Monday, August 06, 2012

One Hour

12:00 PM - Our power goes out. 

I might have never known except I have a baby monitor that began broadcasting static and an alarm system that began beeping its warnings while on battery backup.  Both noises rouse me from a deep sleep, rushing to turn the devices off before the rest of the family wakes.  Very quickly I realize the light switches are not producing the expected illumination that one might desire, so I grab my flash um...cell phone and head to the breaker box.  None of the circuits were tripped, so I then take a peek outside and sure enough my neighbors are all without power as well.

Probably adding to the hundreds of other calls, I make sure to use the automated system to report my outage to the utility company and then attempt to go back to sleep knowing that I cannot do anything else to help solve the problem. 

Easier said than done. 

As I lay there I become acutely aware of the extreme silence of an unplugged home.  I begin feeling extremely warm although the temperature of the house probably had not climbed by much at this point.  Just the idea of no air conditioning and no fans circulating the air in my room became a mind game of borderline panic. 

  • How can I sleep in these conditions? 
  • What if the grid is down and stays down for days or weeks?  It went down in India last week and left 620,000,000 without power for at least two days. 
  • How long can the food in the fridge and freezer stay good if we don't open the doors and break the seal? 
  • How much does a gas powered generator cost? 
  • How soon could I convert the house to solar panel components and stop relying on the grid? 
  • Should I get the kids and put them in the minivan with the AC running to keep them comfortable? 
  • As much as I love Texas, I can't live here if AC becomes a luxury of times past.

These thoughts and others like it plagued me for every painful second of every painful minute of the entire hour of my torturous wait.  I even got on Facebook to check the status updates of friends to see how far and wide a problem this might be.  The only response I got was from a friend that lives a stones throw away and he assured me that utility crews had been dispatched after he'd read some updates on Twitter.

1:00AM - Power comes back on.  HUGE sigh of relief followed by immediate slumber.

I am both horrified and entertained by this experience.  I must laugh at how pathetic I've become in NEEDING my creature comforts that just ONE hour was a challenge for me.  But at the same time I am concerned over how dependant on them we actually are and how ill prepared my family is for  potential long term grid failures.  Your thoughts?


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