20 April 2015

Don't Flush the Toilet...And Other Lessons Learned During a Power Outage


Yesterday afternoon we had a set of storms roll through our neighborhood and while I’m always up for a good thunderstorm, this one left us with no power from about 4:00 to 8:30.

Translation: No Internet, no TV, low to no water pressure, no ability to cook dinner and one sick kiddo to keep occupied and happy. No biggie, right?

I was fortunate enough to get a cup of coffee out of the Keurig before the electricity bit the dust (all the amen emoji’s) and while I lit up some candles, Michael decided he was going to get lit up too…with a couple of beers. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em right?

It’s during these times of silence and reflection that one contemplates the big questions of life such as, can you flush the toilet when the power goes out? But really, can you? I honestly had no clue and neither did Michael. I mean, who really thinks of these things until you are put in a situation to have to think about them? Luckily, with the help of a few Facebook friends (thank you Verizon LTE network!) I found out the answer to this question is basically no. In the words of Courtney from A +Life, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”

So mellow we did.

For four hours.

You guys, seriously, WTF. I get that people used to live this way because it’s all they knew. That there was a time when all people had were candles to live life by and a bucket pail to do their business in but here’s the thing – I don’t live during those times now. I’ve grown quite fond of A/C, electricity and indoor plumbing. Not to mention that as our usual luck would have it, we had just gone to the grocery store and dropped around $145 for what else? Mostly perishable items. Having said this, I did learn a few things about successfully making it through a power outage that I need to be better prepared for should this happen to us again. Granted, last night only lasted for four hours but who’s to say that it couldn’t have been worse or will be worse next time?

ONE :: For starters, we had ZERO fresh water on hand. This is pretty easy to fix. The Dollar Store sells 12 – 24 packs of bottled water – FOR ONE DOLLAR. I think I’ll also save a few of our milk jugs as they empty, clean them and put water back into them. Having fresh water on hand is really non-negotiable in situations like this.

TWO :: Our phones were not fully charged when the power went out. I’m really bad about this. Once I take my phone off the charger in the morning, it usually doesn’t get charged again during the day. We had to charge them with our car chargers so both cars were running in the garage, wasting gas while our phones juiced up. Lesson learned? Keep our phones charged. Again, sounds like another #duh but honestly, it freaks me out to think I can’t have contact with the outside world if I need it, especially having a sick kiddo on hand.

THREE :: Buy a flashlight, batteries, radio and other emergency items pronto. Again, we had ZERO of these items on hand. Michael does have a flashlight app on his phone but that drains the battery so we really need to buy some actual flashlights and batteries. Battery powered lanterns are an investment but I’m thinking they may be worth it because with the animals and a young one wandering around, I have to admit the open flames made me a little nervous.

FOUR :: I need to be better about finding non-electronic ways to entertain Chickie. Yes, we use technology from time to time to entertain our child. I’m not ashamed to admit that but the reality is that when the power goes out, so do all the electronic options to keep the kid happy and entertained. Having some ideas on hand would help to relieve this pressure quite a bit and keep Chickie happy, too.


So there’s our Sunday evening in a nutshell. Are you prepared for a power outage? What are some of the ways you are prepared to handle time without power or natural disasters? I would love to hear your ideas!
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

28 comments:

  1. We get a ton of power outages in Michigan for varying amounts of time. With three kids, I actually relish them. If it's yucky weather and we're all home, we sit around and play games. We communicated through spoken words instead of my two girls texting back and forth so their brother can't hear. We laugh a lot. I love power outages.

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  2. Oh man that's the worst! It's definitely important to keep water on hand!

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  3. Nothing like a power outage to help you realize how many areas you aren't prepared in. When we lived in Mesa, our church did this mock disaster drill, where at the end of church you were handed an envelope that told you what "disaster" you had to survive the next three days. Ours was a trucking strike, so there was no food at the store so we had to survive on what food we had at home for three days. It definitely makes you aware of what you have and don't have.

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  4. I laughed out loud when I saw Courtney's comment, and I would have given you the same advice! Luckily, we usually have some bottled water around (thanks to using distilled water in our diffuser and humidifier), and we're both pretty crazy about having our phones fully charged. One of the first things we bought for our house was a set of flashlights (one for each floor) and a lantern.


