First off--Happy New Year! With family in town it was decided that it was better to take down the tree and decorations on the 31st while I still had the help of extra hands than to wait until after our short holiday in Baltimore and everyone flew home leaving just me... and K. The music was bopping, K was dancing and transporting ornaments from the tree to the table. The ornaments were off and I was almost finished putting them in boxes and the lights were down but not wrapped on their storage cards and we were probably 45 minutes away from searching the house for any last family belongings and packing everyone up to head to the hotel where my parents were staying. The plan was for K and I to stay here and hit the sack early while my parents took my car and drove themselves to the hotel. Neither of us had any big plans to ring in the new year, maybe just a little TV and then to bed so we could get an early start to Baltimore before any of the late nighters could even open their eyes. As I said...that was the plan.
No sooner had the last ornament box been closed than all the lights unceremoniously went out, power to the whole apartment complex gone. The only thing left running was the battery backup to the speakers we were using and the iPod's glow. The irony was that K's first New Year's Eve, when she was only months old, was spent at my parents home in California, without power. Then it was the after effects of a big drenching storm plus wind but we passed the time with friends having a generator enough to power the refrigerator and a stereo for music. This time I felt my way in the dark to my bedroom to retrieve my nightstand flashlight, and then began to gather a few other flashlights for my parents and K. K was getting pretty nervous at this point and really wanted the lights back on. When it became clear that this was not a temporary interruption I went for the camping box to pull out the battery lantern and the headlamps while we debated what to do. Not knowing how far the blackout extended nor how long the outage would last and knowing that without power there was no heater and it was going to be a very cold night we opted to bunk on the sofa bed at the hotel, come back in the morning. So instead of an early night and plenty of rest, I tossed and turned on the sofa bed and started the first day of the new year like many others, exhausted and in need of a Tylenol and more sleep.