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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Everyday Preps

I was sitting down to eat dinner tonight and the power goes out. This wasn't completely unexpected, since the temperature has been well over 90° F for days and the humidity doesn't drop below 50%. We had a storm roll through early Monday morning that took out the power for about six hours, but tonight's outage was likely caused by too many air conditioners running for too long. How does this prepper react?
  1. I reach into my pocket and get out my  EDC flashlight. It provides more than enough light to keep from tripping over things.
  2. I grab the battery-operated lantern from the stairway and get some area lighting. Since it has a wide base, I can set it down and have both hands free to go to the next step.
  3. I light two oil lamps to provide light on the main floor and upstairs. One has a reflector built in, the other is placed on the hutch near a large mirror. There's no use wasting the light output on a wall, so I use reflectors to get it out into the room. I turn off the battery-operated lantern to save the batteries; Lamp oil is a lot cheaper than D-cell batteries. There's still time to finish eating dinner before it gets cold. 
  4. It's been 20 minutes and the power is still out. This indicates that it will likely be out for several hours. Minor outages around here are resolved through automated resets, but this is lasting longer than normal for a minor outage. I open the windows upstairs to get airflow through the house; I hate to let the humidity in, but there is a breeze and the house is warming up anyway. I also open a couple on the main floor to get the hot air to rise and exit through the upstairs windows.
  5. Our power company has a smart phone app, so I check for updates on the outage. Of course they're not updating the information in anything close to real-time. I pull up the webpage and see that the whole town is out, as is the next town north of here; looks like a transformer blew. My phone battery is getting low from a full day's use, so I get the USB battery supply out of the computer bag and charge the cell phone. I may have to take it our to the pickup to get a full charge.
  6. I check on the neighbors that I care about. Everybody is doing OK; a few have left for anywhere that has lights (many people can't handle being in the dark, yet make no preparations for it). I let a few neighbors know that I have extra candles and such if they need them, but those are folks I have known  for many years. The newer neighbors are the ones I don't trust for a variety of reasons -- they can sit in the dark.
  7. I have a blog post due tomorrow, and since there are fewer distractions with the power out,  I get started writing. My laptop battery is good for at least 4 hours, so I shouldn't have any problem getting this post together. If I have to, I can save it to a thumb drive and switch to the other laptop, which also has a 4 hour battery. I always write in a word processor program and upload the finished post to the blog, so the loss of the Internet isn't going to slow me down. I use the same word processor (Open Office) on both machines, so there will be no issue of compatibility. If the power is not back on by the time I'm done, I'll use my phone as an Internet hotspot to upload the article.  This sucks up my limited data plan, but it works. I would normally have hyperlinks to a few things, but don't want to kill my data plan. I may update this post when the power comes back.
  8. I leave the fridge and freezer alone. As long as the doors stay closed, they will stay cold for at least 24 hours. I'm sweating just sitting here and a cool drink will help with that. I have instant tea and a couple of different sugary drink mixes in the kitchen and down in the pantry, so I make myself a tea. There's no ice for it, but the water from the tap is cool enough. I check the weather app -- it's still 84°F outside, at a quarter to eleven at night.
  9. If the power stays out overnight, it will be a challenge to sleep. It's hard to sleep when you're sweating profusely, so I clear a few things off the couch in the basement in case I need to sleep down there tonight. It's cooler and quieter, but darker with not much natural light; I have a habit of oversleeping in the basement because it's hard for me to wake up without daylight.There's enough of a breeze that I should be able to sleep upstairs tonight, but I have options.
  10. I dig out the wind-up alarm clock, wind it up, and set it to the correct time. My normal alarm clock will come back when the power does, but it will need to be reset. My phone has an alarm app for a backup. I'll make it to work tomorrow, but if the power is out there I'll probably end up coming back home.
All of this is normal life to me. There's no use getting upset about losing power for a while, as that won't make it come back on any sooner. I had things in place to replace the essentials. Dinner could have been eaten cold if the power had gone out earlier, or I could have gotten into the camping gear and got out the pack stove. Candles are still an option for lighting, but I don't mind the odor of oil lamps so I use them when I need to.

P.S.: No, I will not make it easy for our editrix by adding a Step 10. No “10 Step Program” jokes will be made that easily. (Editrix's note: You gave me a second paragraph in Step 9. Nice try, but you need to be craftier than that.)

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