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Where we live: Lessons learned from the power outage

Published March 09. 2018 10:28PM

Most of us look forward to Friday because of our weekend plans.

But I was not prepared for the adventure last weekend when my electricity went out at 2 p.m. Friday. We were one of more than 5,000 residents in Chestnuthill Township who would be without power for a number of days.

I consider myself a veteran of sorts because I lived without power for five days in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and yet another three days when Hurricane Sandy hit.

We moved since those days and now live on a small street off Route 209. This time there were only 17 customers in our cluster. I thought we were in it for the long haul because PPL would concentrate on hitting the big chunks first.

The first morning was a little rough. I needed tea and I couldn’t think without it. We have a gas range, but it wasn’t as simple as turning on the stove because the igniter is electric.

I posted my dilemma on Facebook and my cousin replied, “Fire up the grill. You need tea.”

I had to turn to Google to find out what to do to light the burner.

We had a backup heat source but we had to move everything from the refrigerators and freezers to my father-in-law’s house.

One problem: I can’t resist a good deal and my deep chest freezer and two refrigerator freezers were stuffed. This was going to be an all-day process.

I had decided after Sandy that I would never do this again, but somehow it still happened. I think it’s my Pennsylvania Dutch background that requires me to be sure to always have enough food in stock.

As we loaded frozen food into crates to transport, my husband asked, “Where did all this come from?”

Me: “The store, of course.”

Him: “Why?”

Me: “It just happened. I don’t know.”

Him: “We are going to have to take two cars to lug all this.”

Me: “No. Well, maybe.”

Him: “We need to use this stuff up.”

Me: “Sigh. I know. It will be different next time.”

We did manage to jam everything in my father-in-law’s freezer, except for a pudding cake which I brought to the office and two frozen pizzas I stuffed into the refrigerator freezer.

We also became regular visitors at his house so we could take showers and power up our cellphones.

By Monday, this got old. I was tired of lugging water to drink and ice for our coolers. When I heard about the Doomsday snowstorm forecast for Wednesday, I started to really panic.

But I kept reminding myself that the people in Puerto Rico have been dealing with power outages for months. Months!

I was also thankful that no trees fell on our house. We were safe. We could wait it out.

Our power was restored Tuesday, but here’s what I learned from those short days and dark nights:

• Tea always tastes better if you boil the water on the stove rather than throwing the cup of water in the microwave. I’m always on deadline and in a hurry. If it’s hot and has caffeine it’s good enough.

It was nice to have those few days of really great tea.

• The stars are amazingly bright when there is no light. I saw Orion’s Belt for the first time in a while.

• I can light the gas range with a match and flush the toilet with a bucket of water. I really didn’t know, so these were new skills for me.

• You can usually find Wi-Fi somewhere.

• However, if you can stay off the computer you can really save money because you are not online shopping.

• Peanut butter and jelly always was and is still the best!

• It’s hard to put on makeup in the dark. We had a battery operated lantern to keep us from bumping into things, but it didn’t help with the intricate daily activities.

• In the quiet without the Sixers and the Hallmark Channel you can have really good conversations.

• Friends are always there to help.

• Chocolate has great powers.

• And no matter how many times you look at the outage map to see if the utility trucks are in the neighborhood, only God is in control (with a little help from PPL). LOL.

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