Saturday, January 05, 2008


Here in Northern California, we've been hit by the storm of the season. It came early Friday morning, and I woke up to find a huge limb of the palm tree fallen down on my persimmon tree! We all knew about this storm was coming, so I got up early, took shower, got dressed and fed the family before we lost the power -- and as soon as I finished my first cup of coffee, at 8:52 am, the power went out.

We've lived in this house for ten years, and we were informed when we moved in that we were on the same power grid as the fire station, so our power should never be out for more than a few minutes. It had been right, until this time.

We thought we were prepared. Sure, we had lots of batteries, flashlights, a radio, food and water. But I never thought keeping ourselves warm and illuminated in the middle of the winter was this difficult. The small fireplace was not enough to warm up the house. We had no lanterns, and it turns out that Charlie's allergic to whatever the burning candles put out in the air, so that didn't help either -- in the process of surviving the storm and the long power outage, I realized how vulnerable we really are, and how totally dependent we are on the electricity. When we lose the power of "there will be light when we flip switches," we are lost.

Another finding was how quickly I switch myself into the "survival mode." I dress in warm layers in the most comfortable and practical way possible, no colors in consideration! I put no makeups (because I may not be able to take them off). We went to the mall today to keep ourselves warm, and I sure didn't want to be seen by our coworkers!

Well into the second night with no power, we were bracing ourselves into another cold night and Sunday, then it came back -- Mitch just went running around all over the house screaming "We have power! We have power!!" for five minutes. As soon as the heater started running, we felt much warmer, although there was no change in the temperature yet. It's all in our heads, I know.

Mitch fared the ordeal much better than we could have ever imagined, and we all found some fun in all this -- Mitch's favorite was called "Aflac," making a duck shadow with hands with the flashlight, with quack-quack of course. I came to appreciate almost two full nights of no TV, sitting by the fireplace, just talking and enjoying each others' company. Charlie and I talked that maybe we should do this once a month -- turn off all the lights and pretend that we had no power. (But, with the heat on)

As soon as our lives return normal, we are going to look into better preparing ourselves for events like this. As much as I am heartbroken, if the only damage is my persimmon tree (that Charlie got for me in September), we should consider ourselves fortunate. There are families that have to survive the whole winter without homes -- imagine how difficult it must be. We only lost power for a day and a half, and it was plenty hard.

I hope that you are OK, and that those who were affected by this storm will recover soon. Well, I'm back to my vacation -- my last day. I am going to knit!!


Stefaneener said...

Beeswax candles. They are the indoor choice -- best for you by far. If it's combustion only, that's another problem only.

Erin said...

OK, I'm really bummed that you didn't call us to let us know. You could have come over at any time or stayed here as we do have a guest bed! Next time, don't hesitate to let us know about what's going on. We had power all the time except Sunday afternoon for about an hour and a half.