    Oh, and if you don't open the fridge, you can usually not have to throw anything away if it's a certain number of hours. Great tips!

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  5. I am so nutty about power outages! We had a bad storm last year and my boyfriend came home and started dying laughing when he saw me making candles. I didn't have any!! I don't think the power went out that time but man, I wanted to be prepared!

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  6. Ooh having to charge your phones by running your car isn't so fun. Get one of those battery packs that you can keep charged and use in such a situation. The yellow mellow line cracked me up.

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  7. I hate to admit it, but Dave and I would be completely unprepared in the case of a blackout. I mean, we have tons of candles and a flashlight. In that sense we would be fine. But I don't know what we would do! We almost solely rely on technology for our entertainment!

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  8. If our power went out we would A: starve B: no water C: go stir crazy.

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  9. Ugh I hate it when the power goes out!! I guess it teaches us that unplugging is really good for our health, because we don't know what to do with ourselves. It's borderline embarrassing!

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  10. I hate loosing power too. It always seems to happen at the WORST times for some weird reason #karma. Glad it came on as soon as it did. One time an ice storm knocked ours out for 10 days... it also ripped the meter box off of our house. That was.... awesome, let's just leave it at awesome.

    Happy Monday girl!

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  11. Ugh. What an adventure. I have candles on hand... and not much else. Great tips!

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  12. no power totally sucks!!! Something we keep around and charges are these "travel" USB chargers that basically charge anything - phones iPads kindles etc. We try to make sure to charge them like once a week because Inoften carry one with me just running errands! Oh and bottled water is a must but then again we live in the sticks and have well water so im paranoid! haha! sorry chickie was sick that's the worst!

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  13. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    That's awesome, Julie. I think if we got them more we would be better prepared BUT having said that, we should be prepared anyway. You never know, right? Thanks so much for reading!

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  14. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    The Walking Dead, hahaha! Yeah, we had none of that. Parents of the year right here, folks. Next time, we'll be ready fo sho!

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  15. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Yeah, definitely need to up my water storage game. It seems like something that is a no brainer but really, I never thought about it until we didn't have it. Thanks for reading!

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  16. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    That is a great idea! And yes - nothing like having to learn your lesson the hard way, right? We will definitely be prepared for next time! Thanks for reading!

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  17. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    Her comment cracked me up, too!! Michael kept wanting to go into the fridge for snacks and beer and I kept screaming, "KEEP IT CLOSED!!" lol. All's well that ends well but we definitely need to be more prepared.

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  18. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    I've often wondered how easy or hard it is to make my own candles. Do you make yours all the time? I would love to know how. Thanks for reading!

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  19. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Those portable chargers are on my purchase list now. We'll definitely be better prepared for the next time. Thanks for reading!

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  20. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    So do we. It was an eye opener for sure. Now I'm scouring Pinterest for kid activities like a mad man, lol. Thanks so much for reading, Erin!

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  21. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    That's exactly what happened to us! It was no fun AT ALL. Thanks for reading, Brittany!

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  22. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Yes, for sure! I kept thinking, "Surely, I should have some ideas on how to entertain my child??" and while I had a few, it really showed me how much we depend on technology. Definitely working to change that for sure. Thanks for reading!

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  23. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    10 days??? Oh hell no. I was going crazy after 4 hours so I can't even imagine that. Power outages have a way of testing everyone's will, that's for sure. lol. Hope you're having a great week!

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  24. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    That's all we had, too. Definitely need to be a little more prepared for things like this. Thanks for reading!

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  25. Courtney PattersonApril 22, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    The portable chargers are on my purchase list as we speak. Those are invaluable!

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  26. Yeah it was a load of s%#@. We live one block off of the busiest/main road in this town (which always had power). Words can not say how awful it was. At least we had somewhere warm to go though. #alwaysabrightside

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  27. Two years ago, after a tornado came VERY close, we were without power 2 1/2 days! YUCK! We always have plenty of candles, flashlights, and a backup case of bottled water in the house. (However our running water was NOT affected) We have a battery operated radio, and hubby changes the batteries every spring. Our phones were able to charge in our cars without them running.

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  28. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    That's awesome. Yeah, we weren't prepared at all and for the few hours we didn't have power, it only made me realize how much we needed to up our being prepared game. Thanks for reading!

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