Our area was one of those hit by the "derecho" on Friday night. It was completely unexpected. We had gone to bed but were not asleep yet when the noise of the wind just freaked me out. I got the kids and the bird and we went down one floor -- just in case. Hubs was braver and stayed put. Our power went out very quickly (as it does in every storm). And we were powerless until about 4:20pm on Sunday.
Well, not exactly powerless. Our church showed this sign on Sunday morning:
We worshiped "African Style" -- where there's no electricity, no running water (our church is on a well which requires electricity), and everyone sweats a lot. The pastor reassured us that it would NOT be an African service in one aspect -- we wouldn't go 4 or 5 hours. My husband went on a mission trip to Kenya years ago and the entire team was struck by a) how far the Kenyans walked to come to a service, b) how nicely they dressed in that murderous heat, and c) how long they stayed to fellowship together.
I confess that by Sunday afternoon I had lost my sense of humor about it and was just tired of being hot and inconvenienced. What a first world problem though! When we found a place that had wi-fi (the Starbucks and Paneras were P.A.C.K.E.D. and the library was closed due to lack of power) and a place to plug in (Thanks, Noodles Plus), we recharged our phones and computers and then ... checked the power company map to see who had power because we sure didn't. What was that about? Did it make any difference to speculate that the power company liked our neighbors down the road more than us? Then we looked at the weather. Du-uh. It was already 97 degrees -- did we not FEEL that by stepping outside? When I found myself moving to Facebook I realized I really did NOT need the computer. I did recharge my phone so I could download Kindle books, and then recharged my Kindle so I could read.
Then we went home to wait to see if the 48 hour (throw everything in the fridge/freezer away) point arrived before relief. Glad to say we snuck in under 48 hours. Still, everything in the fridge that had any kind of protein in it went out, and a couple of things in the freezer, but mostly, everything stayed cold/frozen.
What did we learn? Something that applies to all of us -- be prepared. Have several jugs of fresh water stored. Stock up on batteries. If anyone in your home needs a particular piece of medical equipment, get a small generator. And keep your freezer full. A full one is good for 48 hours -- less than full only gives you 24. Weather patterns are changing and events are more dramatic -- we were lucky this weekend because we could still get out and about to recharge. Two winters ago when we couldn't, the lack of power became a bigger issue.
Finally, I posted this on Facebook, but it bears repeating. Two hundred and forty-five years ago, Philadelphia experienced one of the most severe scorchers in memory. Anyone who could, got out of town. Yet, without air conditioning, without indoor running water, and wearing many layers of 18th century clothes, 60 brave men negotiated, argued, threatened and cajoled, until 56 were willing to place their signatures on a document that changed history. If they could persevere in the face of the heat and real danger, I can go without Facebook and other conveniences. Happy 4th!