Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to Survive a Blackout & Come Out Smiling

Photograph: Nicole Zahour
For a lot of us on the East Coast, the worst of Irene is over.  The waiting and wondering what will happen, the gusts of air and worrying about flooding, the wondering about work and loved ones and personal property.  For a lot of us, however, there are still a lot of pieces to pick up...including the millions of people who are still without electricity.

My sister and her husband, are two of those people.

Photographs: Nicole Zahour
My sister and I both try to be as industrious as possible.  In fact, when my sister headed back to Westchester from her cabin in Maryland, and found that the stores were out of water and bread and batteries, she texted me and said.  "Well, we can drink the water here, and thankfully we know how to make bread from scratch, I am going to google how to make a D battery."  She was not kidding.  Well maybe she was, but I bet if she found out that there was a way to make a D battery, she would try it!

Not only did they prepare well for the blackout, but they are fairing well even as they still do not have power.  Here is what they did:

In preparation for the blackout they made sure to:

-fill up their bathtub with water for use for flushing the toilet during the blackout

-freeze a jug of liquid (there was no water at the store so they bought lemonade)...this jug will be put in the cooler to keep frequently used items cold.

-take items used often and put them in a separate cooler (this is to avoid opening and closing the refrigerator and therefore losing the cool air trapped inside).  Their cooler was filled with things like almond milk/soy creamer for coffee, seltzer, and other items used often.

-make bread

-make ratatouille and soup from foraged mushrooms

-fill a huge stockpot, a pitcher and various other pots with water for drinking

-brew a lot of coffee, days and days worth of coffee

-gather lanterns, flashlights and candles (although their co-op discouraged the use of candles, they made sure to have them handy in case)

-bring out board games

-move their car into the garage away from possible falling trees

-charge all phones and have a backup car charger for phone when inevitably the battery will die

Now those are some ways to prepare yourself.  
Here is how to come out smiling:

Take any opportunity you can to be nosey.  This is the time that you can bond with neighbors!  You hear a generator down the road: go check it out! In their case, it was locked up to a telephone pole, and a mystery as to who owned it.  

You see lights up the block: check it out!  Maybe it is just the workers coming to clear out a flooded area, but isn't it more fun to explore than to just sit in your house?

Wear a funny light hat.  What's more fun than having hands free lights in the house.  It will make you feel like you are spelunking in your own residence!

Break out the board games!  Time to invite people over for a board game by candlelight blackout party.  Let me remind you, red wine does not need to be refrigerated! 

Pet test.  On day three of the blackout, even if you had yogurt in a special cooler with the frozen jug by it, even if you open it and it smells fine: if your kitty cat takes one look at it and walks the other way: DO NOT EAT THE YOGURT.

Urban Homesteading.  Why not take this time to make some dill and sweet gherkin pickles?  I mean really, why not?!
Photograph: Nicole Zahour

Eat dinner in pitch black.  My sister and her husband Jan decided to do just that last night.  "We ate dinner in the pitch black to see what it would be like to be blind. (like that blind restaurant in Prague) {Pod křídlem noci} it was interesting!"

I kid you not, this is the text my sister sent me last night.  This is truly taking lemons and making lemonade! In case you didn't realize it already, my sister and Jan: rule. 

When all else fails and your food finally goes bad, and it's been days and days without lights in your house....eat the apple butter you spent hours and hours making the weekend before!

Happy blackouts!


1 comment:

  1. install Solar Energy When the Power Grid goes down
    you will still have power.