Monday, March 28, 2011

This is Only a Test

Last summer I finally purchased two 55-gallon water drums for the beginnings of our emergency water storage. Problem was, I never filled them. That would have been a real kicker, had something happened and we actually needed water. But for several months (no, make that years) I've felt the urging to make preparedness a priority, and the events in Japan only added to my feeling that we need to be ready, come what may.

So, first, I went to the lumber store to get two boards. Water barrels should be stored up on slats of wood, and never directly on a concrete surface.

Then we filled the barrels and added some of this aerobic stabilized oxygen, which makes the water safely storable for up to five years. This bottle treated both 55 gallon barrels.

I know it was a small thing, but having those water barrels filled is a thrill to me now, when I look out my back door and see them. I hope to get several more, but this is a good start.

A few hours after we got the barrels filled, the power went out, for no apparent reason. It affected at least several blocks around us, as people wandered out of their houses, wondering what was going on. It was lightly raining, but not stormy, as it has been for the last week. Adam was already planning on taking the boys to an internet cafe for some networked video games, so when he left, I decided to take Lyndsay and Conor in the other direction to the produce store. We loaded up on fruits and veggies and nuts, and hoped that when we returned home, the power would be back up.

Not to be. And it was dark by that time.

We unloaded the groceries from the car, but only put a few perishable things quickly into the fridge, leaving the veggies to wait on the floor, to preserve the cold temperature in the fridge. As Conor surveyed the situation, he clapped his hands together in an authoritative way and said, "Okay, here's what we need to do: we need to get the emergency candles and the emergency flashlights!" And with another clap of his hands, he was off, returning with an armload of handcrank flashlights. I lit some candles, and enjoyed the pioneer-like coziness of our now limited activity.

Soon the boys were home, and they got right into our "emergency" too. One got the handcrank radio going, and another lit more candles. Lyndsay, realizing that most of her life requires electricity, surrendered into her new, though temporary state of being, and sat on the couch to read in the dim light. Aiden rallied a group together to play a family game. He, Adam, and Dylan began a game of cards. Conor, like a sheepdog, wandered from room to room cranking his flashlight, checking on everyone's well-being.

The flash on the camera ruins the mood of this picture, but obviously, it was taken in pitch darkness, except for the light from the four candles burning there on the table, and the little camping lantern.

Only a few minutes into the card game, the power came back on.

The card game, once finished, was abandoned. Lyndsay got right onto the internet. The candles were blown out, flashlights turned off, and everyone scattered to different rooms. A movie went on in the family room, and iPods were once again connected wirelessly. I think it was only 2 minutes before I heard someone call someone else a "jerk", and somebody else be mean in another room.

"Goodness!" I called out. "What happened to everyone? Maybe I should just turn the power back off!"

Interesting how a temporary crisis brought everyone together in such a lovely way. Now to work on unity even with the lights on.


MDB said...

What a great post! And how true. Neat that you had the opportunity to enjoy a 'pioneer perspective' for a few minutes...and some peace. :)

Luisa Perkins said...

Yay for big, blue water barrels! We have some, too. I actually need to change the water in them this spring when it gets a little warmer.