Tuesday, December 29, 2009

oh, those little things we take for granted . . . such as - electricity (or "life sucks without it")

I woke up this morning, rolled to my right and looked out the window at a sky as blue as you can ever imagine.
And Elk's Knob - covered with snow.
And trees.
Beautiful bare trees no longer doubled over with ice.

And life is good.

The house was warm without even having to scamper into the living room to throw another log onto the wood stove.

We have our power back and life is good.

I rolled to my left and there on my nightstand was a fresh, steaming cup of coffee.

Real coffee and not a Folger's single in a little tea bag with a string. Now, not that Folger's singles aren't perfectly fine fine fine, but they're just not up to snuff when it comes to the real thing.

Donald Barley is the best man I know. For one thing, (a very big thing) he brings me coffee every morning of my life. The few times I have woken up during our lifetime together and there hasn't been a cup of coffee on my night stand I've had momentary panics wondering what's wrong with my Donald that there's no coffee on my nightstand. Now, don't get the wrong idea - he's great, I agree. BUT - truth of the matter is, if I'm the first one up, then I bring him his coffee and put it on his nightstand. Granted, I might play possum from time to time . . .

He's also the guy you want around when you're iced in.

Our power went off around lunch time on Christmas Day. It came back last night. Approximately 43 hours later. Huh. Seemed like much longer!

When you're 12 miles away from civilization, and those 12 miles are country mountain roads that are covered with ice and you don't have power and you don't know when the power might be coming back you might fret a bit. I'm the fretter. Donald, however, is Mr. Laid Back Practical Guy. He just goes about the business of doing what needs to be done with an eye on what might need to be done. So instead of getting upset, getting panicky, getting mad, I found myself just kinda laid back and following his lead. a good thing.

That's not to say that when the power came back on last night that I didn't let out a whoop and do a little happy dance across the room. Oh no. I wasn't that laid back and carefree about it all. And that's not to say Donald wasn't a happy camper either. Believe me. We were two VERY happy people.

When it flickered back on, Donald was downstairs in his recliner just being his ol' laid back self staring into the fire in the woodstove (which I will never ever take for granted again ever ever ever). I was upstairs in bed reading by flashlight (another item I will never ever take for granted again ever ever ever). (Let's hear it for woodstoves and flashlights!). I heard Donald say "Power!" and I at first thought it was a continuation of the chant we'd been laughingly carrying on for several days. We would look at a lamp, or a ceiling fixture and raise our arms and shout "Power! Let there be power!" all to no avail, surprisingly enough. Since no lights came on in the bedroom when Donald shouted this particular "Power!," it took me going into the living room and seeing the little lights on the Christmas tree twinkling to fully realize that we did, indeed, have power. Hooray, Boy Howdy, and Yippee Skippy!!

While we did a few shouts of joyful noise, Harley did his own little barks of joy. We hopped around, Harley hopped around. Bless his Corgi heart, he's so low to the ground he's managed to be tripped over and accidentally kicked several times during the days of no light. He's taken it all in the same laid back manner as his dad.

And the next thing I did, after calling my Mom to let her know we now had power (she's not exactly the laid back type), was let the water we had in the bathtub for "the necessities" run out, scoured the tub, filled it again with hot water and a HUGE dollop of Bath & Body Warm Vanilla Sugar bubble bath.

Life is SO good.

I never had a well before we moved to these mountains. It took me completely by surprise to learn that when the power goes out and you're on a well, that means NO WATER. No water. That means you better always have some bottled water on hand. It also means you better pay enough attention to the weather forecasts to run water into your bathtub for flushing the toidies if you lose your power. You do not, for Heaven's Sake, want to use your good bottled water for flushing toidies! And you learn to keep some water in pans on the woodstove (God bless a woodstove) for those little bird baths you're gonna be taking while you're without power. Oh, those little things we take for granted.

So - today our driveway is still covered with a pretty thick sheet of ice.


