Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back on the Grid

We're Back! Power was restored in the middle of the night and praise the energy gods, we can flush our toilets. Really, that was the hardest thing. I have 4 boys and a husband. ICK. Glad that's over. However, it's funny how quickly things go right back to normal... Air conditioners are humming (not mine, I am trying to stay off air as part of Chile's Challenge), windows are closed up and neighbors that socialized in driveways chatting about the storm, the power and the damage are all back to work and back to hectic, suburban lives.

I certainly was not as prepared as I should have been. We needed more drinking water, we have cut out all bottled water, tea and drinks as part of our reduction of plastics and glass, so we were a little short there. We needed more batteries, more flashlights and better candles. Maybe I just need to hone my survival skills, I am hoping the scorched mark on the bathroom wall will fade or just become a unique interior design feature.

Though, we actually fared pretty well and learned some things too. We were fine without TV, video games and electric powered toys. We took more walks, we ate outside, we found pizza within walking distance. We actually enjoyed the candlelight, went to bed earlier and got up with the sun. My boys slept in a big pile on the living room floor - apparently the thought of no power unnerved them enough to want to be a little closer to their parents and to each other.

So, I might make a few changes to be better prepared. Stock up on some gallons of water, buy a couple of better flashlights and maybe a few more batteries. Keep 5 gallons of gas on hand for the generator. Do I want to live off the grid? No. Can I use less of the grid and still be pretty happy and content. Yes. My fear is that we are going to have to ready ourselves to be less dependent on electricity, running water and natural gas. Might cold showers, greywater flushing and bed times that coincide with the rising and setting of the sun be part of our imminent future? Probably, and I better be prepared for it. The next time there is an eco-throwdown challenge and I think, Nah... who wants to live without electricity, maybe I might think twice and try to tackle it. It might be good training for the future!


Green Bean said...

What an eye opening experience. Reading it, I kept thinking, nope we don't have enough water, no batteries, etc. Having "gone green", we've also given up bottled water. I have a gallon or two tucked away but lord knows how old it is. I long ago switched to rechargable batteries, which truthfully don't last that long, though I do have a solar charger. Doesn't sound like I'd be too well off in your situation. A good lesson to get prepared.

eco 'burban mom said...

I agree, GB. Bottling your own tap water is impossible when the power is out. We were really in a pinch. If it had been a major blackout and we weren't able to run to the store for water, we would have been in trouble. I plan to buy 20 gallons or so as a back up.

And, the eco-friendly wind up and shaking flashlights we have? Terrible. My husband got our battery jump box from our boat and we used the caution light to see. And, his big construction spot light. So, we used candles for around the house. Then, I scorched the paint on the wall in the bathroom because the wicks were too long and I couldn't see to trim them. It was comical, really.

So, I learned. Being green is great, but being unprepared is really much worse. So, I will bite the bullet and buy the bottled water and batteries and flashlights - and keep them in storage for emergencies.