Winter Strikes Back: Sorry!

Here on our small patch of North American earth, we have a few hardy flowers, some buds, and a little green in the grass, along with a few bugs. Saturday proved to be as warm as advertised (70s F.), cloudy sometimes, sunny at other times. Yuriko and I took a pleasant walk at the Spring Valley Nature Preserve.

On Sunday, the warm air held the promise of rain all day, but it held off long enough to allow me to replace a dodgy hinge on our wooden gate and do other things around the back yard, such as pick up the wintertime debris that collects here and there. Lilly and I sat around on the deck for a while, and I could feel the air cooling down. In the span of about half an hour, we lost 10 degrees.

Today, cold and snow. So cold that it stuck, as of the early evening.

On Saturday evening, Ann wanted to play a board game. She plays more video games than any other kind of game, so I thought it was a good idea to oblige her. We don’t have that many games, though, and decided that Monopoly and Risk would involve more time than we wanted to commit. So we played Sorry! Lilly and a friend of hers played, too. Not the most engaging board game in the world, but it has its moments.

BoardGameGeek (“gaming unplugged since 2000”) mentions a Sorry! alternate that sounds interesting: “Sorry! can be made more of a strategic game (and more appealing to adults) by dealing five cards to each player at the start of the game and allowing the player to choose which card he/she will play each turn. In this version, at the end of each turn, a new card is drawn from the deck to replace the card that was played, so that each player is always working from five cards.”

Someday I need to teach Ann and Lilly the rudiments of Risk. Maybe they’ll never play it, but maybe they will. Once or twice a year in the late ’70s and early ’80s, I played Risk with some of my high school friends, and I have fond memories of the games. Eventually, we got to know each other’s strategic thinking pretty well, such as the fact that one of us (and he knows who he is) inevitably took the offense. That is, attack! Outnumbered? Attack! Surrounded? Attack! Just do it! Sometimes it worked out for him, usually not.

The Presidents Day Blackout

At 5:10 p.m. the electricity flickered, went out, returned for a few seconds, then went out for about 50 more minutes.

Time to be dramatic: Blackout! NW Suburbs Without Power! Family of four plunged into uncertainty of powerless, dimly lit Monday evening! Forced to eat dinner and play a board game by candlelight!

But it wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t that cold today, so the house didn’t even lose that much heat. There was no obvious reason for it — no windstorm or ice buildup on power lines. Just one of those things.

Only three of us were here, since Lilly was visiting a friend at the time. I checked the block and everyone else’s power was gone as well, though the lights outside the school behind our back yard were still glowing. Lilly reported later that Twitter had informed her that some undetermined local area was dark — her friends were tweeting about it, I guess, but it couldn’t have been too large an area, since her friend (about a half mile from us) didn’t lose power.

Our TV and Internet were gone, but how can that be a bad thing for a few minutes, especially that fine silence where the TV used to drone? We discovered that our camping lantern, which contains four D batteries, has actually been a container for dead batteries for a while now. But we have about a half-dozen candles, and so ate our Japanese curry-rice by their light. Good thing the rice had cooked by the time the juice went off, though we could have boiled pasta and had curry-pasta.

Ann wanted to play a game: Sorry! As we prepared the table to set it up, the power came on again. I told her we could still play, and she still wanted to play by candlelight, so we did, though her mother was watching TV in the same room, so it wasn’t quite the throwback experience it might have been. Her yellow men edged our a victory over my green ones, four home to three home.