Our first day with electricity in a week and a half. Time to clean up all the mess from the past 11 days: gasoline cans, generator oil spots, unvaccumed floors, dishwasher full of dirty dishes, etc. It felt good. No more getting up in the middle of the night and at dawn's first light to refuel, check the oil and pull the cord. I celebrated by briefly turning on every light in the house and flushing the commode over and over again.
One thing I don't want to do, is forget the thousands in our region still without power, and I hope the media doesn't either. There's always a tendency to quickly move on to the next "big story," and forget sometimes, that you still have one ongoing. Some outlets are already doing that. I think in this case though, there are still enough media members themselves without power, that they'll keep the story on the front burner a little longer. I hope so.
Many outlets are doing generator safety stories now, which is a good thing. The bad thing is they should have done those a week or so ago, before several people in our area died. Bridget and I used a small generator to help get through this. We kept our's on the edge of the garage, with the exhaust outside to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. We also learned several other survival techniques for days on end without electricity.
1. Have a generator. Even a small one can make a big difference. We powered small heaters, our fridge and freezer, and at night, our TV and computer. The small bit of entertainment from the TV and computer helped provide a momentary diversion from the fact we could sit on our couch and see our breath in the cold. We have DirecTV which never went out, even with some ice on the dish. We had a few cans of de-icer in case it did, but it worked the whole time. Many lost their cable TV to ice on the lines and won't have it back for weeks.
2. Use candles, but carefully. We found the big glass candles, with the single wicks provided the most heat among different types of candles. They also provided some light. Nighttime is the worst time without power.
3. Don't pile up quilts at bedtime. Use cold weather sleeping bags. We found them to be MUCH warmer than piling quilts on each other. They're made for winter camping and they do a great job. Once we got into the sleeping bags at night, we were relatively comfortable.....until we had to get up to refuel the generator or go to the bathroom.
4. If you can only shower every 3rd day or so, put talcum powder in your hair. It absorbs the grease, and makes you look less like a person who hasn't had a shower in 3 days!
5. Use those nice smelling "body sprays" like Axe. I learned about this from a friend who was telling me what his little boys did to avoid taking showers. He said, after a day or two of them smelling like Axe, he rounded them up and MADE them take a shower, even though they smelled great!
6. You CAN bath daily by rubbing Germ-X all over yourself. Bridget discovered this one. I warned her that she probably shouldn't light a cigarette for a period of time after one of these "baths."
7. Use buckets to capture runoff/melt from your storm gutters. They can help get water for your pets, or to flush the commode.
8. Keep calling the power company! Be nice, but remind them that your area still doesn't have power. Sometimes they might have your neighborhood listed as fully energized, when some pockets are not. They're working as hard and as frantically as they can to get your power back, but they need to know exactly who has power and who doesn't and were the trouble spots are.
9. Be patient. Keep telling yourself you're one day closer to getting the power back. Remind yourself that at least next month's utility bill will be smaller!
10. Prepare as much as you can before the power goes out. Have flashlights, batteries and candles ready. If you have a well, fill your bathtub and everything else you can: pitchers, pots, other containers. We even filled our crockpot with drinking water prior to losing power. It was a big help.
*If you can go somewhere for a few days, GO. If you can't, take time every other day or so to drive to someplace where there is power to warm up and get a hot meal!