Thursday, November 2, 2017

I Learned A Few Things After Being Without Power For A Few Days...

Over the weekend, on Sunday, we were hit with a powerful Bombogenesis storm. We lost power for almost 2 days. Thankfully, we had prepared for this an extent. The last time we lost power for any extent of time was in 2012 when Sandy hit. The power went out late at night but was restored well before morning. Since then, we have been hit with multiple storms that were accompanied with wide-spread power outage threats. Each time, we prepared by filling up a trash bin with water, cooking extra meals for the kids, baking muffins and cookies for Lisa's lunch, etc. During these storms, our lights have flickered or have gone out for a minute or two, but overall, we've been lucky.

Not this time around...

Being without power for almost 2 days taught me a few things...

1. We were not as prepared as we could and should have been. This was a massive and powerful storm. I'll be the first to admit, I underestimated the storm. I wasn't too familiar with the term Bombogenesis. On Saturday night, they predicted winds 30-40 mph. By Sunday morning, we were in the red warning zone with predicted winds of 50-74+ mph. In the past, they've upgraded storms in our area, but at the last minute, the storms shifted. Not this time. We prepared for a couple of days. Thankfully, power was restored by the end of the second day, however, a lot of people weren't so lucky. They were without power for 3-6 days. Had that been us, we would have run out of pail flushing water and needed to rely on the grill for cooking food for us and the kids.

2. High Wind Warnings need to be taken seriously. Wind can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Once our power and internet were restored, I was able to view some of the damage photos people had posted on Facebook. By that time, it had been 2 days after the storm, but a lot of people were still without power. They posted photos of downed trees and power lines. The photos were a wakeup call. It's better to be over prepared than under prepared.

3. The people in our tribe and neighborhood were there for us. The day we lost power, Kim brought a hot meal home for all of us to share. We ate by candlelight. It was the best. Char and Bob, who have a generator, offered us a hot shower and power to charge our phone. June surprised me with a hot coffee from Dunkin Donuts. We didn't ask for any of these things. They. Just. Offered.

4. Never confuse the word "estimated" with "guaranteed." I know this, but a lot of people don't. When Lisa sent me a text Tuesday morning stating Eversource estimated our power restoration to be at 10:30 a.m., I was relieved. At least I knew they had located the problem, they were working on it, and at some point, our power would be restored. I was not watching the clock. My brain translates "estimated" as it could be before. It could be after. It could be hours after. That ended up being the case. Our power wasn't  restored until over 4 hours later.

5. Losing power is a humbling experience. This year alone, during the Summer months, portions of the U.S. were hit with devastating hurricanes. They were without power for weeks. Most of Puerto Rico is still without power. I can't even begin to imagine the struggles. While being without power for almost 2 days was an inconvenience, I had no right to complain.

6. There is a lot you can accomplish without power. Call me old-fashioned, but there is a lot that can get done without power. I managed to handwrite some columns, complete a considerable amount of housework, read through the stack of magazines that had been piling up collecting dust, enjoy lots of playtime with the kids, organize, etc.

7. Being without power makes you completely aware of how dependent you are on electricity and technology. By the time our power was restored, I was 2 days behind on work. I had to postpone and eventually cancel our Halloween party. I wasn't able to get online and keep updated or send emails. I had to conserve my cell phone battery. On Monday night, we relied on candlelight and flashlights to navigate through our home, outside, and something as simple as reading a magazine.

8. Being without power also makes you reminiscent of decades ago as a child. Monday night, when Lisa and I camped out on the sofa with our kids, the only light we had, before dozing off, was candlelight. We sat there and reminisced about camping, clam and lobster bakes, our family cabin 3 1/2 miles into the woods in Pitsburg, New Hampshire, how we entertained ourselves decades ago before technology and living in the digital age, and Little House on the Prairie.

9. Your true test of character surfaces when you don't have online access or running water. Seriously, it does. You are literally back to basics; what life was like a century or two ago. No internet. No lights. No running water. Nothing. There is nothing sexy about pooping in the bathroom, with a flashlight leaning on the sink for light, putting wads of toilet paper in a plastic bag, and having to pail flush the toilet. It's not glamorous. Then, you return to the sofa and have to position yourself correctly to utilize the most light from the candle to read a magazine article.

10. Stock up on wine. For real. Or your booze of choice. Despite your efforts and ability to get through a couple of days without electricity, the kids are going to go nuts. They know something is wrong. They know something is off especially when you lose daytime lighting. There are no fans to drown out the outside noises. They hear everything.

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