Our area was hit by a freak snowstorm last weekend, and the repercussions are still being felt throughout the region. At our house, we lost power Saturday night at 8:30 as we were scooping out pumpkins for kids to carve at Lydia’s 7th birthday party planned for Sunday. At first, it was fun. We lit candles and kept scooping. It quickly got un-fun, as the nighttime temperatures dropped into the teens, and the outage kept going, and going. We eventually got power back on Monday at 7:30 – that’s 47 very long hours with no light, no heat, and no hot water. I shouldn’t complain quite so much, because there are STILL people without power.
What really sucks about losing power:
1. It’s cold. The house slowly got colder and colder, and the fireplace only heats the area right around the fireplace. We spent a lot of time there. The house made it down to 53 degrees at its coldest.
2. The freezer unfroze, and the fridge ended up warmer than the rest of the house. We put the milk and other spoilables onto the screened porch, and managed to save the milk and cheese, but all the meat products had to be tossed, and we ate things from the freezer as they thawed.
3. Not having light is a major bummer. Especially at this time of year. We made sure to eat dinner well before dark so that we could see to clean up. We found the kids’ camping flashlights so that they would have a little light in their rooms as bedtime.
4. It’s hard to throw a good birthday party without the ability to bake a birthday cake. That’s right – Lydia had no birthday cake at her birthday party. I had planned to bake Sunday morning before the party, and didn’t think I could figure out how to bake a cake on the grill. So, we stuck a candle on a cookie, and voila! Happy birthday, dear Lydia! She had fun regardless, and it’s certainly a birthday she’ll never forget.
What was kind of nice about losing power:
1. We got to know our fireplace a little better. We’ve never been fond of it – it has a really old insert which makes the firebox really small, and we were never quite sure how to work the handle to open or close the flue. We hadn’t even used it in maybe 5 years. We had no wood, but received generous donations from Grandma and from our lovely next door neighbors. Long story short, we figured out the fireplace once and for all, and it worked enough to give us somewhere to sit and keep warm before bed.
2. No screens! No TV, no computer, even the iPods ran out of power. What did we do? We played games, we built block towers, we did jigsaw puzzles. When it got dark in the evening, we all sat together in front of the fire and (gasp!) talked! We told stories – each kid heard the story of the day they were born, and we told the story of how Nate and I met and fell in love. It was a really lovely, quiet time.
3. We developed a new appreciation for the miracle of electricity. This situation sparked a lot of conversations about what life was like in “the olden days.” And how ill-suited our society is for that kind of living these days. When the power came back on, we were getting ready for bed, stumbling around with our flashlights. It was such a shock when the lights came on that we didn’t immediately understand what had just happened. We looked at each other in shock for a good two or three seconds before we all squealed with delight and started jumping up and down in each others arms.
… and then we started the laundry. The end.