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Grateful to be Back…Ode to Electricity

Like many places in the country, my family and I recently experienced a lengthy power outage. Although we never got the snow we were promised, there was snow all around and we got plenty of ice.

We’ve lived in this house for nearly 30 years. It’s in town and in the past we’d never lost electricity for more than an hour or two. We just ended four days of no power. Four days. I know many people had longer, but this was a first for me and like the wildfires in September it really shined a light on how much we often take for granted.

Let me just say: I really like electricity. Yes, I did miss Alexa & Netflix. I also missed hot water, light, cooking food normally… Basically, life really changed for those four days and nights.

The first day I think we just were waiting for the electricity to come back on. I asked my husband where the generator was that I had urged him to buy in preparation for “the Big One.” That’s what we west coasters call the impending large earthquake we are reminded is coming soon. I was ever so grateful for our wood stove which is our primary source of heat on a normal day. We learned that we could cook on it (canned soup, beans from the camping box, tortillas in foil, hot dogs in foil) and we plowed through a lot of wood. We lit candles, tried to preserve our phone battery life, and turned the couch toward the stove.

By day two the generator was found and taken out of the box and my brother-in-law brought over gas and got it going for us. This saved our freezers and fridge which had already gone an entire day and a night without electricity. We also created a charging station for our phones. That day was work, work, work. I wasn’t expecting it when the hot water ran out. That was a hard loss I should have seen coming.

Cooking was a pain. Washing dishes was a pain. It was like camping except without the sunshine, the swimming in a mountain lake, the hammock. It wasn’t like camping at all.

By the end of day two and day three we were starting to cheat by unplugging the freezer a little at a time to plug in a coffee maker or the microwave. We watched the news once on tv and All Creatures Great and Small.

On day four my son and I drove out to my parents’ house–they got their electricity back a day or so earlier. I was looking for easy food, maybe a chance to wash my hair. Soon after we arrived my husband called to say the power was on! Joy!

Yesterday, our first day back, I did laundry all day, roasted a chicken and baked a pie. We also got a lot of the downed limbs dealt with, as it was dry outside and not too cold. I’m fortunate that I get a few extra days home from work. But this is only because the area where I work was hit even harder, and many of the other employees still don’t have electricity.

Anyhow, I’m grateful now for the easy warmth and light and cooking, etc. Thoughts and prayers to those still without. Here are some of the photos from our “ice storm.” The sound of branches breaking and then of the melting was something else!

Close up of the lawn

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

2 comments on “Grateful to be Back…Ode to Electricity

  1. I grew up in that country ! Actually , north of there. North Idaho and Washington state.(you know , waist deep snow , walking to school , 5 miles each way,,,uphill both ways!!)(five foot drifts) I guess thats why I live down here near New Orleans.
    I’m a Master Gardener and have enjoyed your books and enjoy telling the teachers and students about them in the volunteer work we do. Thank you so much
    Wes

    • Wes, thank you very much for your comment. It’s always encouraging to find out where my books land and to hear from people who appreciate them. I have not been down to that part of the country, but maybe some day!

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