Organizing for Lights Out
Lights, hot water heater, stove, phone...we're still without electricity or telephone service almost 11 days post-Wilma (I live in Miami). So far not a sign of repair crews and with the pole down in my neighbor's backyard, caused by her tree which fell and which now has all the electric and phone lines tangled in it, looks like it will be awhile yet.
We have a generator, thank goodness and my husband is a saint; he's been maintaining it daily so we have a moderately livable situation. The juice flows in through a 220 outlet which means light switches work, the refrigerator too and television. Limited though-not too many lights, etc. No hot water, no stove. No microwave. No computer or internet (DSL lines needs a phone line after all).
Last week I used our gas grill and a little propane camping stove to cook pretty good meals daily. We actually ate very well trying to use up the frozen meat, chicken, fish etc. This week we finished all that and I closed the kitchen-it's takeout time till the electricity is restored :).
We're using 5-gallon water jugs to get solar heated water; I fill them in the morning and by evening the water gives one a tepid bath which is much nicer than a freezing shower! I finally broke down and started adding a garden jug of boiling water made on my camping propane stove to the tub for everyone's bath and that really makes it nice. It feels like incredible luxury but I was able to get propane bottles so I'm stocked up for the long haul. I use the camp stove for my morning coffee too, another luxury I relish daily.
Anyway, I'm rambling but it has been interesting to see how carefully and conservatively you can live if you need to--and how profligately we live when we don't! From taking baths and showers to discarding clothes ('can't you wear those one more day? I can't do laundry after all!) to being very mindful about what we eat and how much gas we use. Last week was quite remarkable because the gas stations were all closed then jammed for days with desperate folks. Same with grocery stores, any stores actually.
Our estimated restoration date is November 10 and if we wait that long it will almost break our hurricane Andrew record which was 3 weeks.
Just hope the weather doesn't stay hot and sticky, it's hard to sleep at night anyway with people blasting generators 24/7 (we turn ours off to be considerate from 10 pm till 6 am).
Reporting from the dark ages,