Monday, February 17, 2014

Power Outage and a Toddler

   Apparently, mother nature has been in a foul disposition this year. As she has been slamming snow storms all over the country. Pretty much if you live in the United States and read this you have most likely been hit with some type of unseasonably cold weather. North Carolina has definitely been hit bad this year.
     Before I go on, I know all the northerners reading this will think we are nuts, but trust me I grew up in upstate NY, and went to college in Niagara Falls and Buffalo! I know snow. North Carolina is not equipped for snow. We do not get it. So we do not bother putting snow plows, ice scrapers, snow days or anything to do with snow in our budget. (Please note: I am talking about where I live in coastal North Carolina, as the rest of North Carolina regularly gets snow). Here in coastal North Carolina our budgets are spent on hurricanes. We have hurricane days, hurricane safety days, hurricane radios. That is what we are used to. The first couple snow days we had this year were the first in about three years. We were all very excited and happy. It was not great snow for snow ball fights and making a snowman, but it was still a novelty we do not see here much. (Read: Snow Day Fun)
      However, last week we were hit hard, not with a snow storm but an ice storm. Needless to say it knocked out electricity and knocked down tons of trees all over our cities. Thousands were without power. Ourselves were one of them. We ended up going thirty-two hours total without power. We did not have a lot of options. All of our friends in town also had lost power. Our families live farther north and we would have to drive through snow and then we do not even know when our power could come on and lastly, Nick and I work from home. He could not work without power but as soon as it came back on he had to try to go back to work. I still had deadlines and things I had to get submitted. Technically waiting for power was all we could do.
     I am not a tech/gadget person, so the idea of not having power for a while did not bother me. I love camping and I camp in a tent so I am pretty tough. The hardest part was food, figuring out what to eat, what to feed Xavier and how to keep him warm. The biggest issue is that we lost our heat. We do not have a fireplace or anything else. Nick and I pulled out all our comforters and we all wore three layers of clothing all day long. Xavier had footie pajamas, regular warm pajamas and jogging pants. We were very bulky but it kept us warm. Thank goodness most of Xavier's toys run on batteries. We tried to make his day as normal as possible. We played the radio, played trains with him. We got Chinese for dinner so it was warm and we put him to bed with extra blankets and what do you know he now loves them and sleeps with an extra blanket now as well as his old blanket.
     The low points, we were very, very cold. We had no hot water for showers, baths or even washing up. We have a septic tank pump so we had to abide by the "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down rule". My husband Nick sleeps with a CPAP machine at night, and he could not use it without power. So he slept in the guestroom and I slept in our room because of the snoring. When Nick cannot use his CPAP he gets incredibly sleepy and does not feel well, so that did not help our situation.
    The high points, getting to spend real quality time as a family, we snuggled under blankets, played trains for hours, had pillow fights and played cards late into the night. I enjoyed going in the car to charge my phone one day and crank the heat and radio which was playing 90s music. Borrowing our neighbors grill to make fresh hot dogs and hot beans and lastly, knowing that as a family we can get through anything together. That is pure piece of mind.
     Always be sure to have plans for your family for natural disasters. Wherever you live you know you have a type of natural disaster that can happen at any moment.  Be sure to have a plan. Have a safe spot in your home, have things in your cupboard if you lose power, keep batteries and flashlights handy. Make sure every member of your family knows the plan if you ever have a fire, tornado, hurricane, blackout, or even a burglary. When disasters occur every second matters if you already have a plan you are putting your valuable seconds to good use.
     I am very glad our power and cable are back up and running and the temperatures are in the 70s this week. Much more like the North Carolina I moved to. I am very grateful for all the electricians, fireman, police and general good citizens that helped to clean up debris and get power restored to Wilmington and the surrounding counties. Know we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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