I wish I could say I’ve been taking some time off for the Fourth of July holiday, but I haven’t been. Instead, we’ve been suffering through a 67 hour-long power outage due to some terrible thunderstorms.
Power outages do funny things to you. On the first day, there’s a bit of whimsy and fun to it – a reminder of how dependent we are on electricity and technology. It feels almost like camping.
After a few days, living without power is exhausting. Your mind is tired from trying to figure out new ways to do things that used to come easily (like cooking dinner or keeping kids entertained, for example).
Because we live deep in the woods, we weren’t just without electricity – we also had no water because our well pump doesn’t work without power.
We were able to stock up on bottled water, and we hauled water from the lake so that we could periodically flush toilets. But we had no water for washing dishes, and no water for baths or showers. Our laundry piled up, as three young boys forget the importance of staying clean when there’s no water.
We fit what items we could into an ice-packed cooler and dumped the contents of our refrigerator freezer into our larger chest freezer. My parents (who are also our neighbors) let us use their generator for several hours each day to run our chest freezer. In the end, we were fortunate not to lose more perishables than we did.
We spent the afternoons swimming in the lake and we grilled our dinners. On July 4, we were able to get hot showers at our local YMCA (Guess that gym membership is paying off!), and because it’s been 90 degrees each day with no air conditioning or no fans, we’ve been sleeping in our basement to escape the sticky heat.
The kids have been mostly good, but all the togetherness really started to wear them down as the days went by, and the squabbling just added to the unpleasantness of the situation.
The only internet we had was on my phone, but since we didn’t want to waste the battery power, we used it only to check weather, local news and power outage updates (Facebook has been pretty helpful in this area!). We’ve been listening to a crank-powered radio, playing cards and reading books to pass the time.
While it has been a challenging week, I know that we’re still pretty blessed. Many people in our area suffered extensive damage to their homes and yards from fallen trees. Others lost all the contents of their freezers and fridges due to the outage. We have been lucky that we just have a few downed trees (far from the house), a few items to toss from the fridge, and a bent basketball hoop.
The whole experience has given me a great deal of sympathy for who have had to endure longer outages due to terrible storms.
It is incredibly stressful and exhausting to figure out how to stay cool, find and prepare food, take care of basic hygiene, and do our jobs without electricity, water, and internet.
I’ve learned that for all of my “be prepared” talking I do around here, I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been. I’ll be taking some additional steps to be better prepared for events like this in the future. And I’ll share more of what I’ve learned in some upcoming posts.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you a post I had hoped to share with you on July 4. Please check out 5 Ways to Protect Your Financial Independence on Money….Your Way. I hope it inspires you to grab the reigns on your finances and take control.