Friday, February 16, 2007

Turn up the heat!

We had a bit of a freeze here.

On Tuesday we lost our power around noon while I was cooking lunch. We kept waiting for it to come back on, anticipating that it wouldn't be out for long. But it didn't.

All day long we watched the freezing rain come down. We huddled in front of the gas fireplace, boiled kettles of water for tea and spaghetti, and bit by bit started putting on extra sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves... and still the power didn't come back on.

We urged the kids to run around in circles to keep warm. We snuggled and read by firelight and candlelight, until our eyes hurt and we finally gave up. It was dark. It was cold. And the kids, fully dressed, climbed into sleeping bags and went to sleep. Early. Very, very early.

And so did we.

The cold woke us up earlier than usual. We couldn't boil water fast enough for tea. Outside, the world outside had turned into a blanket of ice. Inside the house, we could see our breath. We were all shivering and teeth chattering and heaped up together to stay warm. Or trying to stay warm. With coats on and everything, it was still ridiculously unbearable. Einstein and I weighed the thickness of the chill against the obviously treacherous icy roads, and it wasn't a hard choice. As we were herding the kids toward the open door it happened. In our moment of desperation the power came back on.

Our rejoicing was great, to say the least. It's amazing how much we take for granted. Light at the end of a switch. Heat at the push of a button. Dry roads most of the year. I find I don't think about those things until they're not there. It inspired a lot of talk about the olden days, and how even our gas fireplace was a gift of modern technology.

Twenty-two hours without electricity isn't much when you really think about all those who have gone before. We've been reading through the Little House series: Martha, Charlotte... Laura-- none of them had electricity. And yet they managed extremely well.

That cold day gave us a lot to think about, and despite our uncomfortableness, it was a really fun time. We tend to not spend that much time pressed up against one another, snuggled into each other's warmth, encroaching on each other's space. It was so nice and calm that just for a moment we pondered turning the electricity off every night. That was until we noticed the mess left behind from the freezer defrosting...


  1. Hi Sara,

    This brought back memories of last winter, when our furnace died on a Friday (of course) and we were without heat for five days. It was fun for a while, hanging out in front of the fireplace etc., but I cannot say that I have too many fond memories of peeling off the layers to go to the bathroom...

    Electricity and heat... precious gifts. We too spent days marveling at surviving blizzard conditions for weeks on end in a one-room log cabin... brrrr!

  2. We had a similar experience. When the lights did come on, we danced and sang an impromptu chorus praising electricity.

  3. Five days!?! Wow.


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