Dec 15, 2011

lights out

We have been living in some sort of insane twisted weather system over the last year.  Starting in January we got record high snow levels.  Snow banks were as tall as houses for weeks on end.  From there we have experienced a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, and then ended with a freak fall snowstorm that took down every tree and power line in the state.

Outside of being on the lookout for locusts and the plague, we have suffered three extended power outages, the last of which was eleven days.  Eleven.  ELEVEN.  I am generally a person with a strong ability to make do, but that was truly a test of my patience and faith.  I am not ashamed to say that many a tear was shed.  It was actually a brilliant example of how my relationship with DH works.  I start to break down and he keeps me strong, then he slips away while I build him up.  And somehow, together, we make it all work and triumph in the end.

During that time we did our cooking on our camp stove or ate out if we could (many local restaurants were closed).  It was just part of what made the time so tiresome.  We saved as much food as we could from the refrigerator and freezer, but there was certainly a high degree of loss there.  What we did keep we pretty much just stuck out in the snow to keep cold.

We stayed in mittens and coats most of the time, and huddled together in the living room where our only source of heat, the fireplace, was located.  That was the big difference in this power outage from the ones that came before it - the cold.  I was wishing back the outage where my sleep was interrupted by not having on the fan.  Sleeping huddled on the floor in my winter coat was much much worse.

Since everyone in the area was sadly in the same situation, there was a strong sense of community that could be felt.  Shelters opened up immediately to provide people with a warm place to sleep, to get a warm shower, to get water if needed.  The radio station that we pulled in on our battery powered radio had opened up the phone lines so people could ask questions or share information like where to find a generator, where restaurants were open, which gas stations still had gas and the shortest lines.  Neighbors were out working together to clear the streets and make the neighborhood safe.

I read every book in my house while the kids broke out the board games.  It wasn't that hard to give up the televisions, computers, and phones.  Our local cell tower was out for the first few days, and after that service was still spotty.  It wasn't necessarily the worst thing to be unplugged for a little while.  It was somewhat of a relief to experience a bit of radio silence.

In the end, although I would never ever opt to go through such a thing again, we survived.  And maybe, somehow, we are even a little better and a little stronger for it.

No comments: