Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: Powerless

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I woke early Monday morning to the sound of a plane taking off above my roof. I jumped out of bed frantically calling for Eric to go check the weather. I grabbed my contacts and poked them in my eyes so I could see what was going on outside. Within 2 minutes of getting the weather on we heard a loud blast and our world went dark. We went to the window to see trees touching the ground and rain flooding the streets.

As the storm died down, so did our anxieties and we both drifted back to sleep in hopes of waking to sunshine and electricity. As the rays of sun glistened through the blinds of our bedroom we woke with a strange feeling. We didn't hear Cailyn crying over the monitor letting us know she was awake and ready for breakfast. I rubbed my eyes and looked over at the clock expecting to see the blur of redness but rather saw only blackness. Cailyn let out a yelp and we both got out of bed realizing we may have a long day ahead.

We all went into the kitchen and felt a bit powerless. We were unable to toast our waffles or bread. We all settled with a bowl of cereal and milk. After breakfast we played with Cailyn in the living room for a while and realized how bored we all were. We took a drive around town to assess the situation. The entire town was dark. The stop lights were colorless, the gas stations were deserted, and the stores and resteraunts were vacant. Residents were making use of their time by getting out and picking up the pieces of their yard that were thrown about in the wind.

By lunch time Eric decided to head to HyVee to see if their kitchens were open. He came home with an empty stomach and empty hands. Just as he was walking up the stairs the power flashed back on! We cheered, we jumped, we quickly made food! We shoved a frozen pizza in the oven and got Cailyn fed. As we anticipated our hot pizza, we noticed some smoke outside. While looking out the window we spotted a power line on our neighbors tree, sparking like the fireworks on the 4th of July. Our cell phones only worked for 911 calls, so we called 911 to report our observations. Within minutes, our luck of power ran out, and as the tree began to go up in flames, the wire snapped and so did our electricity. There we were, back where we started the morning. We again felt powerless with our half baked pizza, no access to local news, and a 1 year old who was crying continuously because she didn't have her music to go to sleep to.

Eric took charge and lit up the grill. He grilled that frozen pizza until the cheese was bubbly and the crust was blackened. We ate it up, feeling happy that we at least had a hot meal. The rest of the afternoon is a blur. We napped, read books, and played puzzles. We attempted to turn on lights countless times and Cailyn tried to turn on the TV over and over again saying "uh oh" each time. I was beginning to feel uncomfortably pregnant and hot in our unairconditioned home.

Finally, the power clicked back on. We enjoyed the rest of the evening with electricity and air conditioning!

Today was a typical day. Cailyn woke us up at 5:30 crying over the monitor. The clock was a blur of red numbers when I opened my eyes. We had toast for breakfast. We watched some cartoons with Cailyn. I USED THE INTERNET! :) Eric mowed the lawn. Cailyn took a nap with her music playing. The norm of our lives had returned.

Until 5:3oPm. Prime time dinner time. In the middle of browning some hamburger for some mouth watering tacos, the lights flickered and instantly died out. A powerless feeling crept over us again as we looked at our half cooked meat and our chopped veggies. Eric looked at me and smiled. He walked out to the deck and lit up the grill. We figured, if Taco Johns can make grilled tacos, why can't we? Eric browned the hamburger on the grill and toasted up the shells. We got some flashlights out and ate our grilled tacos.

Our power was restored about 1.5 hours after it was taken from us. We have had it since. I have enjoyed catching up on emails, checking my myspace account and searching the world through the internet. I have watched a movie and listened to music.

Every time over the past 2 days that I felt powerless due to our power outage, I wondered how they did it "back in the day". Our lives revolve around electricity. We had to rethink almost everything we did from opening the garage door to throwing away food. We felt as though we were lost in a jungle when we didn't have the internet. We had no outside access to the world. We were in the dark even though the sun was shining through our windows. It is amazing to me that people use to survive with no power, no vehicles, no stoves or ovens! How is it that our lives have changed so drastically? That when we are out of power for a few hours don't know how to survive? It baffles me and makes me wonder what the future has in store for us. Will all towns be backed up by generators so power outages are rare? Will all power lines be under ground? I don't know how all of this stuff works, but as society and technology advances, power outages will continue to be disasterous, whether they should be or not.

Maybe we all need to take a class every 6 months--survival of the fittest-how to survive with no electricity and still feel powerful.


Allie said...

I agree with the classes!!

Eric said...

You sure have some bad luck with the power. Yes, one really does wonder how they did it back in the day. I know that when I didn't have TV or internet for 3 days after moving, I was going bonkers because I wasn't being kept up to speed on things.

I doubt we'll have towns that are all backed up with generators but maybe more people will have their own personal generators.

Oh yeah, and in case you hadn't heard about it, they're trying to work on wireless electricity - WiTricity. Just look it up if you don't believe me.

L~N said...

wireless electricity.....i love it!! The world will be wireless some day!