My heart goes out to people who are still without power because of Hurricane Irene. Days have gone by and many people are trying to function without air conditioning, refrigerators, light, and many other basic necessities. It’s hard to imagine the wide-scale suffering.
Our own power has gone out three times in the last week, so I have experienced the discomfort on a much, much, smaller scale. The reason for power outages in our tiny town is usually more mundane than earthquakes or hurricanes. As soon as we see gray clouds starting to roll in over the valley, we’re on alert; with the first roll of thunder we start shutting down computers.
At times it seems as if anything can trigger a power outage—a bird momentarily obscures the sun, the sun shines, or a city employee sneezes. We never know what causes these power interruptions. We have learned to deal with it.
Last night the power went out for the third time in a week. I was in the middle of making dinner, and poof! All went quiet. No swamp cooler blowing, no computers humming, no stove, microwave, or DVD player to tell me what time it was.
I paused for a moment, hoping that it was a momentary outage, but no such luck. Hunting through the refrigerator and cupboards, I could find very little that didn’t need to be cooked. I told Weston that we could have tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots for dinner or he could wait for the power to come back on and I would finish the spaghetti. Since we had already had tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots for lunch, he was less than thrilled to have them again for dinner.
We did have options. I could have fired up the wood-burning stove to boil the water for spaghetti but it was hot enough already in the house without the swamp cooler blowing. We have a fire pit in the back yard but I discovered we are lacking a flat grill iron to place over the pit—something on which to rest our pans. So we “vegged.”
After a few minutes of no computer, no Wii, no television, no food, Weston observed, “Boy, the Pilgrims must have had really boring lives with nothing to do all day.”
Do you feel a teaching moment coming on?
I explained that the Pilgrims had plenty to do. They couldn’t go rent a house—they had to build it. They couldn’t go to the lumber store to buy some wood—they had to chop it. If they wanted flour to make a cake, they had to grow the wheat first. Realizing that my son needed “something to do” I pushed him out the door. Here are some things we did to occupy our time.
We went to the garden to see if we needed to harvest any veggies and found our neighbor there, helping himself to a little produce. Apparently his stove wasn't working either.
Weston found that peacocks can run really fast.
I made a snack to tide us over. Mmm...graham crackers, peanut butter and chocolate chips!
I checked our apple tree to see if the fruit was ready to pick and found TWINS!
They were stuck together.
Weston hopped around all the wood we have waiting to be cut. I know what you're thinking--yeah, I should have put him to work chopping it!
Enjoyed a beautiful sunset
Do you ever realize how silly you are when the power goes out? You try to think of alternative things to do, but then realize that too, involves power?
Like, the stove doesn't work, but hey! I'll just use the microwave! Oh yeah...
Or I can't finish vacuuming so, I know--I'll go start some laundry! Oh yeah...
Our computers aren't working, so let's have a family night and watch a movie! Oh yeah...
We can't cook, so let's go to the drive-in restaurant and get some fries! Oh yeah...they don't have power either...
After we had run out of powerless things to do last night, I told Weston to go in the house and get his Percy Jackson book and we would sit on the swing and read. He yelled out the door, "Mom! The power's on!"
It had been two hours and as usual, we never did find out what caused the outage. Our level of discomfort was virtually non-existent. I thought again about those people still without power because of the hurricane and was sympathetic toward what must be a growing level of frustration.
My thoughts are with them today, hoping that soon they will be fully functioning and able to go on with their lives.