A Hurricane in Ohio

Last Sun. we were hit by Hurricane Ike. Who would have thought living in Columbus, OH you would have to worry about a hurricane? The winds exceeded 60 MPH and we lost power. For 5 days. 5 days of no electricity, no lights, no TV, no computer, no music. Well we did plug an extension cord into our neighbors house (who had electricity) on the 3rd evening so we could watch TV and turn on 1 light. But we told the kids no TV during the day! And we were able to sit on our front porch with the laptop and pick up the 1 or sometimes 2 open networks that luckily had power. We also bought a generator to power our downstairs refrigerator and freezer (which was completely full of all organic, locally raised beef, lamb, pork and chickens and the fish that Dan caught from his many fishing trips around the country this summer.) And I had my trusty and very fancy cell phone that I was able to update my twitter acct from, read everyone’s postings on Facebook, and get my email (but not respond due to some unresolved issue.)

Our first night without power after the kids explored all the dangers and destruction in our neighborhood; there were wires down in the roads, a transformer lying in the alley, tree branches every where and unsuccessfully attempting to harness the power of the wind by sail-boarding, they decided they were quite bored. What did people used to do before electricity they all wondered?

But the next morning dawned anew. Beth, Thomas, Karen & Victoria embarked on a pioneer style life. Eschewing all forms of modern conveniences to live like the pioneers did, or at least how they imagined the pioneers did, for 4 days. Even though I was able to cook on our gas stove they would only eat food they cooked over the fire pit. Which included bacon, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, hotdogs, smores and wormy oatmeal, which was promptly spit out. They also constructed a tee-pee, using very tall branches they found lying around the yard (remnants of the storm.) They boiled water over the fire to wash their dishes (yes, we did have hot water in the house) and to hand wash my kitchen towels that were then line dried. This reminded me of when they were younger and all still homeschooling, they spent the majority of their free time in these imaginary games with the neighbors. It was so nice to see that again and a little bit sad to know that it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to. But as with all good things it eventually must come to an end so if anyone chose to use modern conveniences they were kicked out of the pioneer club, thus Thomas did not get to play with them anymore after he ate chicken noodle soup he heated up on the stove.
Dan, Daniel and the neighbors spent all day Monday cutting up the branches from our tree that split and fell on the neighbors house. The same tree that just 2 weeks prior I had paid $200 to have trimmed.
After spending an inordinate amount of time doing dishes by hand, cooking breakfast then lunch, cleaning up the house and hunting down all the flashlights for the evening I joined the yard clean up. I cleared out all the dead flowers and prepared the beds for fall. On Tues Dan continued the yard work right into the garden cleaning it all up and cleaning out his shed/ greenhouse. Wed we just didn’t feel like we got anything accomplished, being powerless was starting to wear on our nerves. But Thurs came around with a renewed sense of vigor; Dan talked to our insurance co. and finally got to work on the back porch roof that had mostly blown off in the storm. He took down the rest of the hideous green corrugated fiberglass, put up a tarp and got all the debris cleaned up off the porch. Finally at 12:30 on Thurs. our power flickered back to life. 4 days of the generators Harley Davidson like roar would finally come to an end. Well not quite yet, I read that you should let it run until it the gas runs dry so you can store it away. Hour after hour we waited for it to run out of gas. Finally at 8:30pm it sputtered it’s last roar and the pounding in our heads finally ceased.

Now life is back to normal. Beth stared back to school on Fri and Daniel hopefully will be back on Mon. Thomas is back to doing his at home school work and I don’t have to spend quite so much time on the dishes. But even with the extra dish washing time I was able to clean out all my kitchen cabinets, completely scrub out the upstairs refrigerator, back to it’s brand new shine, and get a lot of the yard work done that I had been putting off. Apparently, without the computer (and the laundry) to distract me during our powerless days I was a bit more productive than normal.

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