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8th Day Without Power – and learning goes on

November 6, 2011

As some of you are aware, New England got hit with an early winter storm that dumped a bunch of snow on Connecticut and Massachusetts. Power lines and trees were and are down throughout the state. As a result, we are now on our eighth day without power. I should note that we have a generator and were in the process of getting it hooked into the house, but everyone appears to have had the same idea after Irene and parts were scarce.

The first day we stayed home with no heat, but waking up to a 50-degree house quickly convinced us that it would be good to decamp to my parents who have a wood stove. We spent the next four days at my parents. And while school has not been in session, I’ve learned a fair bit through this experience.

I’ve learned that my mother is a wicked Rumicub player! And I’ve been reminded that its fun to sit around and chat about what friends and family are doing.

I’ve learned that it is very quiet at night and you can see many stars when there are not lights to get in the way. I already knew this, but being reminded by being able to walk outside and look up and see the constellations was striking.

I’ve learned that a wood stove will heat to around 350 degrees and you can make a great spaghetti and meatballs on it. You can cook the meatballs in the sauce in a dutch oven on top of the stove. You can even make tasty toasted garlic bread by slicing a loaf of bread and placing the slices on a baking sheet on top of the stove. Flip and top with garlic butter and toast again. Tastes wonderful! (And yes there was a small fist pump at this triumph over adversity.)

On day six, the electrician got the parts to hook up our generator and we were able to move home. We’ve now got heat and hot water and can run some appliances. And we continue to learn.

We are learning the limits of a 5000 watt generator. We’ve learned that you can’t run the dishwasher and take a shower simultaneously, even if you turn most everything else off (I wasn’t the one who devised this test!). We’ve learned to create inventive meals. We’ve had steak and ham on the grill. And we’ve learned that if you’re careful, you can run the waffle iron. And we’ve learned to be patient. Kids have been out of school for over a week and I’ve been out for a week.

So this has been a break from the more traditional kind of learning that I usually discuss, but its also been fun and a reminder of how we can be resilient in adversity.

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