Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quick random question for you all

I will be posting an epic food fail tomorrow, promise.  But I wanted to park this here and get your thoughts.

Last week, I had my furnace filled up with oil.  I keep the temperature low--around 60F (about 15C I think)--when it's just me.  Still, last week was one of the coldest weeks we had and I was feeling it.  There are a lot of modern conveniences that I don't think I'd let go with good grace.  I'm not talking about cell phones or even computers (though I love online banking, it has saved my bacon).  I'm talking about things like electricity and central heat.

I left the house today with my dinner simmering in the slow cooker.  I drove to work--it's under ten minutes from the place where I'm renting, though likely 45 minutes to an hour if I had to walk it.  We have working traffic signals and my office is climate controlled (albeit it always tends to run cold, even in the summer).  Still, it's a comfortable life.  Despite me not having cable or watching TV these days, despite me never owning a smartphone, I'm living better than royalty if you look at the standard of living of the majority of people who ever lived.

How do you think you'd cope if what happened in India last year happened here, and we had a massive blackout?  Do you think it would really mess with you if, like in other places in the world, there were almost regular blackouts or only sporadic electricity?

I think I wouldn't deal well at all, myself. 


  1. For our house, at first, I think we'd see it as an adventure. Then after a day or two, it would be annoying. We had a major power outage from a storm a couple of winters ago. Some people in some areas were without power for about 10 days. People coped well, I thought. It was winter and very cold for us, but we managed.

    When I was a girl, whenever the power would go out, my mom would call it "pioneer day". We thought it was great fun. I learned to cook in a fireplace. We sat around actually talking to each other, playing boardgames, doing puzzles. We would spend more time outside, even in bad weather.

    It was probably hardest on my mom, who would be worried about food spoiling, and how to fix breakfast, lunch and dinner in the fireplace. But for the rest of us, we thought it was fun!

  2. We live in the woods, so when the power goes out, we also lose running water. We've had a few times where the power has been out for a 3 to 4 days at a time. At first, it's a bit of an adventure figuring things out, but at the end of day 3, the lack of fresh water really starts to get you. We've been fortunate that we haven't had an extended outage in the winter - I think that would be even more troubling - worrying about pipes freezing, etc.

    Every time we have a power outage, I'm always reminded of how prepared (or not prepared) we are.

  3. We could cope for a couple of days--use the fireplace for heat and cooking, hope the freezer in the basement held its cold until electricity kicked back in. But if we were moving into an era of inconsistent electricity, rolling blackouts, etc., we (husband and I) would have to make some major changes in how we lived. Especially when it comes to food storage--I freeze rather than can and losing reliable freezing capacity would kill our grocery budget. I "think" I could learn to live in a post-modern world, but I'd have a steep learning curve!

  4. I thought I was the only one who obsessed about things like extended power outages!

    I grew up in a situation like Christina where a power outage meant no running water. We got in the habit of filling up buckets of water to flush the toilet and other containers for drinking water if a major storm was forecasted. Mom always got grouchy which I understand more now that I'm an adult--as a kid it just seemed fun.

    While we are fairly low-tech, I DO love central heat ... refridgerators and freezers ... my oven, crockpot, and microwave ... I suppose we can all adapt but I don't really want to!

  5. I remember when I was a kid power cuts used to be a lot more frequent. We had candles and a gas cooker, so we used to manage fine for a couple of days. It doesn't get as cold in the UK as it does in the US (especially this far south), so I could survive without heating for a while, but it would be very annoying to have to throw out all chilled foods!

    Luckily water wasn't linked to power cuts like Kris' family. That would be a whole other level of irritating!

    I do wonder how people would cope without the modern day luxuries. I can't imagine doing a research degree without a computer, but back in the day that's exactly what people had to do! I bet people would start getting up and going to sleep earlier to fit in with the natural light.

  6. My post today was about problems, first world problems. So, this has been on my mind. I like my ac. Heat is nice and necessary, but I need the ac for my health.

    For two days my internet service and tv service were on the blink, no fault of mine. I was really bummed out.

    When my town was torn apart by a tornado, I lost electricity for five days. As I went to locations that had hot meals, I noticed whole families walking from apartment complexes to the same locations. The family walked together, teens had no phones out with their faces toward the screens. Everyone laughed and talked. I don't know how they fared other than that small glimpse.

    I could cook on the grill until I ran out of gas. My friend from Honduras said she could cook on the ground because she grew up cooking over an outdoor fire.

    At my age, it would be physically more difficult to manage. However, at my age I may be more capable of figuring out what to do, how to make do.

    I even washed clothes without electricity. I put a cooking pot half full of water on the patio table. I put a cup of vinegar in the pot. In their I put all four pair of grey pants I wear during the summer. I squished them up and down and let them sit. Then, I pulled them out one by one, gave them squeeze and slopped them over the clothesline. They dried before the day was out. I was lucky that it was a warm, sunny, windy day.

    Mu baths were ice cold washcloth baths in front of the sink in the bathroom. I did not realize that the grill had gas in the tank to heat water and cook. I also did not know a church was offering free showers. Icy water is the horrible. I could have put the water in the sun to warm a bit.

    I went to bed early and arose early.

    Rolling blackouts or sporadic energy would be something a person could plan for. Well, you would plan not to be so sure it would remain constant like our services are. I know they suffer. Most of us are spoiled and expect energy to be available all the time.

    I would have to learn to can meat. Gas stations do not pump gas without electricty. Life would change if we did not have a reliable source of electricity.