This weekend was a big eye opener for my family and I. Friday night we lost power, due to the unusually high winds sending an unusually high number of trees into the power lines. No big deal, right? We've weathered lots of power outages before! They never last more than a few hours, and we have lots of candles and blankets.
Saturday morning came, and we were still without power. Hmm. We don't own a generator. The 6 year old keeps forgetting to NOT flush the toilet, and now we have no water. Should we try to find a generator? Nah, the power will surely be back on in a few hours!
Saturday night, still no power. DON"T OPEN THE FREEZER!!! I have hundreds of dollars worth of food in the freezer, and if it thaws out, we're in trouble. And its getting really cold in here. Its 36 degrees outside.
Sunday morning, still no power. The house is very cold, and everything in the refrigerator is spoiled, including all the green beans I just harvested from the garden and hadn't had a chance to process yet. Husband decided that we have to get a generator NOW. Off to town we go, and had to look at 6 stores to find one. Imagine that, we weren't the only ones who decided we should get one! $800.00 later, we're on our way home, sure that the power will be on now that we spent all that money. Thank God we aren't burdened by credit cards any longer and had money in savings to pay cash.
What the Hell?! Now its SNOWING!!!
Back at home, the power still isn't on, so we get the generator running, and get the fridge, freezer and furnace plugged in by running extension cords through the kitchen window.. No well pump, as we aren't wired to switch it easily to generator power. If it was colder out, the well lines would all be frozen by now. We all took baby-wipe baths and snuggled in to watch a movie on the little TV that we plugged into the generator. If we hadn't gotten the generator, the freezers would be thawing by now.
We ran the generator all night last night. At 5:15 the alarm went off. Time for Rob to get ready for work. UGH. But then, a flash and a buzz, and on came the power! Yahoo!!! It was off for a total of 60 hours. If we hadn't left early Sunday to get the generator, they would have been all sold out and we would have been out of luck.
Top 5 things I learned from this ordeal...
1. Canning my produce, and even as much meat as I can, is a very good idea. The freezer is not a dependable food storage solution.
2. This is ALASKA. You need backup power. Dependable back up power. And you need the house wired for that backup power.
3. Kids get scared when the power goes off, even if they say they are fine.
4. Have emergency funds. Since we don't have credit cards (thank God) we would have been in a much worse situation if we had no way to buy the generator and emergency food and fuel.
5. I want a woodstove. You can heat with it AND cook with it.