Monday, August 31, 2009

TBWCYL Day 242 - Power Down

What a day yesterday. You may have noticed there wasn’t a post last night and there was a reason for that. Diana left town for the weekend so I took the opportunity to do one of the more dedicated tasks. Yesterday the task at hand was to live the day without using anything powered by electricity. You can see how that might have been a problem but here is how it can be done.

  • First: go buy about 10 lbs of dry ice and get a cooler. Dry ice freezes the crap out of stuff and makes an awesome short term ice box. Then stock the chest with some regular ice to offset everything just freezing solid. Gather everything you will want for the entire day and put it in the ice chest. Also put a block on your fridge to stop yourself from cracking.
  • Second: go around and cut off the temptation of turning on any lights by taping all of the light switches over with paper. It is a great reminder when going into a room that helps stop you from slipping.
  • Third: locate your grandfathers pocket watch and wind it up. Now you have a way to tell time throughout the day that doesn’t involve electricity. Subsequently, also turn any clocks that are electric or battery powered around. If that isn’t possible, i.e. stoves and microwaves, tape something over these.
  • Fourth: stock up on candles if you don’t have any at home. Be warned that buying scented candles may sound like a good idea but your home will begin to smell if conflicting scents are chosen and will overpower when all are lit to provide evening light.
  • Fifth: Make sure your propane tank on your grill is full. If you don’t have some type of barbeque pit, you will regret having no electricity.
  • Sixth and final: Wait until last possible moment, in my case 11:50 PM and turn off your air conditioning. I know it is hard but it must be done.

So, after following my five step process, I went to bed on Saturday with the windows open and no power flowing anywhere. I slept fitfully, not due to being hot, but because for the first time since being in the house, I slept with the windows open. I am use to hearing the A/C units kick on but through a pane of glass. It is a different situation with windows open. It also causes the dogs to go into hypersensitive mode and they continuously woke me by barking at everything they could.

I got up around 8:30 AM and got my day started. I pulled some eggs out of the cooler, grabbed the milk(which had made contact with the dry ice and was partially frozen), and went outside and scrambled me up some breakfast on my grill. I tried to make toast too but it tasted too much of propane and I trashed it.

The night before, I had logged all of my recent comics into my database and they needed to be filed so I lit up a candle and headed into the storage closet where they are housed to alphabetize. I felt like a coal miner going digging in a way. I also kept busy in the yard by trimming the bushes with my manual shears.

I would say about 80% of my day was just spent outside reading. Our patio has a nice bit of shade until around 1 so, after brewing a pot of tea which then became thoroughly iced, me, Duncan and Hazel all sat outside. They lounged in the sun and I read and finished The Longest Road Home by John Grogan which I had started the night before.

When the sun was at its peak, I went inside for a while and then took the dogs on a walk. The high temp for yesterday was around 90 degrees and I steadily watched the temperature in the house go up, topping out at 85. I lucked into a breeze blowing through so it was bearable, especially after my six pack that had been on ice was pulled out and I started drinking.

I grilled a T-bone steak around 5 and it for dinner. Duncan and Hazel, my ever watchful vacuums stood by and after I was done, I allowed them the bone.

I lit all the candles in the house around 7 and waited for Diana to get home. She hadn’t arrived by 8 so I had to break the ban and turn on my cell phone. I didn’t use it but wanted to make sure that something hadn’t happened. She finally got home around 8:30 PM and sat outside with me until 9. With her home, I knew I had to end the day. We shut the windows and turned on the A/C and lights.

I must say that no electricity can sound scary but was rather relaxing. I didn’t feel tempted to turn on the TV or computer. Had the temps gotten higher I might have missed the A/C but it was rather nice outside. The only thing I missed was music. I wanted some to keep me going through the day. Not a bad sacrifice though. I will say, once it was pitch black in my entire house I realized why people might go to bed early in the old days. Sitting in the dark kinda blows.

That is all,

Newt

4 Ripples in the pond:

Erin said...

Nicely done! Too bad you couldn't have today's temperatures for your non-AC adventures. I'm sure Duncan and Hazel enjoyed the quality time with you as well.

Trinity said...

Yes, it was nice to spend so much time with them. Sometimes they get a little neglected during the week.

Simon said...

The closest to that I can get is when I was still at school, when, under the Ted Heath government, there were strikes just about every day of the week, and this at one stage involved a series of planned power cuts. Doing my homework by candlelight was an interesting exercise in how little light they provide, and, as you say, it makes you realise why people went to bed pretty much by the sun in earlier times.

But we didn’t have a TV, we had a gas cooker, and there was no need for AC in England, thank heavens, so it was not such a big deal. 30–40 years on I realise just how much more dependent on electricity we’ve all become.

ladytruth said...

We have power outs on a regular basis, not because we forgot pay our bill but because the munisipality forgot to do maintenance and needs to do damage control too often for comfort. It starts getting scary at night for me with the shadows from the candles and the absolute silence ... !