This past week Hurricane Irene made landfall on the United States east coast. We fully expected to lose power for some time but I would have never guessed when power went out on Saturday afternoon that we wouldn’t get our power back until Wednesday night. Yes, it was very inconvenient to be without any electricity, hot water, preserved cold and frozen food, and cold drinks. However, there was probably more good to come from it than being without our daily access to power. During our power outage I had some time to write some notes about the good things we experienced.
I realize that I live in a part of the world that even without power, I have better living conditions than most of the world population. There are people in the eastern US that had a much more difficult situation than we did. This post is a description of the impact the change had on my families life for a relatively short period of time. Please remember with me those who live in much worse conditions around the world. Also, those effected by Hurricane Irene who had damage to or lost their home, business, or property. If you are considering helping those who lost much more, here is a link to the American Red Cross.
We didn’t need TV or news. We got by just fine without any of it. Sure it would have been interesting to see what havoc Irene created across the eastern US but in the grand scheme of things TV is a distraction from focusing on my friends and family. Electronics can get in the way of meaningful time together.
Of course we sat around and talked more but just being together without interruptions of something blaring on the TV, jumping on our computers to look up something, or doing laundry (well maybe doing laundry is a good thing) was a good thing. We used the Adirondack chairs that I built last year around our new fire pit for reading and simply enjoying being outside. It was like an outside family room.
We could have given in and eaten out, but we chose to stay home and cook. We prioritized our food and ate healthier. Some things we needed to eat sooner than later and for the first few days we ate some really good frozen food that was defrosting. A lot of that frozen food was forgotten.
You can cook anything on the grill. In addition to grilling meat, we made scrambled eggs, coffee, pizza, and even baked some food on cookie sheets.
Ice was not available at any store. We went more than a day without ice. Not knowing when we could get ice caused us some worry about how we could keep things cold. By the second day we found ice, and it was all that we needed. Keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed turned our refrigerator and freezer in to coolers until we got ice. (Note to self: take some cold staple items out of the refrigerator and put in to a cooler before losing power so we don’t have to open the refrigerator).
Hot showers are overrated. Actually I wrote this note before Tuesday when our water heater decided it gave all the warm water on Monday. Our water heater did provide hot water for two days. By Wednesday, we transitioned to taking showers using our family gym membership.
Bottom line is that we got more sleep, we went to bed earlier because there was no TV keeping us from going to bed. It felt great to get a good night rest. We were fortunate that the temperatures stayed in the mid-80s during the day. All our windows were open. It was a little like camping but our beds were more comfortable. There was hardly any sound except for animals outside and a distant generator.
Writing the old fashioned way
I discovered that I enjoy handwriting drafts. Without power for my laptop, I wrote my blog posts for this week by hand on paper before typing them. I felt that handwriting helped my articulation of concepts and my thoughts were richer. This may be a new part of my writing process. Transferring my hand written notes to a typed page allowed me to edit as I type. Thanks to Panera Bread’s free wireless, I was able to keep my posts pretty much on time.
My family was terrific through the entire ordeal. We could have gotten cranky, threw fits, complained, or disengaged. Although I don’t think we want to experience a long power outage any time soon, I think we all grew from the experience and will look back to appreciate this memory.
Have you ever experienced an extended power outage?
What did you learn about your experience that you didn’t expect?