Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Out

Our power went out for 4 1/2 hours last night. As we adapted to life as a pioneer, it made me wonder about winters back in the day when there weren't lights blazing.

We lit candles, the boys (My Youngest had a friend sleep over) had fun playing with flashlights and I had work to do that didn't need power. I did my work by candle and flash light. The boys eventually settled in and watched a movie on the portable DVD player (operated by a battery pack). All in all, I thought we took the black out in stride.

We ended up going to sleep much earlier than we normally would have - out of the lack of options to keep us awake (plus, after 3 1/2 hours it was getting mighty cool in here).

It made me wonder about life without power in the 1930's. Winters must have been dreadfully long. When my mom's family talked about winter when they grew up, they dwelled on it being cold, really cold. All of the time! They never warmed up until spring. Water froze in the house and the kids stood on the oven door (with a fire going inside of the wood stove) just to keep warm.

What I never thought of when I listened to their stories, were the short winter days. Spending hours on end, in a cold and dimly lit house with a radio (that was used sparingly, to make the battery last longer) as their connection to the outside world, it must have made for some long evenings. As I eagerly crawled under my covers last night (and rounded up spare blankets in case it got too cool), my mind went back in time. All I could think was, "Back in the old days, they must have got a lot of sleep in the winter!"

As our power outage lasted from one hour onto the next, I started thinking of how much we take power for granted. What if there was some catastrophic power outage that lasted for days? How would one get through it? I must admit, that my first thought would be to head to a city with power and find a hotel! But what if it wasn't that simple? What if there was no where to go?

At the very least, I know that I will restock my battery supply. But I admit, it would be nice to install a back up heat source in case of emergency.

I woke up at one point in the night, looked up and my clock smiled out in pride and showed me the correct time. The air outside of my blankets was warm, the hum of the furnace running was in the background. Relief!

There wasn't a crisis of epidemic proportions this time. But what if we weren't so lucky???

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