Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Do we Do When the Lights are Out?


I’ve learned there are lots of things we don’t really need to survive. Well, I already knew that from countless camping trips my husband and I took with the kids when they were little and we were poor. One of those unnecessary-to-life things we think we can’t do without is electricity. So, whether you’re on a primitive camping trip aka no lights or running water, or at home and a storm takes out the lights, you will survive.

First of all flashlights (or candles) will get you to the bathroom (or bushes) without stubbing your toes. And you can read by flashlight, find the potato chips and check to make sure the kids didn’t sneak out in the middle of the night.

Second, cooking on the grill or over a wood fire is fun – for three days then it’s a pain in the tail because the kids get tired of gathering deadfall.

Third, a five-gallon bucket and a toilet plunger will make a pretty good washing machine, and then there is the solar powered dryer, aka the clothesline. The sun will dry your hair. Save the battery powered radio for the news and weather report. When the lights go out at home and you have to go to work in the morning don’t forget to wind up and set the old alarm clock.

There are plenty of things you can do for fun besides watch TV: board games, read, walk, play out doors, sew, arts and crafts, talk, tell stories, look at old pictures and photo albums, play with the cat or dog, and wash more clothes in the emergency washing machine. Email withdrawal isn’t a real disease. Write a letter or read a book.

Telling ghost stories is fun after dark, unless you have young or impressionable ones. Oh go ahead, they can sleep with you and you won’t get scared either when you hear those things going bump in the night. If its not raining and you are sitting around the campfire (don’t forget marshmallows are non-perishable and should have been in the emergency kit) the Big Foot stories are the best fun of all. I promise you’ll hear him lurking in the shadows; he likes to eavesdrop whenever you talk about him.

Oh, and there is making love. What a nice way to make good use of that time in the dark. Of course, if you are camping in a tent with three kids that might be a little tricky, but, not impossible.

Finally, make a list of what you’ve missed the most, and what you find you don’t miss all that much. That might help re-evaluate your priorities later on when the lights come back on.