Ellen Kern — My sister and resident of the 1,100 square-foot house off Wendover Avenue in Greensboro. After the ice storm took out power for some 150,000 residents of Guilford County, necessitating the declaration of a state of emergency, she was the only one in the family with electricity.

Brian Clarey — That’s me. When I realized my power was out on Friday morning and understood the amount of things I had to do, I knew I had to go somewhere I could get some work done.

Jill Clarey — No way was my wife going to stay home with the kids in a house without electricity.

Our 13-year-old son — Honestly, he might have slept through the whole thing. But if he woke up with a dead phone I do believe he’d absolutely freak out.

Our 11-year-old son — His entire life revolves around television and Minecraft. Would rather sleep in a dog bed than go without.

Our 9-year-old daughter — Cannot legally stay in a house without electricity by herself.

Robert Clarey — My father, who grew up in Albany, NY, drove clear across town on the ice rather than face the possibility of half a day without television.

Barbara Clarey — My mother loves stuff like this.

Summer — The senior dog of the house, who sometimes sleeps in the busy hallway.

Rusty Noodle — The beta dog, a golden retriever desperately trying to maintain his position in the pecking order.

Tiger — A young upstart pit bull. He steals food.

Nomi — A black moor goldfish that feeds at the bottom of the tank. Named for the lead character in the 1995 film Showgirls.

Cedric — A smaller black moor that feeds near the water’s surface.

Greta — A spotted, orange fancy goldfish with a completely different set of behaviors. “I’ve created what appears to be a complementary environment,” my sister says. “I Googled ‘goldfish happiness.’”


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