"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On Being Prepared

There's nothing like a good long power outage to help you realize how unprepared you are.  Thankfully we live in an area that doesn't have a lot of imminent threats - we never get tornadoes, and hurricanes are obviously not a problem in high, dry Wyoming.  But last night our power went out for just a blink of time in the evening.  My thought was - I should find a flashlight.  Well, I did that, and even made sure the batteries worked.  I even lit a scented candle so the kids wouldn't be too panicked. The power stayed on the rest of the evening and we went to bed.  When we got up this morning it was out again - which happened around 1:30 am.  According to the message from the power company, it sounds like the whole county was out - nearly 6,000 people.  Thankfully it wasn't too cold last night, and we weren't cold this morning either.  But the power didn't come back on again until about quarter after noon.

It was kind of comical in a way because the nine year old couldn't figure out what to do.  I found this funny because we don't have television and he doesn't go online or play video games or anything like that.  We watch an occasional movie, but that's about it.  Mostly he does homeschool work, reads and plays with Legos.  But the perception of being without power was a big deal to him.

The five year old was another story.  Having autism, he's very stuck on his routine, and this totally messed it up.  First of all, he ALWAYS has toast for breakfast, and there was just no possible way to make toast.  I finally (after almost two hours) convinced him to eat bread and butter instead ... "cold toast" ;)  Then he wanted to watch a movie.  Oh dear.  It was very upsetting.  He "handles" things like that by just repeating himself over and over - "I want toast" or "I just need toast." Nonstop.

But overall, I realized how unprepared we were for anything like that - especially if it had gone on long-term or been colder.  You would think with all the disasters people have gone through in the past few years that I would be more prepared. Nope. I even went to a workshop conducted by our county emergency manager and got some great tips and ideas for planning (actually it was extremely detailed.)  But I never actually did anything with that information.

Here are some things I realized...
- We have no other heat source here.  We do have a generator, but it was at our shed, not at our house - and it's highly unlikely that we have more than a gallon or so of fuel for it.  We do have a heater we could plug into it ... if we had the generator here and fuel to run it.
- And speaking of fuel, my vehicle was on fumes.  I had remembered I intended to fill up before leaving town Thursday after I had already left town and just figured I'd do it another day.  It had enough fuel to get us to town, but probably not enough to bring us back home.  I know, we're always told to run on the top half of the tank.  Good lesson.
- I also didn't have cash (which makes no difference when the stores are closed, but still...)
-More importantly, we have a well, so without power, we have no water... which means, no flushing, no hand washing, no drinking.  That was the biggest thing.  I put on a pair of cleaning gloves when I had to change a messy diaper.  It worked but it wasn't ideal. I do think I'll make sure to have a box of disposable gloves in the storage room though.
- Our sleeping bags are in our camper - also not at our house. If it had been especially cold last night, we would have had a problem.
- My hand-crank can opener stinks. The good one is in the camper.

I could go on and on.  The point is, we're not prepared. Not by a long-shot.  This is definitely going to take some time - thinking, planning, purchasing, etc.  But today I took the first step. I bought a case of water when I was getting my other groceries.  I figure I can add a little at a time to our storage room so we are at least a little better prepared.  At least part of that is going to have to be finding all our flashlights, or buying more.

We did find that we stayed plenty warm in the daylight by opening the shades in the sun room (aka play room). When we were down there too long, we were too warm.  It was a "fun adventure" given that is was only for a short time.  We had fun playing dominoes to pass the time.  Funny how you feel like you can't do anything else when the power is out.  I have a to-do list with about 20 other things that could have been done without the power, but instead I played dominoes - ha.  Oh well. It was a good family day anyway.  And it was a very good lesson.  I've got some work to do.

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