There’s nothing like nine days of no power to make a person really appreciate how dependent we’ve become on technology. Even something as simple as making a cup of coffee has been revolutionized in my lifetime.  Our coffeepots never used to have digital displays and fancy timers to set your coffeepot to start brewing on its own early in the morning.  That’s right, kids – when I was your age, we used to have to get up, turn on the pot, and wait fifteen minutes for our coffee to brew.  You youngsters have no idea how easy you have it!

I remember our first microwave.  My father brought it home for my mother one Christmas, and it was the size of a dumpster.  We were in awe of this monstrosity, which could cook bacon in half the time. This might have been our first brush with real, honest-to-goodness, modern technology.  (I can’t quite remember which came first – the microwave or the VCR?)  Regardless, when I realized it could heat up a bagel in 30 seconds instead of having to wait three minutes for our antiquated toaster, I was in love.

My next love affair was with the word processor.  I’ve always loved to write, and my mother had found an old typewriter at a tag sale that I would bang out short stories on in the afternoons. as a kid.  When my parents presented me with a word processor one Christmas, my writing career took a whole new path. So long, sore fingertips and white-out!  I could now write twice as many stories in half the time.  I lugged my word processor back to college, and promptly put it to use, writing humorous narratives starring my college roommates.

But by far, the most life-changing techno-revolution for me has been my love affair with Apple products. (Blogger Linda O., who writes a fabulous blog that you can find HERE, calls it iLove.)  My iPhone is my constant companion, and I spend (or waste, whichever) most of my day emailing, texting, and fighting zombies with cartoon plants on that little phone.  My iLove for the iPhone is only surpassed with my iDevotion to my iPad.  iKnow it’s annoying. But if you own one, you know what iMean.

This morning, I came across a gigantic fanged tarantula with beady eyes in my kitchen.  I was barefoot, so I quickly looked around for something with which I could squish it.  There was my sleek iPad, cradled in its case, sitting next to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a 562-page hardcover that I picked up at the Book Barn in Niantic last week.

Lets face it.  Modern technology isn’t always better.
 
 
I had hoped to sneak through the week without an updated blog post, but since my fans (particularly one Judie T. of Maine) have grown increasingly ornery, here it is.

I couldn’t update the blog on Saturday because I spent Thursday through Sunday working at the Hebron Harvest Fair.  As a board member of the New England Horror Writers, it was my duty to sweat my butt off, trying to pawn off free short stories to passerby who were quite frankly more interested in the fried dough than the literary gems I was handing out.  After being ignored for most of the afternoon the first day, I decided to pull out the big guns.  I dug through my closet to find the lowest-cut blouse I owned.  Miraculously, my sales doubled (to two) the next day.

It was a hot weekend, and my sunscreen gave out about two hours in on Saturday.  I wound up baking like a potato, and am now unable to breathe too deeply without my skin cracking.  It was all for the sake of art, so I guess it was worth it.  Plus, when my tomato red finally fades to a toasty brown, I expect to save a ton of money on foundation, so that’s a help.

Greeting the public as a horror writer was a little different than just hanging out at a convention debating small press versus self publishing with other writers (sure, you might find that boring, but to us, it can spawn hours of intellectual discussion.  That and the debate about who is cooler: Gambit or Wolverine.)  But with the general public, the questions I heard were a lot different:  “Why did you decide to become a writer?”  “Does your mother know you write this sicko stuff?”  And, by far, the most popular question: “Have you ever met Stephen King?”  (A question that I’m sure one Judie T. gets often simply because she lives in Maine.  But I digress.)

It was hot.  I was tired. After four days of the same questions over and over, my answers became fairly rote.  I became a writer to scare the crap out of little children like yours.  My mother is the lady in the back of the booth there handing out ‘buy my daughter’s book’ buttons.  And yes, I’ve met Stephen King, and he told me to tell you he hates you.

