Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My glimpse into a simpler life

It all started last night at about 8 pm. The power went out. I knew it was most likely inevitable because the news was reporting high winds and tornado-inducing weather to the west and heading our way. As always (well, not always, but usually) I had my son fill up our huge drink cooler that I think holds 5 gallon with water. You see, I live in the country...for you city folk, that means I have no water when the power goes out. None. Zilch. So I sort of freak out when I know there is a possibility we will be left in the dark...literally....and without water. (I have heard that it's no fun...you know from a friend...) And I should add that the power sort of flicked back on quickly and then back off and then we heard a loud POP...that came from the area of our living room tv. So I am anxiously awaiting the electric coming back on so we can know whether to mourn the loss of our less-than-1-year-old-flat-screen-tv. 

So at 8pm, we became pioneers, or pilgrims, or Amish or whatever term best describes people who live without power. The funny thing is that I have read books about becoming self-sufficient and people who live off-grid and it really intrigues me. But people who live off-grid usually have solar panels and alternatives ways to get water and stay warm and cook food. When you live in a house full of electrical well, everything it takes living off-grid to a whole new level. Once I would prefer not visit all that often.

First of all, it seems that the power always goes out at night...when you need light the most! So once the blackout hit my kids started to freak out a bit until I could get the candles lit. They begged to let them sleep in the living room because they were scared...and finally agreed. Then they were afraid to sleep in the living room without power. I kept a candle lit on the nearby dining room table so they would have some light to be able to see. And thank goodness it was a full moon because that helped too. While they got settled in their make-shift beds, hubby took his flashlight (he always has nice lights that he uses in the garage when doing mechanical work), grabbed a book off the shelf telling about our county's history and retreated to our bed to do some reading. I was clueless as to what to do. So I grabbed our new laptop and decided to play some games. Then we turned out the (flash)light and went to sleep.

And here I am at 6:59 am typing up this blog post on my computer because honestly I don't know what else to do. It's just now starting to get daylight outside, but not enough to really warrant any real productivity here inside. And since I feel like we are getting this off-grid living thing down to a science (well, sort of), I thought I would share what I've learned in the past 10 hours....

1. My husband always seems to have a good working flashlight to use when the rest of us are using candles that barely give off any light.

2. You may think you have batteries for flashlights, however when the power goes off they instantly disappear.

3. 5 gallons of water is not that much. Especially when you have to use that water to drink, wash your hands, brush your teeth, and flush the toilet. Mental note: next time fill up the bath tub too with water to do everything else with but drink and use the 5 gallons for drinking. Brilliant!

4. The house is very quiet when the power is off. At first it's hard to get used to, but now I am sort of enjoying the quiet. Although that's partly because the girls aren't awake yet...the quiet will end soon!

5. When you are taking a nice hot bubble bath, wash your hair! Don't wait until morning! Yep, I did that. Just wet my hair down and thought I would just wash it in the morning. Well, let's just say that I am going to be unrecognizable at my daughter's doctor appointment this morning. I have that just doesn't behave well if wet down and not blow-dried or flat-ironed. I have yet to assess the real damage under a decent amount of light but from the glimpse I've gotten in the mirror this morning, I've got my work cut out for me.

6. Living without power seems to make life more intentional...and simplified. When there aren't all the extra “electrified” distractions, you tend to slow down and stress melts away a bit (unless you haven't filled up your drink cooler with water). This morning I got up and got the milk and cereal, bowls, and spoons out for my hubby and son. I read a newspaper article by candlelight. I folded some laundry by candlelight. And put away some laundry via flashlight. I feel as if I have actually accomplished more this morning than I would have on a normal morning because I have been intentional about getting done what I can.

7. I really need to put together an emergency kit only to be used in emergencies. I want to get an oil lamp. And batteries! Our few little candles aren't really cutting it!

Those are just a few of things I've realized since 8pm last night and I am sure the list will grow as time goes on today and I am faced with new challenges. But honestly, living without electricity isn't about surviving, it's more about adapting. And so far, I think the Snyder Family has done fairly well! With that said, I'm off to tackle my hair! 

UPDATE:  Since this post was written, our power came on at 2pm on Monday.  Our TV didn't get zapped. However our modem/router did...so I had to live without internet all day Monday, Tuesday and most of the day today!  This morning I actually figured out that the surge protector that our modem was plugged into wasn't working properly and if I plugged in the modem at a different outlet it worked...as in lights turned on instead of being completely dead, but couldn't connect to the internet.  When I came home from work today the modem was working perfectly.  This is after hubby ordered a new modem online that should arrive tomorrow.  Such is life.  Oh yeah, and Monday I had the worst hairday of my life.  The End.

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