Last Thursday our area was hit by not one, but TWO tornadoes.
At around 6:30pm we stood outside and watched as the day turned from sunny skies to angry clouds, and we watched the clouds swirl counter-clockwise above us. In less than 10 minutes the rain began to lash at the windows and the wind bent trees nearly in half. The rain then turned horizontal, and morphed into hail.
We never took shelter in the basement, which in retrospect was really, really stupid, as one of the tornadoes passed extremely close to the house. I blog this not to revel in our stupidity, but to tell you that hanging out in my stinky basement for 20 minutes would have been a small price to pay for a little extra peace of mind.
The lights flickered a few times, then went out.
We spent the next 50 hours (not that I was counting or anything) without electricity.
A Few Things I Learned About Living Without Electricity
- Having a steady source of power can never be overrated.
- A gas water heater = probably still have hot water.
- Showering in the dark is not nearly as fun as I thought it would be, and even less so when shaving one's legs after inserting a brand new razor blade.
- An ancient refrigerator can still do a decent job of staying cold for 50 hours.
- Although we lost about $150 in food, it could have been worse! I am glad I didn't buy that extra freezer last week.
- My kids can only color so much before the crayons start going into body parts.
- A giant tub of Legos is the perfect distraction to being without Thomas for days on end (oh the horror!).
- A giant tub of Legos also contains tiny Lego parts, which are easy to find, as I enjoy walking barefoot around the house. Or you can follow my lead & get frustrated & suck them up in the vacuum the minute the power comes back on. But you may have to replace said vacuum. Don't say I didn't warn you.
- We can only circle the block so many times before it becomes a forced march.
- Living without AC is good training for going without power.
- It doesn't matter if we have a BBQ grill and a camp stove - if Mama is being irrational & you can't open the fridge/ freezer because "we have to try and save the milk!", then there's really nothing to cook.
- People will act amazed when you tell them you don't have a generator (hello, we are students, why on earth would we have a generator??).
- Generators may create electricity, but they do not generate any sort of soothing sound. Especially worth noting when sleeping with all the windows open because the tornado's refreshing breezes have stopped and the weather has turned into a stagnant 78% humidity.
- People will also be amazed when you tell them you don't own a cooler. But they won't offer to let you borrow 1 of the 6 Igloos they have stashed in the garage.
- We should think about getting a cooler. Because spending $50 on a cooler and ice is much smarter than just replacing $6 in spoiled milk.
- When you call the power company repeatedly to get an update on when electricity will be restored, a good rule of thumb is to take the estimated time and add 12 hours to it. To be safe, add 18 hours.
- Seeing that every house across the street still has power ("We're on the hospital grid!") will not make you like the neighbors. But it might make you want to break into their house and watch an Intervention marathon under the soothing caresses of machine-cooled air.
- I am so grateful that some genius invented a car charger which still works when the car is not running.
Lessons learned. Many, many lessons.