25 September 2013


Our power is out. This is only weird because the power has been out for nearly 10 minutes, which feels like an incredibly long time. In the 2+ months we have lived in PNG, the power has gone out nearly every day, sometimes up to six times in a single day, but the power typically returns within 30 seconds.

Today are embarking upon a new record, maybe more than one.

We have thought about suspended power outages and which devices would be most doomed – laptops (mine is currently at 28 percent power), cell phones (at 19 percent and draining), toothbrushes (charged yesterday, so I’m good there) and, my biggest fear – the refrigerator. I made a stocking trip Friday so we have a ton of food in the fridge and the freezer (a happy change from Singapore - large freezer and even larger fridge!).

Oooh, the power is back. And, as quickly as it returns, it again disappears. Cooking dinner may very well be out of the question.

Power resumes.

And out, and back on.

We recently invested in an external battery supply that allows our Internet to remain connected in the event of an outage. This, thank you, husband, is brilliant. Except that it beeps a high-pitched beep to advise us that the power is out - like we don't know. And, like an alarm that one just can’t get to, it doesn’t stop until either manually disarmed (foregoing Internet)…and we’re off again…every 3.5 seconds.

Maybe I should start plugging in my chargers in case the power comes back on…and it just did.

O.K., charging while I can.

When we lose power, everything stops (duh) – the lights disappear, the television zaps, the microwave falls black and we have nothing. When the power returns, only the lights come back on; everything else needs to be manually switched, including the air conditioners.

Here’s the funny thing about our air conditioners – they work as a set, not individually. Our units, like the ones in Singapore, are situated near the ceiling in each of our two rooms (that’s right, we live in a box); one in the living space and one in the bedroom.

And we’re out again.

The air con unit in the bedroom only works when the living room unit is on and set, and, bonus, the bedroom unit will only reflect the temperature of the living room unit. At night, on the frequent occasion when Paul goes to bed before I do, I layer up and ensure I have a good blanket to warm my cold appendages while Paul cuddles with the duvet.

Power. Super. Thank God neither of us suffers from epilepsy.

When outages interrupt naptime or an evening sleep (outages happen at any hour), we are awaken by the abrupt sound of the air con units halting and, of course, the ever-present annoyance beeping in the other room, first from the battery and then from our house phone, which has its own little jingle. When the power resumes, the battery beeping stops but the house phone jingles, announcing the arrival of electricity once again.

And we’re out.

I don’t know whether this is annoying or funny at this point.

I suppose I could do some yoga on my near-fully charged Nook (72 percent, woo hoo!).

We only have two windows in this apartment, one above the bed (on again….no, wait, we’re off), and one in the living room that is roughly the size of our door. Sadly, the living room window does not offer much light so we’re pretty much sitting in the dark.

And the lights are on.

Any guesses how many more times this is going to happen?

Three. The correct answer is three…so far…..

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