It is a bit like when you are eight months pregnant and so uncomfortable that it’s hard to sleep. Nature is just preparing you for the sleepless nights ahead with your new baby.
Well, our little interlude of three days without heat because our furnace broke down was just a taster and preparation for the real thing.
Like thousands of Ontarians, we were without power for four days. Now when you live in the country, no power means a tad more than when you live in the city.
The good news is that you likely have a fireplace and can heat your home modestly. You also may have lots of candles, as power outages are a common occurrence in rural communities.
The bad news is that no power means no water. Like many rural dwellers we get our water from our own well which is pumped by …. you’ve got it… electricity. This means no water for coffee, washing, showers … and no water for the toilets.
We actually had a neighbourhood party planned for day 1 of the power outage and decided to go ahead. Everyone who called to see if the party was still on, was advised to dress warmly, expect only cold food and jokingly asked to pee before they came.
You know what, it was fun. We all huddled together in our family room where the fire was lit and for the first time ever, our three-seater sofa accommodated four adults – all cuddled up and cozy.
There was just one couple who arrived somewhat scantily dressed given the temperature indoors but we quickly discovered, even though they just lived down the street, they had power. So the husband, ever the entrepreneur, was quick to offer the rest of us access to a shower, for just $1.
I tell you by day 4, I was ready to take him up on it. I was starting to feel decidedly grubby and since I’d taken, by day 3 to wearing a hat indoors, you can imagine the state of my hair. Fortunately I didn’t have to as my daughter who lives 30 minutes away, had heat, hot water and a shower just waiting for me. I felt like a new woman.
Christmas dinner is usually held at our farm and my daughters were determined it still would, despite this minor blimp of no power. We looked into cooking the turkey on the barbecue, stocked up on water and proposed cooking the veggies on the wood stove. True pioneers.
But by Christmas morning we had power. The girls were disappointed, but I was just as glad to cook dinner the old-fashioned way – with a stove – and have some heat. The temperature in the house had dropped to 43F or 6C – and whichever way you measure it, that’s cold.
The funny thing was that wrapped under the tree was a warm mohair blanket, an emergency radio/flashlight and a battery generator, yet none of us ‘fessed up to what Santa was bringing – so we never got to use them.
But we sure are ready for next time.