A Lesson In Doing Things When You First Think Of Them

Linda Bittle
Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

One of the pesky little chores that I have been putting off in preparation for winter is to check my flashlights to make sure the batteries are good. But we rarely have power outages where I currently live, so I hadn't done more than plan to add it to the list soon.

Wednesday evening, I'd just gotten home from work and the grocery store. It was roughly 8 pm, cold, but not windy or stormy. I'd put the groceries away, and was getting ready to take a quick shower and settle in at the computer for a while. And the lights flickered 3 times, and everything went dark. The entire town just went dark. My phone was nearly dead, but I used the light from the screen to find the bedside flashlight. Which was dead. So was the one I keep in a drawer by the front door.

I did get a feeble light from one of those battery packs that you plug into a computer to charge so that you can charge your phone in the event of an emergency. The solar powered battery pack was dead. So, I went to bed early, and read on my Kindle -which had a 40% charge.

Turned out that a semi had taken out a power pole, and around 800 people were in the dark for about 2 hours.

I've charged the power packs, and supplied myself with fresh batteries. Today I'm changing out the batteries in the flashlights, and making a plan to keep my phone and Kindle charged up and ready. (The landlord just installed 2 new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so those are good to go - but don't forget to check those as well!)


  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle I don't mean to be a scrooge on you but now that you've broken down, although belatedly, and fixed all that stuff it will probably be another ten years before your power goes out again. At least that would be my luck.

    But I'm not that lucky here where I live. We have power outages all the time all 4 seasons of the year so for me that's not a put it off and forget it job, it's a make sure you're always prepared because it's going to happen soon anyway. But even with that I guess since it happens so often to us we're just used to it so it's no big deal.

    Only times it did become a big deal to me was once we were out of power for 10 days another time 14 days. A few times it could be 4-5 days. But that's when you realize we just aren't used to being without modern conveniences (like running water for the toilet, a bath occasionally etc.) when there's no power for over a week. But we lived thru it so it's possible.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I confess that I've gotten careless! I grew up and spent a large part of my adult life in western Missouri. Tornado and thunderstorm country, and we got ice storms in the winter. I was always prepared. When I moved to Washington state, a little east of Seattle, flooding was the issue. I was always prepared there, too.

    Here in Idaho, if we don't get snowed in, the weather is generally pretty good. Fire season is a whole 'nother story!

    I guess I needed a reminder to go back to my old ways. LOL.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle - So glad your little emergency lasted just a few hours. Many people here around Puget Sound, particularly West across the water are not that fortunate. -- We here are surrounded by 2 other Power companies with Wood-poles, that on a major street two blocks in either direction, occasionally someone takes out a Transformer. - But fortunately, we're in the middle & our Power-company thought FAR-enough ahead, iow they installed their lines UNDERground to begin with, so in the 20 years we've been here, when the lights did go out it was less than 1 hour. ---- However I spent my childhood in East Germany, where we had just a 1 single lightbulb with NO other electricity, read here: https://community.thegrownetwork.com/discussion/comment/848167#Comment_848167 This will be our 3rd. (& hopefully last) winter with only 1 room heated. Hopefully we will have more than the $60/month for electricity than we have now. STAY WARM :)

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle Glad you weren't out of power for very long! We had that happen with a winter storm a couple years ago. I live in Georgia so a few flakes shuts us down. Funny I know to anyone living where it snows a lot. Anyway, we had several inches of snow and sleet so it was pretty crazy! We were out of power for around 22 hours. My daughters couldn't deal with their phones not working so they figured out very quickly that they could charge their phones in the car in the garage by turning it on auxillary. Since then I bought a charger that is plugged into the cigarette lighter and has regular sockets to charge computers and it has USP ports as well. If you try to charge something that takes too much power it won't charge but it could be used to charge several devices at one time.

    I cannot remember to change batteries in anything except the smoke detectors and that's only b/c they beep! Corroded batteries in the flashlights are my problem! Too much going on to keep up with everything! Good thing my husband has an LED flashlight.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    I can be such a scatterbrain that now when I think of something that needs to be done, I attend to it so I don't forget. When it comes to electricity, I live a bit off the beaten path and when power goes down, my house is one of the last to be restored. The longest I've been without power is 31 days, that was an ice storm to be remembered. So experience has taught me to be prepared, so now life goes on with interruption regardless.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    You can get flashlights that plug in and when the power goes out they automatically come on to work as a night light or beacon. They are always charged and ready to go. Most of the big brands make them; First Alert, Energizer, Rayovac, Eton, etc. Or you can get hand crank flashlights for emergency situations, that quite often have a radio and a USB port .