Tuesday, July 10, 2012

110 Hours

Electricity.  It is an incredible invention that powers our modern world.  And it is amazing to realize how much we depend upon it.  Several days ago, a massive storm swept through my area knocking out the power in more than 450,000 homes.  This was Friday evening before the 4th of July.  Speculation and conservative estimates changed daily as to when our power would be restored.  Apparently, we're on the bottom of the totem pole because our final estimate was the following Saturday.  Thankfully, our power returned midday on Wednesday, July 4th.  We welcomed it with joy and elation.  But how did we survive the 110 hours we were without standard electricity?  Quite well, especially compared to so many other families.  Here is a list of things we had in our arsenal of no power survival kit:

1.  A generator.  This is indispensable.  It kept the fridge running, so most of the food was saved.  It ran fans in the basement to cool us off.  It charged our electronics and kept the Fios working.  If you are anywhere near an area where a power outage may occur, please invest in a generator as soon as possible!  Even if it just sits in the garage for years (like this one), you will be eternally grateful that you have it when you need it.

2.  A gas stove.  This means that we could cook food by simply using a match to light the burners.  We also used a double boiler quite effectively to re-heat food.  Worked just like a microwave.  By having a means of cooking, we were able to maintain a fairly normal meal routine.

3.  A large basement.  We moved all the mattresses into the spacious basement which allowed us to sleep quite peacefully in the relative cool rather than spending hours tossing and turning in the muggy sauna that was the upper level.

4.  Knowledge of the septic system.  I always knew that if the power went out, you didn't flush the toilets.  I figured that was standard knowledge.  I have since discovered that not everyone knows that trick.  Luckily, my household did.  So there were no showers.  No dishwasher.  No water down the drain.  And very few flushes.  We got along fairly well (myself better than others since I had friends who let me use their shower) until Monday evening.  It was at that point that our power return estimate was pushed back to Saturday.  Tuesday morning the truck came out, and we had the septic pumped.  Thank goodness we did!  Apparently, we were right at the brink of backing up, and trust me, you do not want a backed up septic system.  After the septic was pumped, we were told we had about 5 days of normal usage before it would need to be pumped again, i.e. we could flush and shower in the remaining days without power with no fear of backing up the septic.

All in all, I have to say that the power outage had little to no real impact on our lives.  True, the kids were a bit bouncier and tempers a bit shorter.  I will always count us lucky, however, insofar as we did not have to seek alternate living accommodations.  We were able to live out our daily routine without too much hassle.

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