What I've Learned From The Blizzard/Blackout Of 2014

07 January 2014

It seems that things are slowly starting to get better here in Newfoundland.  I say "it seems" because I really don't want to go and get overly confident here and jinx myself, along with the other hundreds of thousands of people that live here in this province.  And, after publishing my last post, I now know that I'm capable of such a thing, because look what happened literally two minutes after I hit that publish button. I was in the dark, once again.

Needless to say that I didn't get to watch the very first episode of The Bachelor after all. I know, I know, it's time to get my priorities in order. But when you've been looking forward to watching that episode since the last one where we thought Desiree was going to be turning down Chris's proposal and driving home alone in her Tiffany blue Bentley, then you really didn't want a little thing like blackouts standing in your way. I mean, doesn't Newfoundland Power know that Juan Pablo is the new bachelor?  Priorities, Newfoundland Power, priorities.

Since I've spent a fair amount of time lately in the dark and all, I've had nothing better to do then think about some of the things I've learned over the last few days. And since I'm in desperate need of some communication with the bright, outside, world, I figured I'd share those with you.

1. People get paranoid fast.  Regardless if it's a blizzard, a blackout, or both, as soon as the word "warning" gets mentioned, paranoia kicks in. Like really, really, fast. Grocery stores and gas stations get emptied literally within the blink of an eye. I witnessed a man in front of us at the gas station two nights ago not only filling up his own vehicle, but the five jerry cans of gas he had stored in his trunk. Not us, though, we weren't a bit paranoid. We just waited in that same gas lineup for over a half hour just for fun!  Which brings me to the next one.

2. There's probably a reason why people stock up on groceries and necessities. Call it paranoia if you will, but after a few days with no groceries, I'm finally starting to think that there may be some actual sense to this. The box of crackers I had to take to work with me today didn't exactly hit the spot. I'm waiting for my carb crash to kick in any minute now.

3. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.  Not necessarily for driving purposes, but for times when you need to keep warm. Siting in your vehicle with the heat blasted is a sure way to feel like you're living on a tropical island, and not stranded in your house with no heat.  Just make sure you keep those eyes closed.

4. You should have payed closer attention in Girl Guides, or Girl Scouts, or whatever other survival organization you participated in when you were a kid.  Although I had a sash full of "earned" badges, I deeply regret not remembering all of the things I learned, like starting a fire without a match, or getting light by using just a light bulb and a potato.  That stuff would really come in handy, you know.

5. Avoid caffeine withdrawals. With no coffee shops open, no electricity, or no hot water available, it won't be long before the headache creeps up on you.  Look at these limitations as a challenge and find alternative ways to get your morning fix.  At one point I was so desperate I even contemplated ripping open my Keurig cup and mixing it with colder water.  I guess the saying, "hard times calls for head measures" is certainly true.  Next time I'll be prepared, though, with an IV drip of coffee.

6. Make sure your phone is charged.  Then you can amuse yourself in the dark for hours and hours and hours scrolling through your twitter to see the thousands of other people who are commenting on the situation at hand. Just don't be surprised when you have to put the money that you saved on your light bill towards your extra data roaming charges. At the end of the month I'll be pointing the blame at you, #darknl, although I must say you kept me extremely entertained. 

7. Download the flashlight app on your phone. Whether it's finding the bathroom, candles, or even your dog, the possibilities are really endless with what this app can help with. Todd and I went out for dinner on Sunday night and just as our food was brought to the table, the lights went along with the emergency lights. Todd whipped out this app and before I knew it, it felt like we were on a romantic date for two. 

8. Find someone to cuddle.  Whether it's a spouse, a family member, a friend, or even a neighbour, make sure you invite them over for a slumber party extra body heat. As much as I complain about Charley sleeping in the bed with us, I was never so happy to have that black and white fur wrapped around my head at night.

9. You'll never be stuck for small talk again.  No need to worry about awkward silences for a while because situations like this will give you enough to talk about for weeks.  I can't remember the last time I talked about anything else besides snow, lights, heat, and where I'm going on my next vacation. The answer to the last one would be SOMEWHERE WARM.

10. Never, ever, ever, ever joke about losing power or anything else that could possibly happen during a blackout/blizzard because you're automatically setting yourself up for failure.  Yeah, so that was totally my bad!

And last but not least, just be thankful for where you live and all of the good things it has to offer, whether it's with the lights on or off.  

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