Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Losing Power Is No Fun.
Especially when you haven't prepared as well as you should have.

On Sunday afternoon, I was gearing up for a few errands when a sudden flurry of snow began. Then the lights started surging on and off. Finally, everything shut down. I checked outside to discover that it seemed to be a very concentrated power outage (about a block on each side of me was out, but I could see powered buildings just across the nearest major intersection).

This normally wouldn't be a big deal, but:

a) Sunday was the tail end of one of the longest cold snaps in a decade, and my heat is electric, not gas.
b) My regular phone is on a cable-VOIP system, and requires electricity.
c) My cell phone hadn't been recharged the night before.

I had enough juice in my cell phone to report the outage to the power company and leave a message with a nearby friend. During a break in the snow, I headed over to the still-lit store across the street for a few non-perishable things (mini cans of pineapple juice and [non-tainted] peanut butter). I figured with the bread, bananas, and water bottles I already had in the house, I'd get by for awhile. I also picked up some more matches and batteries.

When I got home, I used the rapidly fading light to find the candles in my kitchen. My flashlight, however, was nowhere to be found. So I read for awhile by candlelight, hoping that the snow (which had returned in force by this point) would subside so that I could head out to my car and use the car charger to replenish my cell phone. Before that happened, however, my friend showed up to rescue me. As she hadn't been able to call me back, she got worried and decided to check in on me. So I grabbed a few things, and she drove me back to her place. I spent a pretty pleasant night on her guest bed, and awoke in the morning to a message on my (now recharged) phone that said power had been restored.

All told, it was a minor inconvenience.

But for next time, I'll make sure to have:

A battery powered cell phone charger. The Energi to Go is the only model I know of that's commonly available.

A lantern flashlight.
I'm thinking something like this Coleman.

More non-perishable food. My stock of water bottles is good, but it might be good to keep some individually wrapped energy bars around the house, as I keep my bread in the fridge and wouldn't want to have to open the latter to get the former.

I think my stock of matches and candles is more than adequate for now, but I'll revisit that later.

Sometimes, it's worth paying the money upfront for the peace of mind later.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep a couple five-gallon bottles of water, a few pounds of rice (and the usual pantry clutter), a UPS for my computer (that can also charge small devices), and a wind-up flashlight and radio.

Anonymous Debt Hater said...

Yikes, I've got a flashlight and I don't buy bottled water. In Tennessee, I should get by ok... until tornado season!

Anonymous Golbguru said...

Yeah...got a flashlight but never gave a thought to bottled water.
But then the probability of loosing power in our area is very low...in the last 5 years we have lost power just once!...guess we live far away from any excitement.

Anonymous Juan Millon said...

I hate when the power goes out because I can't use my puter. I feel like such a caveman haha. Then I start to wonder what the world would be like if we just ran out of power for a long time. Scary. I have my Apocalypse Stash at home, at work and in my car -- though a lot of things touching on crisis say you have a wad of cash lying around because your atm or credit card isnt going to work *cries*

Ah well. Here's to Armageddon!


Blogger HC said...

Anon: You sound really well-prepared! Although I wonder if you have a sterno stove or somesuch for your rice.

DH: I've never experienced a tornado, and I kind of hope that I never will.

Golbguru and Juan: I lived through the Big Blackout of 2003, so you'd think I'd know better. At any rate, I did get the charger and another flashlight. And having cash isn't such a bad idea.

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