, anyway) heatwave, and it's been getting uncomfortable in the house. The temperature in the livingroom was 78'F at 11 pm last night. So, Erin and I coped by inviting Dan over to play Trivial Pursuit and making sangria and root beer floats.

An interesting bit of kismet occurred during the game, however. "Who held his African country's heavyweight boxing championship nine times throughout his career?" Idi Amin. "What African leader titled himself 'the Conqueror of the British Empire'? Idi Amin. We thought "geez, I can hear the announcer now: "entering the ring: nine time national heavyweight champion! The Conqueror of the British Empire! He who likes to eat his opponents! The Butcher of Africa! Big Daddy! The Lion of Judea -- oh, sorry, that last one's Haile Selassie--"

Well, guess who died yesterday? Idi Amin. Well, it may not be very Christian of me to say this, but this is one person the world's not going to miss...

Anyway, down the street, our local Sobeys has been hit with rolling blackouts twice, so far (possibly more). Meat is on sale for half price, with the strict instructions to cook it thoroughly and immediately upon bringing it home. I made fettucini bolognese with it (early Friday morning in case the power went out), and set it aside to reheat like lasagna when we were ready for dinner.

The cashier at Sobeys tells me that the store has fifteen minutes of reserve power when a blackout hits, so they have fifteen minutes of mayhem to clear people through the cash registers, assuming their customers have cash (debit card and credit card transactions stop dead during a blackout). I don't know what happens to those people with food in their carts who don't have cash. Possibly they're out of luck... Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins and other ice cream places were giving away their stock for free yesterday (and, why not: they were defrosting, anyway). A simple, but brilliant idea for clearing out stock and doing their community a very good turn...

What's disturbing is the fact that Kitchener appears to be running out of gas. Even stations with power are turning away customers because their supplies are running low, and deliveries aren't expected for a while. Our refineries can't work without a reliable supply of electricity, and it probably takes a while to feed the entire province with trucked in gasoline from Manitoba and Quebec. Fortunately, Erin and I have at least another 100 miles of gas in our car, and we intend to use it sparingly.

However, it's getting warm and boring again in the house, so Erin and I have decided that we must step out. Pity there isn't a beach nearby, but perhaps we'll find a store that has air conditioning where we can stay for a while...

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