At 8PM Friday night, our power went out.
We had 70 MPH straight-line winds and horizontal rain. Trees came down all over the neighborhood. Two houses down, 3 tree played dominoes, creaming the house, the fence, and two cars.
How did we do?
The skeleton I keep hanging in my tree lost its right shin-bone and we lost power. So did 610,000 other people in the area.
It’s interesting to watch what happens when the power goes out.
I’m assuming every generator in the area sold out. I don’t know, because I already had one. I do know that most of the gas stations near me ran out of gas on Saturday. Most places were out of ice, too. Batteries were hard to scrounge.
The restaurants that either didn’t lose power or had backup generators were raking in money all weekend. Sunday morning, McDonald’s had a line of cars backed up an entire block.
Our power came back on Monday night. 74 hours of living in the dark ages. We had to read books on paper and cook all of our food on the grill.
We did okay. A few years ago, when the power went out for a day, I bought a generator. Saturday morning, I finally had a reason to take it out of the box.
The generator cost me $450. Over the weekend, we put about $40 worth of gas into it. That kept our refrigerator and freezer running, saving at least $5-600 worth of food. Two neighbors filled up our available freezer space, so that’s another $200 worth of food that didn’t die.
That’s a $500 investment to save nearly $800 worth of food.
The generator also allowed us to keep a couple of fans running, which is great when the power goes out when it’s 90 degrees outside. We also fired up the TV and DVD player at night to help the kids settle down for bed. This is one time I was glad to have an older TV, because cheap generators don’t push out a clean electricity that you can safely use to run nice electronics.
We have a couple of backup batteries for our cell phones, so we got to stay in touch with the world. We borrowed an outlet at our rental property to charge the batteries when they died.
We had about 5 gallons of gas on hand, which was convenient, but not enough. I’m going to grow that. A little fuel stabilizer and a couple of 5 gallon gas cans and we can be set for the next time gas runs out.
We cooked everything on the propane grill. I keep two spare propane tanks on hand, but we didn’t use them. Sunday night, my wife made spaghetti on the grill. The hard part was keeping the noodle from falling through. Nah, we threw the cast iron on the grill and cooked away. Had pancakes and bacon made the same way on Sunday.
We had to buy more lanterns. We had two nice big ones, but at one point, we had 9 people in our house. That’s a lot of games, books, and bathroom breaks to coordinate with only two main lights. This weekend did teach our daughters that the emergency flashlights are not toys. Two of them had dead batteries that needed to be replaced.
Going out to dinner Monday evening was a treat. We sat in a building with air-conditioning!
All said, we spent about $250 that we wouldn’t have if the power would have stayed on. That’s $40 for gas, $80 for dinner(you try feeding a family of 5 for less than that at a restaurant that doesn’t have a drive-through) and $130 on new lanterns. The lantern bill caught me by surprise, by a lot, but now we are set for next time.
How would you do without power for three days?