Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
How proud I was to be able to make Christmas dinner without power! Too proud. “Pride goeth before a fall…” This past week, the southern part of Colorado was smooshed by winds that felt hateful in their fury. I personally saw 12 semi-trailers lying like dead bugs beside the road. (The state patrol reported 16.) Whole stretches of power poles lay like broken matchsticks. So my husband and I weren’t surprised to return home to a dark house. Power outage? No sweat. Right? Not so much.
Our power outage lasted about 40 hours—40 hours with no running water (that includes showers!), no Internet, no automatic cold for the refrigerator/freezers, and no idea of when the “adventure” might end. Uncertainty kills. We were mercilessly attacked by an inability to plan.
Okay, I realize there are people who’ve endured far longer stretches without power or worse, and I have a new admiration for them. One of the most difficult aspects involves attempting to maintain a “normal” existence. Of course I could give myself a sponge bath, but I had no hair dryer, no curling iron, no way to look like someone who expected to be seen. We bought dry ice and huge sacks of chopped ice to cool the refrigerators, but we had no idea how long we had to hold on. How much would we have to spend to avoid growing something lethal on our food?
I did my best to look on the bright side. Finally, I could burn up old candles! But candles aren’t all that bright, and our flashlights gradually dimmed. We were cooking in the dark on both a camp stove and our woodstove, so “eating with our eyes” didn’t seem important any longer. (Juggling a flashlight, the salt and pepper, a potholder, and a spatula simultaneously isn’t as fun as it sounds.) The special emergency radio we had on hand for just such occasions wouldn’t catch anything but static, dated country music, or Spanish language stations. Hola! I didn’t dare use my cell to listen to distant music for fear of running that battery down at an inopportune time. I also discovered how quickly a Kindle Fire dwindles if you play marathon solitaire.
People with electricity offered to help, so my husband and I eventually showered, but the cheery rendition of “Tomorrow” we sang before bed wasn’t as cheery by the fourth day. I considered writing an Ode to Our Toilets as we figured out how to flush—using water purchased from the grocery. (We have fabulous gravity-feed toilets that use .8 gal of water per flush.) Yes, flushing is important when you’re cocooned in your house.
Now our power is back. The rooms look dirty in all that light. But something is dreadfully wrong with our Internet connection, so I’m writing this with yet more outside help. The worst part of that is I have Internet friends I want desperately to support through their problems, and I can’t even tell them I’m not ignoring them. I’m simply cut off. (If you’re one of them, please know I DO CARE!)
Yes, the mighty have fallen. No more smug posts from me about my resourcefulness. I am humbled.