Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seeing More Clearly

After three days without electricity, I am seeing things a bit more clearly and it's not just due to my restored ability to flip on a light.

A storm on Friday evening ripped through our area knocking over trees, separating roofs and siding from houses and snapping the electric lines.  On Friday night the storm affected us by cancelling a birthday party and keeping Rob at work.  Watching the storm kept us busy in the early part of the evening.  Looking for candles and flashlights kept us occupied for a bit.  We found enough candles to light our way and discovered that none of our flashlights worked.  The rest of the evening was spent verbally  processing the storm and our experience to date and reading by candle light.  We all fully expected to wake with electricity.

When Saturday morning dawned with no electricity I realized that some plans would need to be re-evaluated and other plans would need to be made.  Rob came home from work with the news that the effects of the storm had been far reaching.  Some authorities were predicting 5-7 days without full electric power being restored.  He was concerned about not having a full tank of gas for his truck.  Discovering the impact of the storm, I became concerned about having the food and supplies we'd need at home for surviving without electricity.  He'd been awake for more than 24 hours so sleep topped his list of requirements.  While he went to bed I left the house looking for gas and supplies.

Living in a farming community has its privileges.  A service station with a generator that was still able to function was one of them.  A community that is able to trust and serve each other is another.  The line at the service station that stretched on for over a quarter of a mile encouraged me to check the local stores to meet our other needs before I parked the truck to wait for gas. 

The local IGA was open on Saturday morning until noon.  They had someone stationed at the door to slide open the   doors for customers and people with flashlights to help customers find things they needed.  Payment was cash and check only.  In an uncharacteristic move, I had both in my purse.  God is good.  At IGA I was able to get buckets, candles, batteries, propane, bottled water and easy-to-fix, no-refrigeration-required food staples. As I returned to our house, the tiny bit of gas in the truck let me know that making it home was more important than waiting for gas and running out of fuel before the line moved far enough forward. 

Upon my return home the children helped me unload my supplies.  We then began to move through the house and farm checking everything and finding out what needs needed to be met.  We gathered all the candle stick holders and flashlights, replacing candles and batteries were needed.  We ended up with two working flashlights and eight or so candles.

Our next mission was meeting our water needs.  At the farm, we have a cistern that catches our spring water.  The storm the previous night had ensured that we had a full cistern.  We managed to push back the heavy, concrete cover.  Then we tied one of new buckets to a rope fastened to the cistern.  By doing so we were able to lift buckets of water to be taken into the house.  We filled two buckets for use in two of the bathrooms.  By using the buckets to fill the back of toilets with water we could make them flush even though our electric water pump wasn't operating.   After setting up our indoor toilets, we filled pitchers and buckets for use in the kitchen.

As Saturday passed we continued to hope that the predictions about the electricity had been exaggerated.  On Sunday we were able to join our church family in worship.  While we were all without power, we were all safe and it was good to be together.  Some had generators, some had water, help was offered on several fronts.  One family gave us access to a hot shower.  Another family offered a generator to keep our freezer from thawing.  One friend even offered to bring me hot coffee.   By Sunday evening we were all clean and the concern of losing all our beef and chicken had been relieved. 

Monday morning brought a breakfast of steak and eggs.  S10 was scheduled to go to 4-H camp this morning so his day brought disappointment.  Camp was cancelled due to lack of power.  The plans for the day included several unsavory jobs, including emptying the refrigerator and freezer and discarding the things that may have gone bad without adequate refrigeration.  In addition to cleaning out the refrigerator, we  heated water on the grill to wash the dirty dishes that had accumulated over the weekend.  While we were heating water and washing dishes we cooked a chicken on the grill.  We were able to enjoy a lunch of chicken and watermelon before we went to the community pool for a few hours of refreshing coolness.  We came home from the pool to spend some time with Rob before he returned to work for the night.  When he left we went to the library for an internet connection and some cook air before bedtime. 

We returned from the library hungry.  K15 fixed hamburger helper on the grill while I took care of the animals.  Before dinner was cooked, we saw the electric company crew pull into our driveway.  Within the hour, our electric had been restored and we ate dinner in the air conditioning, ceiling fans blowing and lights on. 

Spending several days without electricity was eye opening.  First of all, it made me realize how much I take for granted.  I'm not ready to become a survivalist but I do know that being prepared for some basic emergency situations is a wise idea.  I am more prepared now than I was four days ago.  I plan to be better prepared still.  Secondly, it made me realize that character building is something I need to work on, for myself and my children.  For the most part, everyone was able to pitch in and do what needed to be done. Overall,  my family dealt well with a difficult situation. Unfortunately, the issues that concern me in the best of times, lack of gratitude, selfishness, laziness, disrespect, stubbornness, arguing, were magnified when the lights went out.  I'm not sure how I'll deal with these concern but I do know that I must try. My first step in addressing these issues will be prayer.

It's good to see clearly this morning.  I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. I savored time sitting on the deck doing my Bible study but I was especially thankful for the opportunity to walk back into an air conditioned house when the morning grew a bit warmer.  God has given me so much.  I pray that I may always give thanks for each of God's good gifts.

No comments:

Post a Comment