The road crew has gotten here, and although our road is still pretty much a mess, they've done the best they can do. Our road gets unexpectedly steep just above our house and the elevation does a very quick upswing. So above us, the road is in much worse shape than it is below us. It's in good enough shape that we can, by driving ever so carefully, at least get out. Donald made an emergency run into town the day before yesterday for more bottled water and batteries and was able to get to the container site to dump all the food that we had to clear out of our refrigerator and freezer (talk about a sad thing - this was a very sad thing). The main roads, he says, were in pretty good shape. The scary thing was the number of trees, power lines and power poles that he saw down.

When he came home he came bearing gifts.


Hot strong coffee from our favorite coffee shop.

Oh, those little things we take for granted . . . .

And now that we have power (insert whoops of joy and happy dances), and Donald has taken him a real shower (no bubbles for this guy), he's heading back into town. You see - there's ice in our forecast for the end of the week. So, we may need to be prepared yet again; more bottle water, etc. In the meantime, the skies are blue and we have power. And a hankering for a pizza. a real pizza. extra cheese . . . . from that pizza place in town - 12 miles away . . .

The man is my hero.

Help me please, remember, not to take him for granted. And kick me in the butt if I do. O.k.?

on a very serious note. This has been an inconvenience for us. But all in all - that's all its been. An inconvenience. Because we have two woodstoves, we've never been cold. There are still a number of people in our area who are without power, and who may be without power for awhile. And who do not have a source of heat. We're a very rural area around the little town of Boone, and in some places it's quite the wilderness. We have a lot of people living here in areas that are impossible for the electric company workers to get to just yet. There are still icy road conditions and there are trees down across these roads that must be removed so the crews can get to the areas in need. Send warm thoughts and prayers, please.


Vicki Lane said...

I know whereof you speak -- we lost power for five days, just before Christmas. Yep, we're on a well too.

But isn't it wonderful when the house begins to hum once again?

Richard Robinson said...

Sounds to me like you need a small to medium sized gas-powered generator for just such situations. That would have kept the food safe and the well pumping, I'd think. One of those things that's out of mind until it's needed and then it's oh so very nice indeed to have.

le0pard13 said...

Glad to hear that you're back among the connected. Sounds like you two are a great match. Hopefully whatever freeze is coming your way is short, and powered. Happy New Year, Kaye.

Msmstry said...

Bet you had a big pot of something yummy on that wood stove, too!

The last time we were without power for more than a few minutes was when a terrific ice/snow storm hit the Triangle. I was lucky. We had a patio full of wood, a huge fireplace, and leftovers from a staff party the night before. I put a trivet in the fireplace, filled an iron pot with coq au vin, rice, and veggies, and we enjoyed haute cuisine!

My rule of thumb is "if there's enough snow on the ground to disrupt traffic and power, I need to generate energy by reading." Though I can't usually find a flashlight in the dark, I've always got plenty of candles!

I'm glad you're ok!

Jill said...

Kaye, glad you guys survived and all is okay! All I have to say is I love generators! Wish I had a wood stove.

Shane Gericke said...

Wood stoves are SO old-fashioned and immodern ... and thank God for it, right? Modern life is wonderful. I have little use for "the good old days," which really weren't in so many years. But at least people knew how to survive disconnected from The Grid. So many people these days would panic, perhaps even die, if their power went out for three days in the middle of a snowstorm. I'm delighted that you and Donald were smart enough to retain that knowledge and lay in your wood stoves and water.

Thanks for sharing your stories with us, and give The Donald a hearty manly handshake from all of us admirin' guys for making us look so can-do as a gender!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi, Everyone! I forgot to come back here and leave my own comment! Sorry!

Vicki - I have enjoyed reading about your snow adventures, and your lovely Christmas on your farm. Y'all - do check out Vicki's blog along with some beautiful photography -

AND - my friend Jill (who it just so happens lives right up the road) has taken some awesome snow and ice photos - take a look:

(Jill - talk to me about your generator,please!!)

Richard - we're going to be looking into generators - you betcha (see above note to Jill).

Thanks, le0pard13 - Happy New Year to you too!!

Molly - you crack me up, honey. There not many women I know who can generate quite as much energy as you can - and that's standing still!! (did you notice that red hat you made me in the pictures?! I LOVE my red hat!).

Shane - Donald said to tell you it's not a "can do" thing, but a "must do." When ya gotta, well - you just gotta. You and he are both Eagle Scout guys, so you understand all that stuff.