46 hours

Post date: Jun 1, 2011 2:11:21 PM

46 hours.

That’s how long we were without power last week. When you live in the country, with a well for your water supply, things can get tricky when you don’t have power. Very tricky. And also sort of icky.

We spent the first hour of our 46 hours, in the basement of our very good friends the Pearson’s. Tornado sirens had sounded, Jason stayed on the phone with work, and we took the kids, candles, dogs, Mary’s parents, and the Priest – yes the priest - Msgr. Aaron Brodeski – to the basement. See our friends Mary and Jeff are soon to have their 5th child and hours before, we’d attended a surprise baby shower. Her parents had flown in from the east coast for it. And so there we were, in the basement.

Building forts.

Lighting a Saint Michael candle.

Eating egg rolls and low mien.


And then the storm was over and we made our way home. To our dark home. The one without power.

The next morning, I began my week long “vacation” from work. It was the Monday-est Monday ever.

I drove to McDonalds in the neighboring town because our town does not have one. And mommy needed coffee. And so did Daddy. They were running on a generator. One of the employees (she appeared to be younger, high school aged) was crying, because “nothing was working.” But customers were patient and grateful. Another, employee closer in age to me, grabbed my hand as I told her “Thank you for being open,” and gave me the most genuine “You’re welcome,” I have ever received.

Then I went and bought water at the gas station next door.

When you have no power, you have no water in the country.

You also cannot flush.

I’ll get to that. Hold it.

In our house we have a double sump pit system. The first pit contains the sump pump and a battery backup. For those that don’t know, a sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collecting sump pit. When both the main pump and the battery backup fail, a secondary, overflow pit, is present to fill with water, to take some of the pressure off of the foundation where the water is collecting around and under. Our main pump can’t work without power and the battery backup, needs a new part – it would only have worked for 12 hours anyway. So our sump pits filled with water.

And it was from that water that I was able to flush. Natalie would need to go to the bathroom, I would need to walk to the basement and fill a bucket with water. Then you pour the bucket with water in the toilet to force the contents down and into the septic system. It happened a lot over 46 hours.

Thank God that my Grandma Flo taught me this.

Usually I fill the tub with water during a storm for this purpose, but because we weren’t home, it didn’t happen.

So, for 46 hours, I became Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each morning (Monday and Tuesday) we rose with the sun and the birds. I didn’t need an alarm, though Jason had one on his phone, because I woke up before it went off, dang birds. Natalie had school still (it was the last week of school), so I got her on her way, sent Jason off to work, and then I sat down with a book that our friend Jeff (mentioned above) happened to let me borrow - The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud.

I set to work on attempting to strip the finish off of two wooden rocking chairs, stopping to read while the stripper sort-of-worked. I realized that I’d need my mouse sander. And then I was back to wishing I’d had electricity. But pleased at my good fortune for having a book.

My trusty Gretchen, our German Shepherd, was faithfully by my side for the whole 46 hours. She realized that whenever I opened a bottle of water to drink, if she gave me sad eyes I’d share.

After Natalie came home for school each day, we read and played games and played outside. It being the last week of school, each day she came home with arms overflowing with all he treasures from the school year. Because there were no distractions, we had time to go through them all. We had plenty of snacks in the pantry, and I have a gas stove, so I was able to light the stove with a match and make Jiffy Pop. And we, the three of us, spent time together. Time without the TV. Time as a family.

It was a lovely 46 hours.

(And not to worry, it was not a smelly 46 hours. We, Jason and I, were able to shower at the gym. And Natalie had the showers at the school, after swim practice, to use.)

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