Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Last  night that most universally failure-proof function failed.  Right at dinner time the lights went out.  When I called the power company to report the outage, I was greeted with an automated voice that crisply informed me that we were NOT in a known outage area and to check my bill to see if it had been paid, check the main breaker in the house, check, check, check.    I got a little panicky until MM in looking outside could see that the neighbor's dusk-to-dawn monstrosity was also out, as was the next neighbor's down.  In turning to the west, he could see nothing but blackness.  Obviously, we weren't the only ones and I took refuge in the misery-loves-company mindset.

But we're rarely "miserable" when the lights go out JOTOLR.  Our wood cookstove was purring nicely.  We had, rather fortunately, planned to have the final turkey sandwiches of Thanksgiving 2010 for dinner.  So, out came the oil lamps--we have two--along with the book lights which fasten on the top edge of the book and give great illumination.

I tried the power company a little while later and got the recording that indeed, this time, we WERE in a known "outage area" and that service would be restored by 8:30 p.m.  So, without anxiety, we settled in for a two-hour wait.

If it's not too long a time, I love it when the power goes off.  I guess it comes from when I was a little girl and my mother made it fun.  The oil lamps then, as now, came out; we roasted weiners on the fire in the fireplace, and it seemed all so festive.  Forgive me.  I know all the downside effects of a powerless existence...but living as MM and I do, it's rarely a huge inconvenience providing it comes back in a reasonable time.  If it endures, water becomes a little problematic, so I always fill several cannisters with new water before an anticipated outage.  In fact, I keep a little on hand.  It's back to the privvy (outdoor) facilities (should need arise).  We don't open the fridge or freezers, but instead cover all freezers outside with a couple of extra blankets.  Of course, when it's cold, that's not needed.  

Without electric power, we are gently reminded for a moment how dependent we are upon it--and maybe, how not to be....(In the photo below, the regular reading lamp has gone dark, and the booklight flares against MM's glasses.)

Just as we had everything assembled for sandwich-making, the lights came back on.  It seemed such a waste of effort and we simply ignored the fact that power had been restored and enjoyed the light of the lanterns.


  1. We keep water in jugs all through the winter for such eventualities. Like you too, we are prepared with oil lamps and wood stoves etc. And it's fun for a while.

  2. Elora -- you sure are prepared for power outages. The post was a reminder to me to get some food stocked in the pantry and some new oil light globes. We can have some wicked power outages in this area. -- barbara

  3. We are prepared the easy way. When we built our house we got a very large propane generator.

    Our kids do have fond memories of power outages when they were children. We took sleeping bags and "camped" out in the den before the fireplace. They were always disappointed when the power came back on and we often stayed there for a while longer reciting poems and telling stories.

  4. Hi Elora - just doing my weekly catch up reading your blog - I loved this post! Reminds me of when we used to get power outages back home. I have a particularly fond memory of being cold and having a craving for hot chocolate - one small problem - we had an electric stove! So we dug through the wood pile shoved some logs in the wood stove, grabbed a pot and made the best hot chocolate ever - from scratch and slow cooked! Yummy! I love power outages - unfortunately (fortunately) Italy doesn't get many - all the power lines are UNDER the road!

  5. Hi Elora and MM:

    Yeah...we were in the middle of dinner preparation when the power went out. We put it all on hold, then all of us sat at the table and talked by candlelight until it came back on several hours later. It was nice spending some time with my two youngest (17 and 21). Usually when the power goes out I have to get in the truck and drive out to the hardtop road to see if it is just me or the neighborhood...a small drawback for having no visible neighbors.

  6. Yes, folks it IS that time of year! Keep those water jugs full, Vicki! Barbara, i'm glad my post served as a reminder. Snow showers are in the forecast all the rest of this week. Get those provisions!! NCMW, that was smart to put in that generator! You knew what to plan for! Elora, sounds just like my own experience! That Hershey's cocoa with a marshmallow melting on top! Thomas, I can certainly relate to feeling alone! Not that the power outage in itself, created anxiety. But when the first contact told me WE were the problem, I wasn't at all pleased with the idea of MM's fumbling around in the dark trying to fix an electrical problem; so it pays to wait awhile before reporting!! And, like you, we needed to apply some logic and put zero and zero together: no lights on the east or west...Ahhhhh! we're not alone!!