The Boring Word About Redi Killowatt Where Are You?

January 22, 1986

This column is going to be short. I have to hurry before another power outage closes down my computer and drops the temperature of my house to below freezing. All day long I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop or in this case for the power to go off (or come on) depending on the state of our electricity at the moment.

For some reason we are in the middle of a very small area which lost power for only a short time on Monday. The rest of the community was not as lucky. As a result many of you learned all over again the science lessons from grade school when you discussed which of the appliances in your home are operated by electricity. The answer is “all of the ones you need.”

It was definitely a day for regrets. I knew I should have ironed my blouse last night, my kids had meant to buy batteries for their radio, and my sister tried to remember why she gave my daughter her hand operated can opener to set up housekeeping in her college dorm.

Having lived for years on a road where the power went out if three raindrops fell together, I’m an old hand at how to cope with no power. The first few hours are an adventure. The kids play with all the board games they haven’t looked at in months, everyone wraps up in blankets and catches up on some sleep and the phones are kept busy. But eventually the novelty wears off. You begin eating the food that is getting warm in the refrigerator, disregarding the unbalanced meals that are being consumed, the flashlight batteries run down and the candles melt into little puddles.

If you have an electric stove, hot water heater and a well that operates on an electric pump you reach your breaking point very quickly. This is when you start calling your relatives and make plans to move out.

Never fear – as soon as you have put clothes, food, blankets, kids, pets, etc into the car and driven 500 yards down the road the power will come back on.