Tuesday, February 10, 2015

California Winter: A Storm Story.

Our neck of the woods has finally been getting a small dose of winter.  It's not three feet of snow or hurricane force winds....nothing crazy like that.  (We ARE still California, after all.) But we did get some serious rain this weekend.  Some places got hail or lightening, and most of us got some pretty strong wind. 

I woke up on Saturday morning and went to flip on the light switch in the bathroom and all I got was a "click" with no light.  Tried it again, just to be sure, and still no light.  Our power had gone out in the middle of the night. 

I stumbled through the dark hallway and made my way to the kitchen where I again flipped the light switch, you know, just to check, and because I apparently have the short-term memory of a gnat.  Note to self: When the power goes out, none of the lights work.  NONE of them.  STOP CHECKING. 

It was still pretty dark, but I quickly remembered that we had a candle in the middle of the dining room table and a lighter in the junk drawer in the kitchen.  I was able to connect Candle A with Lighter B to create light!  I then stopped to pat myself on the back for being so remarkably well-prepared for the apocalypse by having an alternate source of light for my home.  Yay me!

My next order of business was visiting the PG&E website to see what the deal was with this power outage.  Always a bummer when you pull up your address and get a message like this:

We were already eight hours in to our little power hiccup and they had no idea on the cause and no guess as to how long power would be out.  Ugh.

When my kids woke up, they were delighted with the candlelight cereal spread that was on the table for breakfast.  They thought it was fun and fancy.  Lucky them, they didn't notice the very real absence of COFFEE. Turns out I couldn't even pull out our gas camping stove to make coffee because all we had in the house were whole beans, nothing ground.  In the absence of a Indian coffee grinding rock we were forced to make an emergency trip to Starbucks.  Perhaps my apocalypse planning had a few holes in it....

As the day wore on, we embraced the frontier lifestyle, sans electricity.  We lit a fire in the fireplace to keep warm (with outside temps hovering in the 50's, we couldn't risk frostbite...).  The kids did some coloring by candlelight and ran around outside for over an hour.  I actually sat down to read a book.  The last time that happened on a Saturday morning was, um, never. We also answered question after question after question from the kids about what does and does not require electricity.  TV?  Yes.  Computer?  Yes.  Refrigerator?  Yes.  Fireplace?  No.  Yes.  Lights?  Yes.  Water?  No.   And on and on and on.

Lunch and snacks were gleaned from whatever was in the cupboards because I was trying very hard to conserve every ounce of cool air inside the refrigerator.  When the afternoon wore on and it appeared that we might be forced to create dinner without electricity, I started debating about Burrito Bandito or pizza.  But then I became determined to survive in this primitive state and actually COOK my own dinner on the BBQ.  And then I remembered our propane tank was empty.  So again, the disaster prep in our house could perhaps use a little fine-tuning.

A little after 2pm the lights came back on, we all breathed a sigh of relief and the kids got to celebrate by watching a movie.  The vacuum cleaner doesn't work without electricity, so all in all it wasn't a bad way to spend a Saturday. Bring it on, California winter. We got this. 

The Apocalypse?  Maybe not so much. 

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