When The Lights Go Out

I was driving to a show on Saturday in Philadelphia with my family.  We drove around City Hall, and approached Broad Street.  We had to make a right turn on Broad Street to go to the Kimmel Center.  Broad Street was blocked off for police activity.  What do I do now?  I had one plan, but the police had another plan.


When our house was built in the 1960s, new power lines were installed.  People planted small decorative trees near the power lines.   Fifty years later, all of the trees built near the power lines are as tall as the power lines themselves.  There are thousands of trees near power lines in our area. Every time we have a big storm, trees topple over onto the power lines, and we lose power.

So we recently installed a generator.  Not one of the “pull cord” types.  This is a whole-house, always connected, always ready to take your call type of generator.  That is our “plan B” for power, heat and hot water.  We lost power for 5 days after an ice storm, and for 3 days after Hurricane Sandy.  At least three times a year, we lose power.

I don’t like taking ice cold showers in the dark.  I don’t like being without electricity.


Thirty years ago, people waited for pay phones at airports.  Now people wait for electric outlets.  No one needs a pay phone at an airport, but everyone needs more power for their cell phone.

I have a lot of spare cell phone batteries for my family and I.  We have “lipstick” batteries for a single charge, and we have “brick”batteries that can power a phone for 2 days of non-stop talking (or 14 hours of movie watching on my phone, on an airplane).


I don’t want my phone to run out of electricity, either.


What the batteries and generator represent is preparing for the unexpected.  I have at least 5 expressions that I use about this idea:

“Expect the unexpected”

“Be prepared” (I think this is the Boy Scouts motto)

“No surprises”

“If you’re going to surprise me, please tell me in advance”

“If you want to give God a laugh, tell Him your plans”.


I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like bad news.  I don’t like when the lights go out.  I mean the lights in my home, and the lights in my life.

So I try to plan for it.

We have medical/health insurance (x4), homeowners insurance, car insurance (x 3), dental insurance, vision insurance, AAA coverage, life insurance, and I have malpractice insurance (and I don’t even practice pharmacy anymore!)

That is a lot of insurance.

Just in case the lights go out.


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