Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Friday, June 29, 2012

This Off-the-Grid Thing Ain't All It's Cracked Up to Be

And...we're back!

No. That's not Kramer welcoming you back to the Merv Griffin Show set that he used to furnish his apartment. You won't find George with the squirrel he ran over and paid the medical bills for, nor Jerry discussing how he drugged his current date in order to play with her collection of 1960s toys. It's just me. Val. Back from her sojourn in the land of the unelectric.

Whew! I haven't been that put-out since the Great Icepocalypse of Ought Six. Thankfully, my powerlessness this time was limited to less than seven hours. Instead of five days. In case you think I'm needlessly ramping up my outrage over my electrical outage, let me assure you that I am not. We are an all-electric household. So any and all semblance of civilization grinds to a halt. No light, no AC/heat, no fridge, no oven, no microwave, no fan, no laundry, no water, no toilet-flushing, no showers, no cell-phone charging, no regular phone, no garage-door opening without a strapping son to climb onto the side of the large SUV and grab the cord that dangles above. NO COMPUTER! Unless you count my laptop until the battery runs out. And you saw how that turned out, yesterday.

We managed to get the water left in the pipes. But no pumping from the well. What? You think its got a bucket, like a cute little wishing well, or like that one where Nicole Kidman saw the crows flying and Inman walking back to her in Cold Mountain? Nope. It's a pipe down to the water table, with an electric pump. Sucks to be thirsty. Or one our pets. That's the first thing I commanded The Pony to do--fill up the water for the goats, chickens, and dogs, with the water left in the pipes and the hose. The cats were on their own. They prefer to drink from the fish pond or the swimming pool, anyway. And with our three toilets, we had about six flushes to play around with. There was plenty of light for reading if you didn't mind being hot. If you preferred to be cool, the basement was available, though dark.

Lunch was peanut butter and honey on ciabatta bread. Or spongy white bread if your name was Genius. The Pony had just charged his Kindle Fire while overseeing the goat herd as they grazed in the front yard. He had a bit of laptop battery remaining. And a charged phone. So he fared the best. I saved my laptop. Just in case. Because I needed to report the outage to Ameren, and to check on the estimated repair time. Genius said, "I'm using my laptop battery until it's dead!" He was blasting music as well. He's always been one to go all out.

The problem with my laptop is that in order to receive an internet signal, it has to perch precariously in front of the living room window. It has a Sprint connect card dealybobber. Genius has routed it to all the other computers.  That's all we can get. Can't get cable. Can't get Hughesnet. DISH was not feasible for whatever reason Genius determined. It's not like I can unplug that laptop and carry it around the house all willy-nilly, slurping up an internet signal. The boys both have phone plans for unlimited internet. But not me. And they have to wedge their phones on the windowsill at the front of the house to maintain a connection. Yeah. We might as well be pioneers relying on the Pony Express for information.

Hick has taught Genius how to shut off the power, and how to get the generator running, and which breakers he can turn on to keep the refrigerator going, and for lights and TV. However, the generator was not used all winter, and needed jumping from a car battery to get going, and we do not have a gasoline stockpile like we would in the winter...so the generator had to wait for Hick. And it still won't run the air conditioner.

It's time for this buttercup to toughen up. Or buy a bigger generator.

7 comments:

Tammy said...

So glad you have your electricity back! I don't know if you are involved in this freakish heat wave, but the thought of losing any one of those appliances is sort of painful. For what it's worth, I *did* want to picture Inman walking back. Still do.

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm glad this vacation into prehistoric (pre-electric) times is over for you.

Sioux said...

I'm with Tammy. Jude Law should not have died. That was a waste...

In the case of generators, men, size DOES matter. (And perhaps it always does, but we just try to placate you occasionally.)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

We lost power for about 3 hours the other night. I had wanted to invest in some turbines and solar panels, but he who decided to build his own turbine ...... and as a result we had no power for 3 hours. It was pitch black in our humble abode and he who was whining about the quiet with no electric fan to lull him to sleep. We used our open laptops to locate some candles, but then I realized that right outside the door were solar lights in my garden.
The moral to the story? Listen to she who can think ahead and buy the turbines and solar panels!

Leenie said...

I could deal with no flushing and no cooking and even no telephone or t.v., but NO COMPUTER! AAaaarrGH!! Yep time to get a bigger generator.

Donna Volkenannt said...

So sorry about your power outage.

With the heat we've been having, I have a hard time imagining how we survived without air conditioning in the summer.

Val said...

Tammy,
I want Pangle back also. He was a big fella, but felt the cold like a thin man.

*****************
Stephen,
I thought I was going to have to cook my brontosaurus ribs over a fire.

*****************
Sioux,
It's their own fault for measuring things six inches as twelve inches. That's why they keep buying too-small generators. They imagine them much larger.

*****************
Kathy,
It's good that you were only concerned with the light and the fan sound. Because I was sweating myself to the bone. Richard Simmons and his oldies could not have accomplished more in such a short time.

I'm picturing you carrying those solar lights like a regal Statue of Liberty.

****************
Leenie,
THE HORROR! I was in severe withdrawal.

***************
Donna,
I can't imagine how I used to work in an un-air-conditioned classroom. It was survival. Not much learning went on.

I had a second-floor classroom that overlooked the tarpaper roof of the gym. 104 degrees in my room in Steelville, Missouri, in August. A real sweatshop. The 34 middle-school students didn't do much to dissipate the heat. They were little furnaces. Chatty little furnaces, emitting even more hot air.