Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Creature of Habit

No, this isn't a post about renowned Beagle of Habit, Katie. This is instead an admission that it doesn't seem to take much to throw me off my morning stride these days. And once that happens, it turns out that my day is surprisingly vulnerable.

On Monday -- for those who didn't hear enough of my whining about it in the Extremely Local News Report -- we went without electricity for fourteen hours, from a little bit after midnight until 2:30 pm or so. Apparently some branches came down in our snowstorm and managed to take out a transformer with them, blacking out most of the south side of Wolverine Lake and a chunk of northwestern Walled Lake, too, just for good measure.

So there we were, snowbound in the midst of The Great April Blizzard* of '09, no power, no light, no water, at Nature's mercy as the indoor temperature plunged towards freezing. So we did what any sensible Midwesterners of pioneer stock would do. We stayed in bed with several layers of blankets on top of us and waited for DTE to restore our electricity. Eventually brave Beowife Monique bundled up in her parka, took Katie the Beagle for a walk, and then drove out to fetch us hot coffee, newspapers, and sandwiches while I re-warmed the beagle by tucking her under the blankets, too.

Fortunately, just before civilization broke down entirely, power was restored and I was soon spending my evening watching televised sporting events on a plasma TV. Ahhh, crisis averted.

Or was it?

Apparently my brain was still frozen this morning. Sure, I got up, shaved, showered, and drank my coffee just as usual, revelling in the return of hot water and heat. Then I packed my laptop computer in its carrying case, set it on the stairway next to the door, and headed into the kitchen. There I packed a delicious lunch of leftover seafood stew and a few tangerines. The only real blip in my delightfully powered morning came as I fretted a bit about the fact I had already had two mugs of coffee, so there wasn't really enough coffee left in the pot to bother filling my usual travelmug. But I solved the problem by nobly taking on the caffeine martyrdom of bad corporate coffee from our kitchenette once I got in the office. Crisis averted, I bundled up, picked up my notebook, picked up my lunchbag, headed out the door, brushed the snow off the car, and drove in to work.

You can already see where I went wrong, can't you?

Just seconds after parking the car, I said several naughty words as I visualized my laptop computer case, sitting there on the stairway next to the door. After making a brief and embarrassing appearance inside to confess my ineptitude and shame, I got back in the car, drove home, and worked from home the rest of the day, calling in to meetings over the phone so as not to expose the innocent to my great shame.

This would all be embarrassing enough if it was the only time I had pulled such a boneheaded stunt. However, it's the second time that I've done this in the last year. This is like a carpenter showing up to work without his toolbox or a figure-skater going to the rink sans skates.

I would blame it all on general disorientation caused by our Monday blackout and move on, but I did have several rehabilitative hours of sports on the big, honkin' plasma TV Monday night. I think what really threw me off was not having a coffee to sip in the car, and not having the travelmug to carry out with me as I schlepped my other stuff. I mean, I felt as if I lacked something when I went out the door, but I knew what it was: my travelmug.

Still ... sheesh. It would be bad enough if I had just forgotten to pack the laptop altogether. But to pack it up and set it on the stairs right next to the front door, and then forget it?

Yeah, it was a power outage of some sort, that's for sure.

*Well, it was six inches of wet snow. That's a "Great Blizzard" when it happens in April, as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Many years ago, Rich went to work one morning in his slippers. Completely forgot about those silly steel toed boots. Nothing says burly on a job site like slippers.

  2. Hah, just heard from somebody else at work who was laughing at me yesterday, and then forgot *his* laptop today. Ha! Ha! Ha!

    I wonder if anybody would even notice if I wore my slippers to work one day. Maybe I'll try it this summer. Nothing says non-burly like a job in which nobody notices if you wear slippers.