And There Goes the Power…

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on February 2, 2011

Lights flickered on and off most of last night.

Tree branches covered in ice creaked and groaned, and made me feel like I was sitting in the middle of a Stephen King winter thriller.

Creepy.

Eery.

The wind howled and I knew that we’d lose power.  We have 48 trees on our almost half acre lot.  They are very tall and mature trees.  This is just not a good combination!

At 11:30, we headed for bed, bringing extra blankets with us…in case we lost power.  We also brought the flashlights, phones, chargers, radio, etc.  Account number for our electric company, as well as the phone number. We also cranked up the heat a few hours before the outage, so the house was toasty warm. We would be prepared!

Then we heard it.

CRACK.

BOOM.

Darkness.

Live wire in the backyard!

After calling the power company, we decided to move ourselves into the boys’ room and sleep in the bunk beds with them.  Their room is the smallest in the house and only has 1 window, so it stays fairly warm.  We weren’t sure how cold the house would get overnight without the heat kicking on, so keeping each other warm seemed like the best choice!

Cozy times!

Steve and I are not strangers to power outages.  We experienced them daily when we lived in the Dominican Republic.  Sometimes three or four times daily.  And while “la luz” might be out for 10-12 hours of the day, we knew it would come back on.  We also didn’t have to worry about the cold.  Or our food.  We are accustomed to not opening and closing the fridge during power outages.  We are accustomed to living without the computer, internet, and learned to enjoy reading by candlelight.

We are NOT however accustomed to all this when it’s 20 degrees, icy and snowy outside.  Nor how to manage it all with 3 little people in tow.

When the boys woke up, we had a long discussion about power and electricity.  We talked about the things we couldn’t do…

Cook.

Do laundry. (Too bad! ;) )

Turn on the lights.

Work on the computer.

Print coloring pages.

Run traffic lights. (Well, we don’t do that on a regular basis. But…)

And then we talked about the things that we could do…play games, puzzles, read, color.  Then they seemed OK with the concept.

We then looked out the window and talked about trees, power lines, and let them figure out in their little minds what happened.

And I’m pretty sure we are on the end of the list because we are an “isolated outage”…meaning it’s just our house that’s out in the area.  Based on our experience from the 2008 wind storm and being without power for 11 days, we learned that the the smaller outage groups get the attention last, as they try to get the most people back on the grid as quickly as possible. There are 60,000+ without power in our area. And I have a feeling it will be days for our to be restored!

But on the bright side.  There is much to be thankful for!

  1. We have food.
  2. We have blankets and jackets to keep us cozy.
  3. We have a place to stay if we need it.
  4. And we have each other!
  5. Also, I spent hours yesterday in the kitchen.  I intended on just doing a little batch cooking, but ended up doing much more!  I was also able to get photos taken and processed, so there will hopefully won’t be any “blips” in the content around here!
  6. All the food is now in cooler in the trunk of the car.  Staying nice and cold and frozen!
  7. And there are places to go with free WiFi!!!

We count these blessings…and are thinking and praying for all the others affected by this storm!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie | GoodLife Eats February 2, 2011 at 11:57 am

YIKES! We are very cold. Last night with wind chill we were at -20 by 10 pm, but we still have power. School is on day 2 of being canceled. Kids are going stir crazy because they’ve already been home since last Thursday due to illness. Stay warm, Erin! And yay for no laundry. ;) Shucks. What a shame.

Reply

Aileen February 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hope you stay warm and the boys are content! The only good thing about the cold is that you can use your car for a cooler! Love it! Thinking of you and the family.

Reply

Mandi February 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

You’re lucky you can drive on the roads. Here in Miami County we’re under a Level 3 emergency meaning the roads are closed to everyone but emergency personnel (or if you need to get to ER for personal emergency). If we lose power (much of the city did, we were lucky and didn’t/haven’t), we’re stuck inside. We’re prepared though! Hope you stay warm and can keep everyone entertained!

Reply

Jaime February 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Hope you all stay warm and that it’s back on soon! Seeing I did 4 loads of laundry while snowed in yesterday, I’m going to have to say YAY for that though lol!

