In our preparing for winter, I forgot a key supply...batteries for our lanterns! But then, we have oil lanterns and oil as back-up for them. As you might have figured out, we lost power. From Friday night, the heaviest snow fall, until Sunday night. We were not alone. Some 20,000 households in our EMC (electric membership co-op) were in the same boat. Some 12,500 households are still without power. The Co-op estimates full power restoration by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.
Now, we heat our homestead with a wood stove and cook with gas. We are fortunate. Many other homes depend on electricity to heat and cook wth. A lot of our "quick fix meals" were home canned months ago and in the storeroom. No can opener needed just an old church key. Heat and eat or not. With nighttime temperatures dipping below freezing and daytime temperatures maybe ten degrees warmer, they are really in a tight jam by not only being in the dark but freezing as well. We keep 20 gallons of water in our storage shed, because the well does not run without electricity. We currently use 5 gallon buckets (6 of them) to catch rain water, or in this case snow melt, to flush the toilets with or at least wash our hands.
I found out something interesting about Mel during all this. She can't unplug. She's a dyed in the wool techie. Being ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and suffering SAD (seasonal affective depression). She can't live without power especially in winter. We ended up spending a good part of Saturday and Sunday at the local Mickey D's charging her two computer batteries, her phone, her Kindle and using their WiFi. Unlike getting hit by Irma, the whole county wasn't dark. There were quite a few businesses open. Like Lowe's where I picked up an 8-pk of D cell batteries.
Me, on the other hand, was content reading a gardening book, knitting, and talking with my Heavenly Father by oil lamp. I did find it difficult removing the globe and lighting the lamp in the wee hours of the morning, but nothing I couldn't overcome. Not that I didn't rush to my computer to check my emails once I knew power had truly been restored. I could just unplug.
After calling our EMC's power outrage reporting center multiple times since the blackout, their suggestion not ours. Each time we called, a real person answered every call. The person was apologetic, courteous, and gave us an update... for days now. Not a few times, but every six hours. Now, that's service! After the power was restored, we called the power outage reporting center once again. The customer service representative answered. We gave them Mel's name and address. But instead of complaining that our power was out, we thanked her for our power being restored. The rep was taken aback. She had a smile in her voice, and she thanked us for calling. We made her night.
Even though we were inconvenienced by the power outage by being homesteaders, prepared, self reliant, and proactive, for the most part, we adverted a disaster this could have caused. Now, knowing this new thing about Mel, I think a generator and/or solar panels and batteries might be in our future. At least, we'd have power to run our well or charge whatever Mel needs. I can't do anything about the WiFi unless we plug the modem into the generator for short periods of time to help her out. What do you think?
Y'all have a blessed day and we'll have a better one.