This same month 2 years ago I wrote, Out of the Ashes. And sadly, here we go again…
At 8:30 p.m., a week ago Saturday, our power was shut off for 48 hours. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing fires again in the hills of Northern California. People are evacuating while thousands of acres burn. High winds worsen matters, so Pacific Gas & Electric rotates the shutdown to various counties, some for hours, others for days.
Now don’t get me wrong; this is a delicate subject to blog about. I intend no disrespect to those suffering from the situation and my prayers are with them. But often with my blog, I attempt to write from a lighthearted perspective. So here’s what I experienced during this shutdown…
I have to say, not having power wasn’t what I imagined. Granted, I couldn’t use any of my electronics, which took some getting used to. But surprisingly, I ended up accomplishing much more than usual without them. But then it was only 48 hours, so I shouldn’t pretend I’d have the same opinion had it lasted weeks. No doubt I’d be whining profusely.
Fortunately, we received notice about the shutdown schedule. Therefore, I retrieved my candles and flashlights, including my head-lamp, and bought battery-operated lanterns. I tell ya, my family room was lit like an operating room. My dog Callie worried a little because everything scares her. But the rest of my brood seemed unfazed.
Without the internet, TV, cell phones or even radio, it’s amazing what we find to do with our time: I wrote 2 blog posts (my Pages app doesn’t require internet); purged my clothes closet (something I meant to do last spring); scooped a ton of dog poop (the joys of owning 4 canines); did yard work; read a book and organized my garage and shed.
The morning after the shutdown, breakfast was a peanut butter sandwich, grapes and almonds. Dinner consisted of still slightly-cold homemade minestrone. But by 9:00 a.m. I was having caffeine withdrawals without my treasured latte, so I went to Starbucks. But everything in the county was closed so I headed to the Farmer’s Market. Sadly, so did every other putz in the county who craved their morning Joe.
The line for the Red Whale coffee truck was 40 deep (yes, I actually counted).
I promptly left, but remembered Red Whale has a cafe near my neighborhood. Lo and behold, they were open and with only 11 waiting before me! During my 25 minute wait, I chatted with others in line, meeting a woman who works for the town of Windsor. In Marin collecting food donations for their firefighters, she clutched an all-in-one solar, hand-cranked and battery operated radio. I ordered one the minute power was restored.
My neighbors, Paul and Vicki, wisely bought a generator and insisted I place my perishables in their freezer. They also brought me coffee in the morning. I just love them.
Interestingly, I noticed more families out biking, people walking their dogs and neighbors talking to neighbors. It’s fascinating what the lack of access to technology produces. I liked that part of it, but worried about friends I couldn’t reach. Thankfully they and their homes are safe. Sadly, not everyone fared so well.
I suppose these situations help us realize what’s most important in our lives — what we’d take with us in an emergency. For me it’s my animals, photo albums, phone, laptop and my mom’s wedding ring. That’s it. Yep, a total shutdown will undoubtedly happen again. And when it does, I’ll pray that the devastation is minimal. Then maybe I’ll sit down and start the book I never get around to writing. If only I had the time…