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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
July 2020
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Nor’easter

On 10/29/2011 at approximately 7p.m., Bear and I lost power. We did not get our electricity back until 11:45a.m. 10/31/2011. For two people whose whole house is centered around modern technology and electricity and haven’t had to deal with long term power loss since they were kids, this kinda knocked us ass over teakettle.

Our heat/hot water system runs on propane, but the controls for this state of the art system are electric. So we were without heat or hot water, despite having full propane tanks.

Our entertainment almost entirely is centered around our computers, ebook readers, and cell phones. Thankfully, the ebook reader and cell phones kept a charge for most of that time, despite heavy usage.

Our stove is electric. Our refrigerator is electric.

Thankfully, our water is town water, so we did have running water. One of our neighbors has well water and her pump is electric. She is an old hat at this though and when the snow started coming down in earnest, she filled her washing machine with water so that she could manually flush her toilets. She also had drinking and washing water stocked up from when we were all worried about Hurricane Irene.

It’s interesting living without electricity. It changes your perception of time. Bear and I went to bed very early on Saturday. It felt late though, because the sun had been down for hours. We woke up very early on Sunday and the day felt like it lasted a million years. We cooked on our grill. We heated water on our grill.

We read books and talked and saw more of our neighbors than we’ve seen in weeks. We napped a lot too. When your house is 48 degrees inside, the warmest place is under blankets cuddled up next to each other. (Well, the other warmest place isn’t in your house, it’s in the neighbors house in their room with the wooden stove/fireplace insert.) We considered storing food outside on the snow. That one isn’t new though. In the winter in New England, you can keep food outside as long as you don’t mind it being frozen.

We smelled like smoke from the grill for almost the whole time period. You stop noticing it after a while.

You don’t stop flicking light switches. I can’t tell you how many times I’d walk to the bathroom and hit the light switch. I HAD A FLASHLIGHT IN MY HAND, and I would still automatically reach for the light switch. It’s so instinctive.

I’m pretty sure we are going to be making a few changes to our house soon. One will be some kind of wood insert for heat. One will be buying a teakettle. One might be buying a battery backup for our electric heating system. And finally, we’ll buy the little butane tanks for our little butane camping burner. Having that stupid burner, but no fuel kinda drove me nuts.

We weren’t without power for very long (many people lost power for a week from this storm and earlier in the year, Irene), but it did make us consider how prepared we were. We were also very grateful when the power came back Monday. Plenty of people didn’t get power back for a week and many had been hit earlier in the year by Hurricane Irene. Many had damage from either or both storms. We were lucky.

  • http://linda.curious-notions.net Linda

    Love the open flames. Recently saw Oprah flashback show where she went to live in colonial times for a month. So no toilet paper. No running water. No electricity. No undies! Etc. And one of the things she noticed was how time passed oddly and that dinner time was great bonding time.

  • mef

    Time did pass VERY oddly. And getting meals together was such a production and eating was more of a bonding experience. It’s interesting.

  • http://linda.curious-notions.net Linda

    That’s exactly what she said about meals and production and how you don’t snack because it took forever to prepare food and there was a lot of team work. (Fire starting, eggs gathering from the coop, shaving flour, trying to cook over flames without burning her long skirt. lol Her BFF, Gale asked for her bacon to be extra crispy and Oprah gave her dagger eyes.

  • mef

    I’m VERY grateful we didn’t have to go to that much work, but even when you consider how much easier we had it, it was still complicated. That’s pretty hilarious about the bacon. You just leave it on a little bit longer.