Urban camping

Our power went out on Sunday at 3 PM, right as Royce was about to arrive home and I could actually accomplish some tasks (like sewing).  It is pretty hard to get used to your entire weekend being spent as a single-mom for an active little 8-month old but to have your minimal allotment of ‘free time’ zapped by a power outage is about all this Mama could take!  And how so I was looking forward to that time on Sunday evening since this was the first time I could do something for myself on my own time since…oh about June.

Little did I know that the freak Sunday afternoon storm; that actually caused this Midwestern girl to seek basement window-less coverage for 15 mins; would knock our power out til today at 11 AM.  That’s 68 hours with no power…in the summer…with an 8 month old…who acquired a 102 degree fever on night#3 of urban camping.

It sounds bad (it was) but we survived.  Thankfully we have gas-powered appliances (stove and water heater) which allowed us to at least take warm showers and do a bit of cooking.  Too bad our fridge and air-conditioning can’t run on gas too!  My main concern was losing my freezer chest filled with ‘liquid gold’.  I had worked hard for that milk and damn if I was going to lose it because Pepco is the worst electric company on earth.  I am thankful that my friend Andrea scored 4 bags of ice for me on Sunday night and we promptly threw them in that freezer and kept it shut.  After we heard we were not going to get power til Friday at 11 PM I sent Royce out to get dry-ice and when he assessed the damage in the breast-milk freezer he noted that only a few of the bags had begun to thaw.  So the ice did the trick but I also think it helped that we kept that freezer closed and it was already in the much cooler basement.

Speaking of, thank the Lord for that basement.  We pretty much lived down there since Sunday.  We all slept down there Sunday night.  Monday and Tuesday night Syd slept upstairs in her room since we were able to get it to a reasonable temperature by practicing common sense rules about airflow and sunlight.  Of course it would have been even better if I had some sort of trained squirrel in our attic powering our ceiling fans.  We kept it reasonably tolerable by opening up the windows at night when the sun went down and then promptly shutting them all in the AM before the sun came up.  We then kept all the shades and blinds drawn during the day to keep that hot pesky sun out which made it a bit cave-like and a bit difficult to see things, but it was worth the inconvenience considering the consequences.

Sleeping was probably the worst.  It was soooo freaking quiet, yet also loud with bird chirps and bug sounds, not to mention sirens and traffic.  Also, I’m too old to be sleeping on the floor of a basement but the air mattresses were too noisy and would wake up Syd when we tossed and turned.  The dog was also highly annoying since he barks at every Tom, Dick and Harry; including flies; that pass by our front door…which we had to keep open in order to get good cross ventilation.  I swear last night I was ready to just set him outside and let him fend for his own life…I was fed up.

I do fancy FDA work like Mama!

I was extremely lucky to be able to use my resources at the office a lot.  Monday morning Royce and Syd joined me in the office for breakfast and coffee.  Syd loved crawling in the long hallways and I couldn’t keep my co-workers hands off of her.  The cafeteria fed me breakfast and lunch each day and they also had a good selection of steamed veggies that I picked up for Syds dinner each night.  Every afternoon I would go fill up a big Nalgene bottle with coffee and we would warm that up on the stove in the morning.  I also stole a fair amount of ice from the cafeteria too.  The access to power was also handy to re-charge our lanterns and flashlight batteries.

This morning was hard as we went back and forth on whether we should send Syd to day-care with her fever but we finally decided that day-care was a better place for her to be since they had air-conditioning and fresh food.   Although our home-life typically isn’t in such dire conditions, I’m sure many are, and after experiencing what we just went through I am not surprised at all anymore why some kids go to school sick or chose to go to school year round.

I would like to think we fared well through this fiasco.  My co-workers and Facebook friends probably think I complained a lot but who wouldn’t?  It was hot; we had no way to circulate air and we had no idea when power was going to be restored.  Not to mention I had to throw away a lot of perfectly good food!!!  Thankfully our power was turned on way before the estimated time quoted to us yesterday.  I’m not sure I could have survived until Friday.


  1. Reminds me of when our power went out due to one of those fantastic Iowa ice storms during the first week of December, which happened to be our first week home with newborn Nolan – a bit frightening for a new mom! Likewise we had a gas range, plus lots of down comforters.

    Thank goodness for the preservation of your liquid gold supply! That would have been just heartbreaking!

    • midwestkids says:

      Wow if that would have happened my first week home with Syd I would have been locked up in a loony bin!

      You know a bunch of people lost power during our February snow storms and I was trying to decide if it would have been easier then, or now. Syd was only 3 months in February. So although I would prefer the power to go out when it’s cold outside I’m not sure it would have been much easier with a 3-month old to fuss with.

      Needless to say we are looking at getting a generator that will hook up to our gas line…


  1. […] Pepco style our power went out at 7 PM that night.  For those of you keeping track we lost it for 68 hours back in July, 24 hours in August and this recent storm was 50 hours for a whopping total of nearly 6 days […]

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