Hurricane Isaias brought a tropical storm that ripped through my town and in minutes, did more damage to our electrical grid system than Hurricane Sandy. Most of our community—made up of about 60,000 residents—went at least three days with no power, and many are still facing a week until theirs is restored. This power outage was particularly challenging because it occurred during the COVID quarantine and we couldn’t just pack up and go to stay with family or friends who had power.
Once we heard our power was estimated to be out for a week, I quickly booked the last available room at a pet-friendly hotel. The fear of going to a public place with the kids during COVID is terrifying but so is the idea of being home in a 100-degree heat wave without air conditioning. LUCKILY, we got our power back early and we didn’t have to go through the stress and anxiety of checking into a hotel.
When the power at my house came back on last night, I cried. The kids quickly checked in on their old “friend” Amazon Alexa, requested music and began dancing to their favorite song. We made it! And we made some memories along the way! I’ll always be grateful for this experience and want to share some tips and fun experiences that the outage brought into our lives.
1. We camped out in the living room.
Heat rises, so find the coolest room in the house and sleep low on the ground. We brought mattress into our living room and slept between the cross breeze of windows. (We opened every window in the house and kept the shades down so there was an airflow, but not too much sunlight heating the house during the day.) The kids had so much fun “camping out” together. I actually got the best night sleep ever the night we did this because the kids were sprawled out and I wasn’t squished on the edge of the bed like I usually am when they both climb into bed with me at night. One dreary, cloudy day even brought cool breezes and it was like waking up on an island. In my dreams.
2. We brought in solar lights from our deck.
Our deck has solar lights outside that charge all day in the sun. We brought them inside at night and placed them in various rooms so the house was never pitch dark. We had enough light to see each other and our surroundings.
3. We took air conditioning and phone charging breaks in the car.
The first day our power went out, we filled the gas tanks in our cars. We used our cars a lot—we took rides to give the kids a change of scenery and even hung out in them in our driveway. We brought the dogs in for air-conditioned time. We brought pillows and blankets and reclined the front seats down low so the kids could cuddle and watch Disney+ on our phones while they were plugged in and charging.
4. We took walks.
Every morning, before it got too hot out, we went on morning walks. This brought a sense of normalcy and as we know, exercise boosts happiness and eases anxiety.
5. We played in the kiddie pool.
The kids stayed cool and had a ton of fun playing with the hose in the backyard and splashing around in their kiddie pool. Again, this also brought a sense of normalcy verses crisis.
6. We indulged in treats.
For the first time since our COVID quarantine, we got Starbucks coffee and got take out ice cream from a local business that had power.
7. We made the best of it with what we have.
The kids played with toys, we read stories, and built with Play-Dough and Magnatiles. And the best part was that I got to play with them and have time I would normally have spent working turn into a mini stay-cation.
8. I cleaned and organized.
I was determined to keep the house neat and clean despite the fact that we were in a crisis. A clean house brings a peaceful mind and cleaning actually brings me joy. I even took advantage of free time and accomplished my dream of organizing toy figurines into Zip Lock bags according to their characters (all Paw Patrol in one bag, Lion Guard in their own, LOLs together, etc.) and taking our messy crayon bin and making a Zip Lock bag for each color grouping. These actually turned into fun activities for the kids, too.
9. We took showers and got dressed every day.
I feel like so many people use crisis situations and quarantines as an excuse to slum it. Taking showers every day, getting dressed and putting on makeup are all so important. Your appearance sets your tone for the day. You’ll be more productive and positive when you’re feeling fresh.
10. We grilled food.
Some of our regular meals had to be adjusted because we didn’t have power. The kids didn’t have their favorite morning toast, etc. But we were able to use our grill and my husband could still make some of our favorite dinners. Again, this brought a sense of normalcy and helped alleviate feelings of “roughing it” a little.
Don’t get me wrong, this three-day power outage was ROUGH. We were hot and tired. The kids got cranky. The dogs were nervous. But we made the best of it and even made new traditions. The kids can’t wait to have another living room camp out!