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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Glad I Learned This Stuff Now....

Hi everyone!! My story today, and the lessons learned, comes from the 'crazy weather' category. Last weekend we were having some crazy storms (who hasn't lately) and I had just stuck a pan of raspberry muffins in the oven when the electric in the kitchen went out. I went to the basement to flip the switch on the circuit that had overloaded and shut itself off. You see, that's really all that ever happens around here. I was thinking it was strange that I tripped it, though, because there was no unusual power usage in the kitchen at the time. Anyway, the light in the basement didn't go on, so I grabbed a flashlight. (First hint that I missed.) I looked at the electric box but didn't see any switches tripped. Hmmmm. I felt them over, up and down, pushing them slightly, but nothing was moved. I just didn't get it! Finally, I realized that the power was out in the whole house, and that it was a problem outside the house--not inside! Okay, before you think that I'm really slow, you have to know that power outages never happen here! We're in a suburb of Chicago, and the grid for Chicago is built to last! (That's my excuse anyway!)

The thing I didn't anticipate was that the gas stove stopped working when the power went out! What???? I've got muffins in there! I've got to heat up my dinner in 45 minutes! (Dinner was leftovers.) What am I going to do?? Okay, this is like those practice sessions that people recommend for you to do (which I never do). First I call the electric company on my corded phone. They say it'll be back on in under 2 hours. Okay! I go grab my camp stove and get it ready to go for reheating our dinner. I grab a book and enjoy a little quiet reading time. Thankfully within 45 minutes the power was back on and I could resume muffin cooking and start warming dinner.

We learned a few lessons through this situation, though. First, MY GAS OVEN DOESN'T WORK WHEN THE POWER IS OFF!! This was/is very disturbing. I always assumed that the stove would work for me. Right then I was wishing that I'd made the cardboard box stove I'd seen online. (I am assembling one now!) I need to rework my emergency plan by taking the stove out of the equation. What a disappointment that is. And I couldn't even use my dutch oven right then because of the rainstorm outside. What a predicament I was in in regards to what my plan for cooking was to be! This wake-up call was valuable if it makes me better prepared the next time something more serious happens.

The next thing we learned (well, I learned) is that the emergency flash light in my pantry---it sucks! Seriously! Wow, do I need better flashlights!

I was always a bit afraid to do a weekend emergency trial to see the holes in my preparedness plan. Nobody wants to live through it when it actually happens, so why would I want to live through it when it isn't happening??!! Right? Well, I now know that valuable lessons can be learned this way. I'm glad I learned what I did. (And I'm glad the electric came back on quickly!)

How about you? Have you done an emergency trial? Or maybe you don't have a dependable electric grid and you live a 'trial' all the time! What are the holes in your emergency plan?

Prep On!!
Gen-IL Homesteader

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