Monday, December 4, 2006

The Blackout

Inches of Ice on Everything: 3/4
Amount of Time without Power: 84 hours
Hours of Darkness Every Night: 12
Loads of Wood Burnt: 9
Indoor Temperature: 65 degrees
Board Games Played: 10
Candles Used Up: 3
Days Off of School: 2

We just came out of a 3 1/2 day blackout and despite Cainan's suggestion to "buy some 'lecktristity' at the store" we were without power the whole time. It was a first for all of us (Brian and I lived through the one in the late 70's but don't remember it). Luckily we had our wood stove and our gas fireplace to keep us warm. We were able to maintain a reasonable temperature in the house. We shut off half of the second story (our bedroom, bath and closet) so we would only have to heat part of the house. So, Brian and I slept downstairs in front of the fire (partly to stay warm and partly so that we could stoke it every 2 hours) and the kids slept in their rooms upstairs. The open layout of our house allowed most of the heat to go upstairs anyway, so they were toasty warm. Since we are avid campers we had our lantern for light (plus a couple of oil lamps and some candles) and our dual fuel two burner stove to cook on. We also boiled water and heated beans and soup on top of the wood stove. We had water and our hot water heater is gas so we always had hot water too. Our deep freeze is in our cold garage anyway, so everything in there stayed frozen. We did loose a gallon and a half of ice cream and some frozen blueberries, but everything else we were able to save, or eat. It was cold enough outside that we just left our perishables in a cooler on the back porch most of the time. Overall we came through it just fine.

The hardest part was filling the time in the dark. We are night owls anyway and find it difficult to go to bed before 11 pm. So passing the time from 5 pm to 11 pm with no TV, radio, or even enough light to easily read by was a challenge. We played a lot of board games. I beat Brian at Scrabble at least twice, we taught Ryker how to play Monopoly (and actually played it all the way through, something we've never had time to do before) and we all got sick of the Thomas the Tank Engine Matching Game. I had rehearsals at church two of the nights ( I used that time to plug in and charge our cell phone, laptop, electric razor, spotlight, and camcorder battery), so Brian had to sit through the darkness alone (after the kids went to bed) on those nights. Needless to say he has read all of his magazines...twice. The kids had a blast and spent a lot of time building elaborate Lego creations and playing with the trains on the train table. Kinley was generally oblivious, but did have a hard time sleeping in the quiet.

Yep, the quiet was a little hard to get used to. Usually we have the background noise from the furnace, blower on the wood stove, refrigerator and a fan (we keep it going outside Kinley's door to keep out the noise) minimum and often add the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and TV to that. Sitting in absolute stillness (well as much stillness as there can be with three kids and a dog) for 84 hours is weird, but kind of nice. We had a great time just being together and playing together but we were very happy to see the power company trucks come down the driveway this morning. It was like the Allies entering Berlin...in a very, very small way. We knew that the end of the cold and darkness would be soon. Sure enough, two hours later it all came back on and the kids started dancing around singing, "We have power, we have power!" Then they turned on the TV, I turned on the computer, and Brian stuck some leftovers in the microwave.


1 comment:

Jill Tilley said...

Sounds like you guys made the best of it! I'm really enjoying reading your posts. You're a fun writer.