At the end of the week, I was not one of the most popular authors there.  The rest of the writers made me sit in back with my mom, even though I thought it was silly for me to be handing out ‘buy my daughter’s book’ buttons.  I was accused of being crabby.  I was ticked off that Kurt Newton (author of Ultimate PerVERSEities, buy it here) kept trying to fry an egg on my sunburn.  I had to face it:  I was simply not capable of maintaining perkiness for longer than 48 hours.

Which is why, Miss Judie, I did not post my blog this week.  Forgive me.  I will be back on Saturday as usual.  Hopefully, my perkiness will have returned, but if not, at least I will have a killer tan!
 
 
I like to think of myself as a strong, independent woman.  However, it turns out that if you take away my electricity for a few days, I turn in to a slobbering, weeping mess of hysteria.  Honestly, the cow in Twister displayed more tenacity than I have this past week. Let’s take a look at the past few days:

Hurricane Day:  Jason and I wake up to no power. Jason fills a couple of empty kitty litter buckets with rain water so we can flush the toilet for the day.  We joke about having to read by flashlight and we eat melting ice cream for lunch.  After the hurricane passes, we drive around the neighborhood and assess the damage.  Jason almost trips twice on downed electrical wires.  It occurs to me that we might want to conserve our toilet water.

Day 2 of no power:  I pack up what’s salvageable in the freezer and go over to Mom and Dad’s, who have a generator.  My nephews and I catch frogs, and then I help my parents pick up branches in the yard.  All in all, it’s one of the best days I’ve ever had.  Then I return home to my dark pit of a house.  I don’t bother reading by candlelight tonight; I’m asleep by 9 PM.

Day 3:  Brushing one’s teeth with bottled water is a little tiresome, but I brave through it. I bring some empty jugs of water to work with me as our toilet-flushing water is dangerously low and our house is starting to smell like a public urinal.  We visit my in-laws at night to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday.  I’m so jealous of the fact that they can run their dishwasher that my teeth ache.

Day 4:  Depression has set in, and I wake up weeping.  My carpooling buddy reports that her power was restored to her house the night before.  Even though I love her, I kind of want to punch her in the face.  At night, the cats start going crazy, hissing and howling as they look out the front window. Coyotes are circling in the yard.

Day 5:  If I have to eat one more peanut butter sandwich for lunch, I will hunt down George Washington Carver and disembowel him for inventing the damn stuff.  Jason informs me that GW Carver is already dead.  Keep arguing with me, Mr. Smarty Pants, and you’ll be dead soon too.

Day 6:  I hate everyone.  You smug holier-than-thou jerks with running showers at home can kiss my grimy butt.  My sister, whom I once would have died for without question, keeps hogging the shower at Mom’s house.  We’re barely speaking, except that we’re the only people we know who have it as bad off as we do.  Everyone in the entire state of Connecticut has power except for our house, my sister’s house, and my parents’ house.  Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as Longo luck.  There is, and it’s very, veeeeeery ugly.

Day 7:  My husband has run away from home and I’m insanely jealous, because I’m positive wherever he is, there’s a working television.  I miss my soap opera. I miss being able to cook a hot meal from frozen meat products.  I miss doing laundry.  I vow to make the sign of the devil every time I pass a power company truck…except I haven’t seen one on the road since before the hurricane hit.

Day 8:  A man wearing a full suit of armor knocks on our door.  He is from the electric company, and reports that we can expect our power to come back on in six days.  I break all of the fingers in my hand when I try to slap him.  Now I understand why he’s wearing the armor!  Jason rummages around the basement by flashlight to find a baseball bat to smack him with while I distract Sir Lancelot.  He’s not stupid.  He runs away in his armor, but I do get a small twinge of satisfaction when he trips and falls over the power line lying across our driveway and can’t get up.  I go outside and kick him.  Break my toes.  Figures.

As Jason says, we have learned a couple of important things this week.  For instance, neither one of us will ever bother to audition for Survivor.  And if the zombie apocalypse ever does happen, I hope I’m one of the first to have my brains devoured.