“Welcome Home!” or “Wherefore Art Thou Power?”

Oh, I know, “wherefore” really means “why,” but it sounds so much more interesting than “where.”  If you’re reading this, one of three things is happening.  1.Your power is restored and you are once again warm and toastily surfing the web. 2. You’re at Panera or Bald Guy Brew taking advantage of free WiFi– OR 3.  If you’re like me, your husband has plugged the Modem and Laptop into the generator along with the deep freeze and a few lamps.  Oh, yeah, we know our priorities!

Well, my husband and I have been through a full range of emotions over this holiday vacation.

  • First, we reluctantly left town in a hurry on the 23rd, to take the family tour of NC for the holidays.  While we were excited to see the rest of the family, we had a CRAZY schedule in December, and would not have been too disappointed to be snowed in.
  • When we heard of the widespread power outage in Watauga and Ashe Counties, we were thrilled to be safe and cozy at my mom’s house, hoping the power would be restored by the time we came back Sunday night.
  • After two days, we started to get very paranoid about our deep freezer, full of a year’s worth of meat.  We also wondered about the refriogerator/freezer leaking water all over the kitchen floor.
  • Lacking a battery powered Nanny-Cam, there was no way to check what was going on inside our house. Oh, the neighbors can get in- through the garage door code-  but that doesn’t help when the automatic garage doors don’t work, now, huh?
  • So we hurriedly drove up the mountain today to a dark, cold house, in which our meat and floor were perfectly intact. Thank goodness.
  • So now, we wish we were back at my mom’s house.

Here are a few good tips we use to prepare for a power outage. May not help for this time, but next time- and there will be a next time, you’ll be ready!

  • Invest in a generator. We did this for the Y2K scare in 1999, and we have never regretted it!
  • Pack your freezer with 3/4 full water bottles in the empty spaces. This will prolong the life of the contents.
  • Get a propane camping heater (for small spaces) or a safe kerosene heater. Make sure you follow all the safety recommendations from the manufacturer.  We close most of the rooms off, heat one or two rooms, and crowd our family in there to sleep.  Make sure to turn all space heaters OFF before going to sleep.
  • Fill your tubs with water for flushing toilets/brushing teeth.
  • Make sure you have an “old fashioned” phone that actually plugs into the wall jack. You may have to find an antique store to get one, but it’s worth it. 😉
  • Have a wind-up radio and flashlights on hand. Strategically place them in commonly used rooms so you’ll know where to find on quickly.
  • You can cook everything on an outdoor grill, so stock up on fuel. DO NOT bring outdoor grills inside to heat your home.  You’ll risk carbon monoxide poisoning or fire.
  • Stock up on Glow Sticks, they are safer than candles, especially for kids.
  • If you feel you’re in danger from the freezing temperatures, find a local shelter, or go to a hotel for the night.

(Sources: WikiHow, Twitter peeps @MutheringHeight, @amysfinerthings, @techburgh@blueridgeblog, unfortunate life experiences)

The Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. has lots of resources on their website to help you report your outage and track the progress of restoration. The resources include Outage Map and Current Crew Locations, Steps to Restoring Power illustration, and the latest press releases with valuable information and news.

Pretty Please, leave a comment?  I’m feeling lonely out here lately!

So what about you?  Do you have power?  When did it come on? Do you have a tip for “the next big one?”


  1. 3. The generator is wonderful for reconnecting!!! Glad you came home to a frozen freezer and dry floor. Merry Christmas!

  2. Glad you’re home and sorry you don’t have any power either! Option 4 – we got the heck out of town and are in Davidson at my brother’s house 😉 We were absolutely unprepared for this storm and I guess now I know better. I’ll be following your tips once power is restored. Especially the heater! Christmas Day with 4 kids and no heat was a total downer for me!

  3. These are really useful tips! We do actually keep an old fashioned phone and we have a wind-up flashlight but it has found its way into the toy box. I am going to dig it out and find a place for it to live so I can get it if we need it. Great idea about the water bottles in the freezer. I am going to do that to.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Sorry that you are feeling lonely… Just thought I’d drop you a note telling you how much I enjoy the blog and your story today. Living in Florida, during hurricane season we have been without power for up to five days – the meat was spoiled and worse than that, I had to go to church without using a curling iron on my hair. Now if that doesn’t put me in line for sainthood, I don’t know what does. Keep writing and feel free to drop me a note on my blog next time I need cheering up.


  5. Additionally, we bought a couple of Alladin lamps at the Mast General Store along with replacement mantels and lamp oil. The lamps give off wonderful old fashioned light and allow the whole family to play games and read stories. We built many wonderful family memories during power outages over the years.

    Every fall the local grocery stores have canned food sales. I make it a point to buy our favorite canned foods and store them in a special place in the pantry for outages.I also buy the large bottles water w/spigots to keep near the sink for washing hands and for drinking water.

    Don’t forget to buy a stash of paper plates, cups and utensils.

    It is important to have two sources of heat. We have propane heat in addition to a wood stove.

    Sorry to be so verbose, but I have survived 2 major storms for over a week without power and many, many power outages with children. I have survival down to an art form.

    Whining about the loss of creature comforts is for newbies…

  6. Oh, yay! Lots of comments! I’m so excited!

    Candace – I’m glad I’m not the only one plugging in the laptop to the generator! We’ve got the right idea!

    Niki- I know that was no fun on Christmas. I wonder how many Christmas dinners weren’t cooked this year? Glad you’re safe and sound, though!

    Kim- thanks for the sweet words!

    And Marie- I LOVE it! Be as verbose as you’d like! You have great tips!

  7. Well, since I am reading from far away, I DO have power. I’m glad your freezer was safe, and I hope your power is restored soon! 🙂

  8. Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry. But, what a relief for you to find everything in tact.

    We’ve lived through several 2-3 day power outages. Your tips are great reminders for us all. A good generator is a must! The cost of the generator is easily justified if you generally keep one or two fridges/freezers well stocked.

    But the surest way to get the power back on is to finally give in and check into a hotel. Rest assured that as soon as your family snuggles in to a warm hotel room, your power WILL come back on within minutes! 😉

    Hang in there! Kristin @theschellcafe

  9. I need to follow the water bottle in the freezer tip. I’m always afraid of losing the contents of my big deep freezer.

  10. The Other Emily says

    Welcome Home Sarah! We were blessed to only lose power for about 5-6 hours on Christmas morning. Opening stockings by the light of the Advent candles and having cereal for breakfast instead of cinnamon buns made for unique Christmas memories! We decided that we still had it a lot better than Mary and Joseph and Jesus did, and after seeing the destruction in town we count those memories as complete blessings! My only tip to add are battery operated lanterns… My grandmother gave them to my kids for Christmas one year and I didn’t think much of them until our first power outage! Now they keep them close by their beds for emergencies~ a great gift! Hang in there!

  11. Hi Sarah and WELCOME BACK!

    It’s horrible that you and others had to deal with this especially during the holidays. Last year we were lucky we didn’t lose power during the winter but my dad did four streets over so we became a hotel. lol It was great we had the room. After living in Hurricane prone area’s you become a little more prepared but most things are basic.
    I am just glad that everything is ok with you and your family and your home as well.
    Merry Christmas

  12. Thank goodness we also weren’t home during the Christmas-’09-storm; glad it all worked out for you too! However, neighbors weren’t so lucky — but the beauty of near-disasters is how helping one another can bring a whole community together. It was like a chorus of chainsaws! One more tip too: those solar-powered/crank weather radios that can double as flashlight/cellphone chargers. They come cheap – $30 or deluxe – $50. When power/cable are out, it’s good to know upcoming weather patterns.