This is my personal story of the 3 days my family spent without electricity, what we had to do to get by, and what I learned about health, life, and our ability to adjust or risk getting left behind.
Plus 6 essential questions you need to ask yourself before an emergency.
It all started with a wind storm
Before I start I want to apologize if I jump around a bit. I'm still processes some of it, as parts of this story are still happening. Dun dun duuuuuuun.
My story actually starts the day before our power went out. The Sunday before Labor day we had huge wind storms. I mean some places were clocking 30 mph winds. The winds were howling and the sky was dark. I have friends in other affected states that expected worse.
Anyways, on that Sunday after we took some precautions against the wind storm it turned out to be a pretty normal day. A Fall vibes. Stay indoors and hang out type of day.
All is normal as we go to bed.
Now it's Labor day morning. Right before 9 am my son is watching cartoons and the dryer just started. Next thing we know, everything shuts off. It's complete electrical silence as we try to figure out if it was something in our home that shorted our power or something more. There was nothing we could source.
Do you have friends you can trust?
So, we radioed our neighbors...
Now in our humble country home, we have no cellular connection. We run strictly off of WIFI. And you know what. For the most part I absolutely love it.
Back to the story. We radioed our neighbors to see if they had power. No one responded and we got worried. We took our truck and drove to check on them.
One of our neighbors used her house phone to call the power company and get an update. Now I know what you may be thinking, "wait I thought you said you didn't have power" Well this may not be so common news nowadays, but the home phone line can stay active when the power goes out.
11:45a was set to be our turn on time. After we made sure everyone was alright and got the information we drove back home to bide our time.
Usual the power company is good with their estimations... we've had outages before.
“I want to apologize if I jump around a bit. I'm still processes some of it, as parts of this story are still happening. Dun dun duuuuuuun.”
Are you able to cook without power?
Once I got home everyone was hungry, but we have no electricity and thus no stove. Thankfully we have a good size BBQ grill complete with one range top. So I proceeded to make breakfast. With conserving energy in mind I had to pull breakfast together without opening the fridge. My first major adjustments.
11:45 comes and nothing. Okay, that's understandable.
Then 12:45, 1:45 and now its 4:45p and you could see the sun redden as the early evening began. At this point we're thinking about dinner, about showering, and about prepping for a night in the dark.
“With conserving energy in mind I had to pull breakfast together without opening the fridge. My first major adjustments”
Where will you get water from?
We decided to set up our generators and grab out the emergency kit of candles, matches, and flashlights. Now here comes my next major adjustment. Learning how to prioritize household essentials.
Water. Water is the basis of all life. That became priority number one.
I learned how to connect a generator to our well system so we could pump water. We ended up being one of the only homes that ran on electricity that had running water. I'll tell you that made me feel like we were living in luxury.
Now, we're not one of those families on that show Doomsday Preppers. OMG we used to love that show. I swear there was a culture behind that show at one point. DO they even still make that?
Let me know cause I haven't had cable for 6 plus years now.
o in this show they have families who are fitted to the tee with hidden homes and 50 years of supplies. Like crazy stuff. Everything and anything to survive. I swear one family had like actual cannons or something in the country home. But you know what, with how things are right now. Those preppers were right. That's such a crazy thought.
So, we aren't like Doomsday Preppers ready, but hey we have what we need for emergencies. And that's what matters.
At this point I honesty can't remember what we made that first night, but we did it all on the BBQ grill. I know we ate a good dinner because I remember being satisfied.
“Water. Water is the basis of all life. That became priority number one.”
Do you know how to make your own power?
And hey, speaking of cooking, did you know how much amps a microwave uses? Oh my fresh gosh. Let's just say a generator that could run an entire water system was not even enough. I was truly throes for a loop on that one.
After dinner we unhooked the water and decided to watch a movie. We were able to set up our tv and VHS player to our generator to watch a family movie. And yes, before we move on our family has a VHS player. What can I say there are a lot of older movies that we like to watch. And if I can buy them for a quarter on VHS why would I pay $20 for it on DVD.
haha. There's a secret money hack for you.