Reply

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage February 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Stay safe!! :) Sounds like you will have a little fun anyway! :)

Reply

Phoebe @ GettingFreedom February 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I hate that you’ve lost power! I pray that it won’t be 11 days like it was for you in 2008, that’ s a long time, especially in these conditions. I love your attitude about it all! These are the times to make memories and just take it as it comes. :)

Reply

Quest February 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I love your site and I just wanted to say that I feel for what you’re going through. I hope you aren’t without power for days but boy doesn’t it make you appreciate electricity when you have it? I used to live in the deep dark rural english countryside years ago and I swear, every time it rained (which was ALWAYS) the transformer down the road would get struck by lightning and explode. That would mean no power for days on end. I don’t remember how we managed ~ I think I blocked it out :) Anyway, your positive attitude is refreshing. I have a chainsaw if you’d like to borrow it :P Good luck!

Reply

Megan February 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

You have a fantastic attitude…what a great teaching time for your boys in many ways. Thankful for God’s provision for all of you…looks like he worked out those details well. Hope it won’t be 11 days for you, though.

Reply

sara February 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

We got around 16 inches of snow last night, but thankfully we didn’t lose power!

Reply

leanna February 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I am Lucky!!! Northeast arkansas dodged this storm!!! We were all worried!! The 2009 ice storm left my family without power for 28 days!!! It was a nightmare!!! for the last 2 days we have been following the weather very close!!! Thank God it missed us!!! good Luck to you and your family, will be thinking about you all!!!

Reply

Julie Kroske February 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I feel as though I wrote this and took these pictures. This is what my yard looked like in Jan, 2002. Except for the little ones. My husband and I were “child-free” that week. They were living with their mother. . This was my first winter living in the counrty, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Turns out, we were without power 4 days. Would have been longer, but when the crew came to fix the lines, they wernt ahead and hooked up the house because I was nice and offered them coffee. It took the coffee 4 hours to get hot on the little cook stove I had to use, but it was worth giving away! Have fun and enjoy the TV-Free, electronic-less time with the kids. Imagination is the best anyway!

Reply

Dana @ Budget Dietitian February 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Hang in there and snuggle close! :)

Reply

Courtney Baker February 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Great attitude even though things are a bit wonky. Besides, sometimes we need a little kick in the butt to play games and do puzzles as a family.

Reply

LisaE February 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm

We were lucky our power didn’t go out. The blizzard hit last night but by 7 am it was sunny out. Lots of snow but no damage.
Power outages suck and wish everyone luck who is going through it.

Reply

Mary E.S. February 3, 2011 at 12:48 am

Stay warm and be safe. Hopefully they will have your power back on before too long.The little ones will remember this as “fun”.When the weatherman says we may get snow or ice my kids hope for the power to go out.Then they get to light the kerosene lamps and we cook on the kerosene heater which they think is as much fun as camping.We sleep in the living room in sleeping bags and they love it.

Reply

Susie's Homemade February 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Oh no! I hope you got your power back quickly!!

Reply

Kathryn February 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I feel for you – I we don’t realize how dependent we are on electricity until we don’t have it. We were without power for days a few years ago after the ice storm and we were lucky we live near the main thoroughfare/business district because they fixed those first – some people didn’t have power for over a week and the even opened up our local Coliseum for people to stay at.

I am thankful the place I worked 3rd shift at the time had a generator as did most of the major hotels in town – my son and ex husband did check into a hotel.

You could invest in a kerosene heater, but there are certain dangers that come with them due to the fumes if not in a well ventilated area or they are not well maintained and they smell terrible when you first light them up and you don’t want to leave them on when you are sleeping. There is also a newer type of kerosene heater called a Laser heater that more safety features.

There were a few acquaintances that invested in a generators but they are not cheap – I think one got a used one for $400 and another went in with a few family members that ended up staying in the same house during the outage for around $1,500 and that was to just operate basic necessities.

If you have a lot in your freezer, it might be worth the investment – I ended up tossing everything in the freezers because things were just partially froze/thawed by the time the power was restored.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: