Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Empower: When There Is No Power

This is a little different than the rest of the Empower series, because I'm not talking about clearing clutter or taking baby steps to accomplish something, but nonetheless there is a kind of empowerment you need to have when things are different than expected. Mostly it helps you see that you are not in control and reminds you that God is the source of your strength. I'm joining the #RaRaLinkup, which is being hosted by Katy McKown.

What do you do when you have a day planned full of things like making yogurt and elderberry syrup, cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry and you have no electricity? Not to mention that your house is around 51 deg. F.

That was my predicament yesterday.

Around 2:30 A.M. we woke up to complete darkness with the only noise being the wind and sleet. When our power is out we have no water, no phone when the battery runs out, no WiFi and no heat. Good thing we had flashlights. My husband got up and went downstairs to light the woodburning stove so we would at least have a little heat. He was up again at 6:00 to check on it and then at 7:30 to go check on the chickens making sure they had food and water.

I stayed in bed for quite awhile because it was warm under my down comforter, and I didn't want to get dressed in the cold. Finally I got up, dressed in layers including a sweater and sweatshirt, and went downstairs to figure out what to eat. I found a bagel and smeared it with blueberry cream cheese and drank a glass of milk. 

What I really wanted was something hot.

We added more wood to the stove to try to make it warmer, but I guess we piled it too high and the flames started up the chimney sounding like a freight train! At first I didn't know what the sound was, then I realized, so I quickly closed the damper and vents to block the air flow. That seemed to do the trick, but then I was a little leery of keeping the stove going. 

I went upstairs to sit in bed and write, thinking I would be a little warmer, but the air was just too cold. My hands were freezing, so I came back downstairs and decided to put a kettle of water from our osmosis system on the top of the woodburning stove along with a pan of milk to use for hot chocolate later. I waited awhile, but the water really only got a little warmer than lukewarm. I had my tea anyway. At least it warmed my hands a little while holding the cup.

Using my cell phone I was able to let people know we were without power, but that was tricky because it only gets a consistent signal if I hold it up to the window. The battery was getting very low, so my husband went out to the car in order to charge it up using the mobile charger. After awhile I went out so he could tend to some other things like gathering more wood and draining water from outside tanks to use for flushing toilets. I basked in the warmth of the car especially with the seat heater, and I took some pictures. 

(lots of ice on the bushes and trees)

Later that afternoon I was getting pretty frustrated with our lack of power, and I'm afraid I started complaining. I didn't know what we would do for supper having no idea when the power would be back on. We had planned to make pizza, but obviously we couldn't do that. I also went back out to the car to charge up the phone again. It was our only link to the outside world.

When I came back inside I decided I would try to have a good attitude and maybe take some pictures outside. I grabbed my camera and went out onto the porch. As soon as I turned it on it flashed a message to charge the battery and then shut down. Not daunted, I came back inside and got my phone instead. This first picture is the landing at the top of the stairs. Part of our driveway looked like this.

Look at this exquisite picture of the ice on the tree that comes up above the porch railing.

Refreshed, I came inside knowing that I needed to round up something for supper. First I made some carrot sticks, then sliced cheese, then got out slices of pepperoni and put it all on a plate. By this time it was getting dark so we had candles burning. I put the food on the coffee table, added another pot with some milk to the other one on the wood stove thinking that if there was only a couple of inches of milk in a thin bottomed pot it might heat up faster. I also served bread with butter and fruit spread.

The four of us gathered in the living room and my youngest son got the bright idea of watching a movie using his brother's computer since it had a long lasting battery. We chose an old suspense/comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant – Charade. While watching it the milk finally got warm enough to add cocoa and maple syrup and honey, which I did by candlelight. Just as I finished, the power came back on. 

What a relief!

None of my planned chores got done, but the four of us spent more time together bundled up with blankets, afghans, coats or sweaters. (The house temperature never got much higher than about 58.) We were forced to be resourceful, and in the end, as I look back, it was actually kind of fun to see what all we were able to do. And when you think about it, we only endured about 18 hours of no power. Others may have had it much worse.

I'm joining other bloggers with Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkup, which is being hosted this week by Katy McKown at A Football Wife's Life.  Take a look and you'll find some good encouragement there. You are welcome to add your own post to the linkup.

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