Power Outage Adventure
Maybe you heard recently that California had the lovely opportunity of having their power cut off because of an impending weather threat? Sure you did! We received notice Tuesday morning that PG&E would be shutting off our power at midnight for an undisclosed time period….Please plan accordingly. If you want to see if you are in the shutoff area, call this phone number which directs you to this website (which by the way, was having so much volume you couldn’t get in or access it). So that was great!
I wasn’t too concerned. I like camping. Camping at home sounded fun. I think the Lord had been preparing me without me even knowing it. Last week, during grocery shopping day, I was purchasing pork loin for a dinner I was making and noticed that I could buy three times that amount of meat for the same money if I wanted to cut it up. I had the thought, Get the bigger package. OK. Then Costco had pot stickers (my favorite) on sale so even though I was not planning on making pot stickers that week, I grabbed a package of those too. On Monday (pork loin cooking day) I cut up that huge roll of meat and separated it into meals and shoved it into the freezer. We have been trying to follow the prophets’ instructions and be prepared for a rainy day by having food on hand at home, so we had plenty of rice, flour, sugar, oats, dried beans, and a few other things. So as far as food, I was not too worried about if we would have enough for however long we needed it. It may not be what we would want to eat, but we would eat. We also have a wood shed and it has plenty of wood in it since we rarely build fires and mostly pay for our heat.
Drew called me several times throughout the day to say, things are crazy at work. We are trying to prepare for no power here (he works for the court….so they have a lot of things going on). But he was also concerned that we would be prepared at home. He said you should probably go and grab some charcoal so we can use the bar-b-que if necessary, candles, matches, stick up lights and anything else you might think we will need. OK. So after I got the kids all picked up from school, that is what I did. The stores were crazy. But I found what I needed without too much fan fare. I heard from friends (while I was shopping and bumping into them) that the grocery stores were bananas. I was glad I didn’t feel like I needed to be there. I had plenty of water on hand (I store it for emergencies) and they weren’t shutting off our water. I had a full tank of gas in the car. I told the kids to dress warmly for bed or get an extra blanket. The Bishop and I touched base and we decided to cancel seminary because trying to study your scriptures in the dark….that might just be a bit much for our families. One of our schools cancelled classes, but the elementary school decided to brave the storm and held classes without electricity. Ryan was bummed!
That morning, as I got up during my usual prepare for seminary routine, the house was freezing. I forgot how dark it is without ANY light (no street lights, no neighbors, no stores, even the hospital looked dark). Grabbed my flashlight and went downstairs to read my scriptures. As I was doing that, I had the thought….Carin….this is an opportunity. Oh right, I am suppose to look for the opportunities presented as obstacles. Those high school boys of yours now have no school. They have no media. They have no computers. They will be all yours. Home all day. What do you want to accomplish? Waaaahahahahahhaha (evil, maniacal laugh)!!!! I made a list.
After I dropped poor Ryan off at school, (He was not happy. He was fretting about what school would be like without power. I just reassured him and told him to think of it as his great adventure! He didn’t know what was going to happen! It was all new! Then he could come home in a few hours and tell us about it! Ryan doesn’t do new well. He likes normal and predictable as long as he is in charge.) after I dropped Ryan off at school, I sat the big boys down and said here is what I would like us to do while the power is off. What would you like to help me with and what are you willing to do. They grumbled. But they made their choices. Then we jumped in!
Day One: chopped bushes, mowed the lawn, cleaned out drawers, moved laundry and reorganized bedroom space, and hand quilted the quilt I have been making for Joshua. The boys weren’t too hip about learning to do that. I let them off the hook by asking Joshua to mow the lawn and had Spencer walk to school to pick up Ryan. That left me home to quilt by myself! But the big boys were excited when I said one of you needs to chop wood and the other one needs to start the fire so I can cook on the wood stove. We started a little early (4:00) because I wasn’t sure how well our fire would go. Spencer was the master fire man and he had it high and hot by 4:15. So I started cooking dinner. Spencer kept the fire going. For dinner that night? We had pot stickers, rice and warmed up the stir fry from a few nights before. The elementary school sent word that school would be cancelled until the power was back on. (I knew they would do that.) Ryan was super relieved! The high school said, yep, no classes Thursday either. And we cancelled seminary one more day. PG&E said, power might be on tonight. Because it was so dark, I wanted the kids to see the stars. Drew and I were sitting in the car charging my phone😉. Ryan came out to join us and we opened up the sunroof and just admired the stars and the beauty of the night sky. The big boys fell asleep in the family room around the wood stove. Drew and I set Ryan up on the couch next to them so they could all be in the same place and be warm. Ryan still doesn’t like the dark and doesn’t like being alone.
Day 2: Woke up at 2:30 a.m. to see that the power was on! Yea!!! Looked like it had been on for 30 minutes. (We are on the hospital grid…we probably had power first😊.) Went to the bathroom. Tried to go back to sleep. Laid in bed, awake, for an hour. Finally got out of bed at 3:00. Set the clocks. Moved refrigerator stuff from the freezer back to the fridge. Sat down to study my scriptures. Sent out a text saying we would have seminary on Friday. Was up until 4. Decided I could probably take a nap. Slept until 6. Back up. The kids were up because they fell asleep so early. 6:30 got an email….elementary school is in session, power is on. Ryan started crying and declared he WAS NOT going to school and no one could make him. The power is suppose to be OUT! 😒 Ryan eventually decided he was going to school. Whew! Dodged that bullet. Wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it if he kept insisting that he wasn’t going. Got everyone up. Made apple crisp for breakfast. Sent Drew to work. Dropped Ryan at school. Went walking. Came home. Cut the big boys’ hair. Told them today was window washing day and gave them various other assignments and I mostly finished Joshua’s quilt. Picked Ryan up from school and finished out the day the usual way.
Here are some things I learned from our power outage.
- Always have a week’s worth of food on hand–for the cat too. Then there is just no stress. If an emergency comes up, I definitely have a week.
- Think of your new situation as an opportunity to do new things.
- The old day, where we didn’t have to drive people all over town to do their things? They may not have had all of the modern conveniences we do, but they had something better. They had time with their family…..without television, radio, computer. They had the time, or took the time, to have relationships with each other. It wasn’t only about them. Just to do the normal work to live? They had to work together as a unit to accomplish those things. They had to rely on each other. I think our society has lost a lot of that. Those are important things! We need them. We need to learn to be interdependent and to be able to rely on one another to help each other. That is part of our shared community as a family, neighborhood, state and nation.
- I wouldn’t want to go for a week without power. But think of the things we could gain as a family if we did!
- Ryan said, “I LOVE Power Outage Days!!” I think because it wasn’t as bad as he thought and building fires and cooking on the wood stove, using flashlights, and seeing the stars were great things that made his heart sing. And he was really sad that we didn’t have more days without power and use the bar b que to cook our pork chops.
- I think I always want to have enough charcoal, wood, fuel, flashlights, medicine, etc…stored at my house so that if I needed to manage for a time without conveniences, I could–especially if I had to do it without any warning.
- Before the power was out, I looked everywhere for one of those phones that just plugged into the wall….no electricity. That is the only reason we have kept our landline….in case of an emergency. Guess what? Couldn’t find one….anywhere I looked. I will do some more checking and see if I can find one–just to keep in the cupboard in case of an emergency.
- I really like my family! They are a lot more fun when we spend more time together…working, playing, laughing, living and even sometimes when we bond together during an opportunity that appears as an obstacle!