at the canteen

So…yeah. Apparently in the Roanoke/Lynchburg area, all the wind was at my house. Because we had no power for a few hours yesterday, and some trees were down, and stuff, and on my way in to work today there was tree debris coating the roads on the way out of my neighborhood. But then once I got on the main road there was nothing. And my coworkers tell me that it wasn’t bad here last night at all. So we’re on a normal schedule today. But I’m leaving early because I have to work on Sunday. Ugh.

Ha- I was just checking email while writing this and I see that ABV has asked for what occasion one would purchase a battery-operated television. And it turns out that the reason we have it is kind of funny indeed. So I’ll tell you about it.

My mother works at a veteran’s hospital, which has a canteen. The canteen is tax-free and carries an assortment of stuff, and you can buy it using payroll deduction if you work at the hospital.

So my mom, who never used to be a shopper, has been bringing random shit home from the canteen on at least a weekly basis.

It’s become a running joke at our house – she’ll show up wearing or using yet another new item, and we’ll ask where it came from, and before she can even answer we stop ourselves and go, “Wait. Let me guess. The canTEEEN.” And she just responds with a sheepish grin.

Not only is Mom a canteen shopaholic, but she also has a tendency to buy things that she really wants but feels guilty about purchasing. So she works through this buyer’s guilt by calling it a “gift” for someone in our household.

That’s how we got the little TV.

We had absolutely no use for it. It’s color, handheld, and I know I said the screen was five inches yesterday but actually it’s only about three inches.

My mom thought it was cool and bought it “for my dad.” I have no idea how much she paid for it. When she gave it to him (for Christmas? I’m not sure) he was like “uhhhh, thanks.” And then, not surprisingly, my mom was the one who played with it all the time.

She’d sit in the living room and watch it while we were watching something else on the big screen TV six feet away. Sometimes she’d watch the same show on her little TV that we were watching on the big TV.

But mostly it was a useless little trinket, a novelty. Until last night.

It’s really a testament to how dependent we’ve become on electricity that our power was out for about five hours last night (with a half-hour fakeout of being on), and about two hours into it we were bored out of our skulls. We were fine, reading and coloring in coloring books until it began to get dark.

We had the hurricane lamp lit, and we had flashlights, but it was a pain in the ass to read with them after we lost daylight, so we just sat around and stared at each other. I got on the computer on battery power. We told dirty jokes and sang bad songs.

We got the little TV out to check the weather forecast, and when 7:30 rolled around, we cranked that sucker up and played along with Jeopardy!

And then, at 8, we propped it up on the kitchen counter, stood around it eating KFC on paper plates, and watched Survivor till the power came back on around 9.

Pathetic? Maybe. But you know what else? We had a great time.

And yes, we’re glad Mom came across that little trinket at the canteen.

7 Replies to “at the canteen”

  1. You never know when those type of things will come in handy. I rememebr my mom gave me one of thsoe stupid credit card sized flashlights one year in my stocking at x-mas. I thought it was the dumbest thing until i drove back to my apartment in Charlestona nd found that the lights were out. Then it was the best gift ever. well, at least for a couple hours. lol.

  2. Stupid question: what's the canteen? Also, glad to hear you made it through the night. Call me if you want to go see the Pop Rivets! Should be a good show, I'm dragging B.Do. Later!

  3. Canteen- like a general store, with military affiliation. They have them on bases and stuff. I'd love to go see the Pop Rivets, and Sam might too. But. My aunt is flying in today and the fam may want me to spend the evening with them. I'll give you a call if I can go.

  4. That's awesome – all of it, but especially your mom watching the same show on the couch in the same room as the other teevee – that's fN dedication to one's purchases.
    Now I want KFC.

  5. Our local power grid was off for about 50+ hours, but since we have a solar/battery system, we still had power for refrig, lights, well, etc. It was odd looking outside and not seeing any lights whatsoever in the neighborhood, while our lights blazed like a civilization outpost. We slept in the basement while the eye passed close by, but I couldn't resist the temptation to get online to track the storm at it's closest passing. Since we don't usually watch tv, we didn't that night either.

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