Anyways. We were hoping the power would be back by the time we woke up in the morning, so after the movie, we shut of our generator completely to quite the night and rest.
It felt like a night of GLAMPing. You know glamorous camping. Our fancy home is the RV and our off-the-gridness is our camping experience. This is me trying to make the best out of the situation.
The next morning, the power was still out. The food in our deep freezer and refrigerator couldn't go the waste so we brought out a second generator. Now comes my next life lesson. Learning the basics of running power.
“Now comes my next life lesson. Learning the basics of running power.”
Generators are you best friend
Now before I go on I want to preface that in no way am I qualified to tell you how to run wires. I'm not an electrician at all, but thankfully my father in law is. And not just any electrician, he's a master electrician and contractor.
When you get to the point of keeping your house afloat you learn what you need to... and I did. I learned the basics of converting wattages to amps.. Okay let me correct myself. I got a hands-on refresher course to the basics of conversion.
Growing up my parents owned a car audio shop and my father used to give my sisters and I diagrams and surprise mini-tests on running electrical wires in cars. We even built sound boxes and all. OMG I tend to surprise even myself when I think about that...my one sister Kanoe likes to show off her sound wiring skills from time to time. But she's good what can I say.
My father-in law, Charlie walked me through the set up of a second generator, how to prime, run, and calculate the amount of power it can hold compared to the item you're hoping to run. We were able to hook up both our freezer and fridge and save our food.
Finally I was able to open the fridge and cook a full breakfast. Eggs, spam, and rice. A Hawaii classic. All on my one range top.
The power was set to go on around 3pm on that second day. Needless to say.. it didn't. Actually we went from getting an estimated time to nothing. "Being evaluated" to loosely quote what was said.
You know you can't relay on technology...right?
We already used 15 gallons of gas just to run the essentials. So we decided a trip into town was necessary. Charlie decided to go to the gas station to get some extra fuel for the generators. He said the line was so long it went down the highway. To boot, credit card machines and cable internet systems stopped working completely. Good thing we have cash in hand. Others that only relied on their cards had an even harder time.
The downside of technology is it doesn't always work.
The grocery stores were lined with people buying all things emergency related. From lights to food and water. We just wanted beer.
While all this is going on in town, it was also my son's first day of school. Distant learning that is. We decided to see if our internet would work. No guarantee because some provides didn't, but we had nothing to lose. We had to keep in mind our generator load, so we unplugged our fridge and plugged in the internet router. The lights started blinking slowly and viola we were connected to the outside world again. My son could "go to school".
That was one thing off of my plate. Right after his meeting we allowed for 30 minutes to try and do whatever homework possible, but we had to shut off from the world once again to take care of our house.
Because of something called molecular breakdown we could not run the generators all day. I mean that and we needed to save our gas for times when we really needed it. You can't just consume mindlessly, you have to save.
“You can't just consume mindlessly, you have to save.”
Do you know how to time your needs?
Everything had to be timed and scheduled. You could only go into the fridge when they were on to conserve coolness for when they were off.
Dinners were by 5:30ish PM so we could cook outside in the light of day and eat in that same light as well.
Showers were short and we had to heat water up in a large pot outside and use a small sauce pan to rinse. Only the first night and part of the second we had warm water. And could shower as we did normally, thanks to our generator and whatever was sitting in the reservoir tank. But hey at least we had water to take showers "off the grid" for 3 nights.
When it turned completely dark we had oils lamps and candles. Always have extra flash light batteries okay?
Have you ever seen a scary movie based in the 1800's where oil lamps were the only way they could see at night? Like seriously the only thing visible was a 6" radius of light? And then the monster pops out of nowhere to get you? Yeah that was our night time. Well minus the monster of course.
But hey, I loved the nostalgia of using an oil lamp. I'm just happy it's not an everyday thing for us.
It was basically the same routine for all 3 days. We spent a lot of family time together playing board games. My son, Darnell did his best with taking part in school and we hoped for a new estimated time to appear to give us something to look forward to.
