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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hakuna Umeme

Heading home from work Thursday night, the weather gave some clear indications that our part of Texas was in for bad weather.

We prepped as best we could - the car gas tanks were full, we had plenty of food in the house and we turned on all of our water taps to prevent our pipes from freezing. (We have definitely learned from bad experience - always the best teacher. See here, here and here.)

However, you can't ever really prepared for having your electricity go out. That's to be expected when you have a thundersleet, depositing 2.5 inches of ice. But there are some things you can do when your electricity goes out.
  1. You can freak out and panic.
  2. You can look at it as adventure.
The Hayleys, well-seasoned world travelers/residents opted for #2. Though I should confess that when I woke up at 3:30 am Saturday, I first thought my sweet husband had covered the alarm clock displays to help us sleep better.

If only.

We were at DEFCON Level 1 for the first few hours (3:30-5 am): Night clothes, an extra layer of blankets and snuggling kitties.

Then a tree branch right outside our bedroom window at 5 am - nothing quite like that for getting you out of bed in a hurry! We both headed outside to check on any potential roof damage (none, thankfully). We do have another limb hanging on by a thread that will need to be removed as soon as we can get our tree service out.

Side note: We highly recommend trimming your trees once a year. I think we would have had significant damage if we hadn't. Our neighbors who skipped trimming this year had major tree breaks.

Back inside we entered DEFCON Level 2 (5 - 10 am). It was chillier in the house, so we added another layer of clothes.We also pulled out our camping gear so we could attend to another critical need - hot coffee and hot food.

Coffee - boil water, pour through the coffee maker and you're good to go!
The cooking set-up

Scrambled eggs and toasted English muffins
After breakfast, we showered (thanking the Lord for a gas-powered water heater) and entered DEFCON Level 3 (10 am - 2 pm). For me, that meant three shirts (including a sweatshirt), two pairs of socks, thermal underwear, thick lounge pants, two heavy blankets and a kitty.

Several hours of this level of cold (somewhere around 50-55F in the house) will get you feeling stir crazy. It took nearly an hour of warming the car to melt the ice layer enough to allow us to scrape/chisel it clear.

The Boy's theory was that going to a movie would take our minds off the cold house and, hopefully, buy enough time for the power to come back on.

Side note: Catching Fire is a really good flick. You should take time to watch it.

The theory was sound, but unfortunately didn't work. By the time we slid back home, we still didn't have power and decided to take a friend up on his offer to stay the night at his house.

Side note: We have a great group of friends and family in the area. So many offers of places to stay!

Fortunately for us, by the time we got home at noon the next day, our power was back on. There's nothing like walking into a semi-warm house to simultaneously cheer the spirits and exhaust you. It's like we were on a somewhat-arduous camping trip, except we were in our own home the entire time.

And that is how you survive 26+ hours without electricity.

[ Late update: Here's a fun write-up in the Dallas Morning News about our experience. ]

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