Sixth Sense

Our electricity went out again last night, for the third time in a week.  Thankfully, the temperature has been a bit more moderate than it was last week, when we were in the midst of the worst heat wave in recent history. Lately when the power goes out, it’s never completely out, which is another blessing. We can run ceiling fans, although their speed waxes and wanes with the fluctutating voltage. Same with the lights, so there is an eerie dimming effect that occurs occasionally. It’s a little like living in circus haunted house.

Nevertheless, between the power problems and some very boisterous thunderstorms which rolled through about 4 a.m., no one slept very well. When I got up this morning, it was gloomy and dank, but comfortably cool. I had just enough current to power the coffeemaker, although it took quite a while for the water to pour through and the coffee wasn’t quite as hot as i like it.

The power company forecast a return of service between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., so anticipating a long day of trying to stay cool, I laid pretty low all morning, keeping mostly to my reading chair which afforded me a comfortable breeze from the fan.  I realized how oddly quiet the house was. No humming refrigerator, no intermittent click-whirr of the air conditioner powering on. No buzzing reminders of washing machines finishing a load, or dryers shutting off. It actually wasn’t all bad this morning, have a few hours of complete peace to start the day.
The dogs, who usually get up with me, had found their own cool corners, and seemed to be sticking to them. In fact, as the morning wore on, it occurred to me that they were unnaturally quiet. I purposely got up and rattled around in the kitchen, which usually brings Molly right to my feet on the off chance that there might be a morsel of something coming her way.


I went into the bathroom, and opened the medicine cabinet whose creaky door seems to be the signal that I’m getting ready for the day and there will soon be a biscuit available.


I tiptoed into the bedroom and checked on them, much as you would a baby you hoped not to disturb. They were both sleeping peacefully in complete zen-like tranquility, their breathing nearly imperceptible, their limbs totally relaxed and limp.  It’s almost as if they had a sixth sense about the need to conserve energy and remain cool, and had gone into a state of canine hibernation, not even wanting to rouse themselves to eat – and if you’ve ever had a dog, you know that’s an act which goes against every canine instinct!

Animals are such sentient beings, and my two have proven time and again their ability to sense things about the atmosphere – and particularly about their masters. They know to an absolute fact when I’m just thinking about giving them a bath. Even if I never mention the word, Magic can tell I’ve prepared the bathtub in the basement and will run and jump into Jim’s lap for protection. When I’m in my office working and heave a certain sigh that means things aren’t going the way I’d hoped, Molly will be at my side within seconds, her little paws planted on my knees, her fluffy tail wagging rapidly as if to offer her services for assistance. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me when I hear of dogs being trained to predict seizures or blood sugar abnormalities in their owners, or any of the other claims people make about their pets extraordinary capabilities.

In an unexpected surprise, our service was restored about noon. As soon as they felt that cool blast from the central air conditioning, they came to life and started about their regular morning business, knowing things were back to normal again.

I wish I could train them to predict power failures. That could definitely come in handy around here.





7 thoughts on “Sixth Sense

  1. Your dogs (family members) are adorable. 🙂 I am sorry to hear that your power went out again. The heat has been unbearable this summer thus far. I am looking forward to some Fall weather.

  2. We lost power last night, too, and for just about the same period as you. An amazing storm, about the most dramatic lightning storm I’ve ever seen. The dog went crazy, as always: he whines and begs until we let him out, and then he runs and barks for hours, until it finally all goes away. Today, he is utterly spent. As are we. I liked the quiet that we enjoyed in the morning before everything started up again: we boiled water over the grill for coffee & cooked up a pan of eggs & bacon for breakfast; read books; talked. I was kind of sad to see the lights come back on.

    • There is something kind of refreshing about not having electricity – for a little while, anyway! I hope it stays on today, because it’s boiling hot out there!

  3. Dixie Rose has that “sixth sense” when it comes to getting her flea treatment and going to the vet. I finally figured out that it’s easier to do the flea treatment if I open the little tube and just lay it on the coffee table – then ignore it for two or three hours. When she’s in the vicinity, I can grab her, apply the drops and be done with it before she has time to get under the bed.

    As for electricity, you can count me as a fan (uh – pun not intended). I’ll not have to worry quite so much now that Mom’s gone, but every year there are elderly who die in overheated homes and people who get into trouble because of no power for their breathing machines and such.

    It’s especially bad after ice storms and hurricanes, of course, but the grid is wearing out nationwide and it’s going to take less and less to take people offline. Perhaps when our politicians have solved the debt crisis they can do something about our infrastructure. Bets, anyone? 😉

    • There is a huge problem with the elderly in my neighborhood when the power goes out. I know it’s related to a grid problem although the power company refuses to acknowledge it. Every time it goes out, we call and lodge complaints with the “excessive outage department.” Yesterday afternoon, a young man from customer service called me right after it came on and asked how I would rate the service I was getting.

      “Do you really want me to answer that now?” I asked.

      I did mention to him the hardship these outages during the high heat place on elderly people – like my 87 year old neighbor with congestive heart failure – and that the company might be facing some “liability issues” should one of these older persons suffer dire consequences as a result. I hoped the L-word might give them slight pause.

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