On the afternoon of day 3 we got a new estimated time. 10p. We took it and hoped for the best.
Let there be light! Power at last
As we were towards the end of eating dinner a humming noise started to make itself known. For at least 5 minutes that noise was going. It actually worried us. I looked towards a bedroom off our dinner room, where the noise was coming from and bam. I jumped up from my chair and yelled, "The power is back." This was so important that I still remember the time it came on. 6:03 pm.
Darnell, my son, said I scared the bergebers out of him and for the rest of the night proceeded to talk about how his heart was pumping out of his chest because i scared him. I was that excited, but I still apologized for scary him.
We cleaned up dinner and proceeded to shut down our generators and plug everything back into it's usual source of power.
OMG turning on a light switch has never been so satisfying. We tucked everything away on the treehouse outside to keep it close just in case. A few days later Charlie flushed and cleaned the generators and they are stored away in their usual spots.
Thank God, we still have power.
We all had a lot of catching up to do in our homes and businesses. For the past 3 days we could only maintain the most basic of needs after all. I'm still trying to catch up, but I just had to get this story out to you. There was just so many good lessons to take out from this experience that we can all benefit from.
While our household and the homes of the other 36,000 people without power were trying their best to make it through we also had to contend with fires. Some wild and some not...
“I was that excited, but I still apologized for scary him.”
Did I forget to mention the fires raging all around us?
Yes, you heard that right. Throughout all of this we had and still have fires going. Right now the outside of my home is so smokey I can't even see the mountain in our own backyard and it constantly smells like someone is running the world's largest smoker. and I'm in the voice "The mist."
That's thanks to the 20,000 acres fire we have going 1 hour away.
I'm so grateful for the efforts of all the first responders, especially the firefighters, who have been going non-stop to keep persons and properties safe. My grandpa was a retired fire captain, so I know how hard that job is. True heroes. If you haven't heard of the firefighters prayer before I suggest you look it up. Their creed speaks volumes about their willingness to sacrifice and their bravery.
Although our internet is still spotty, everyday we check the fire updates and make sure our friends closer to the affected areas are ok. I was sadden this past weekend when I heard an entire town burned down.
What did I learn from all of this?
The essential needs we overlook
First and foremost I learned about how precious our basic commodities are. Sometimes we have so much to complain about in the world that we don't see the blessings all around us. The fact that we can flip a switch and artificial light gives us the ability to see.
The fact that we can turn a facet and water comes out. We don't have to manually pump it or find a fresh water creek and walk buckets of water back home everyday.
The fact that we can connect with the world at a push of a button from a device as small as a phone.
I learned that it's an absolute must to have emergency supplies. Not to horde everything last minute, but to keep a constant stash year round.
Do you have a safe shed to store backup gas and propane for your BBQ. Maybe cole if that's what you need. Do you have batteries, candles, a first aid kit? What about a small generator to make like without power a little more bearable?
Who are you and what do you love to do? Without the use of power, you'll need to fill your time with some creative and fun habits. Or even a great book.
We really went back to the basics of health and life. Water is life. Non-Perishable foods are incredible. I will never again take a nice hot shower for granted - ever.
Adjust or lose
I learned that you have to be willing to adjust to any situation or risk making that situation harder then it already might be.
There were people who were not prepared in any sense of the way and they lost so much food and had to scramble for supplies. We may like to think that the stores will have every thing we need and want at the exact moment we need or want it, but the reality is they don't.
We have to take it upon ourselves to work towards personal health. In an emergency situation being able to move and make adjustments quickly is a must. In some situations it could even be the difference between life and death.
This episode isn't meant to scare, but to help you understand another angle to getting healthy. One that, in my opinion is way more important than physical looks. I hope my story did just that.
Way more important than looks, here's a story to help you understand another reason to get healthy. Plus 6 essential questions you need to ask yourself before an emergency.
- This program has been created for real people who want to eat real food that tastes great and melts fat fast.