A Power Outage Is A Great Time To Count Your Lucky Stars

Due to a vicious 90-minute storm early on Monday morning, one that blew out as quickly as it blew in, more than 600,000 Chicagoland folks were left with no electricity, my family included. July power outages are no fun: we typically have temps in the high 80s/low 90s. No air conditioning? Ouch.

When the power first went out, I figured that, due to the length of the storm, it would surely come back quickly.

I was wrong. The power would be out for nearly 36 hours in total, for my family (there are still folks who are being told not to expect the return of their electricity for several more days!).

We had to worry about our refrigerator and freezers (one in the kitchen and one in the basement), and we had to deal with the house being stuffy and warm.

But it wasn’t that bad.

My friends were freaking out a little bit on my behalf (thanks, friends!)–because OMG THE POWER IS OFF–but I was cool as a cucumber. Figuratively speaking, of course.

I found myself at a place where there was free WiFi for two hours on Monday afternoon, because I had a deadline that day and needed an internet connection. It was also a great time to charge my cell phone (our house phones are cordless and thus useless in a power outage!) and my laptop. On Tuesday I also went out to recharge. It wasn’t that bad.

All along the way I kept myself (and, I’m told, my friends) entertained with the following Facebook statuses:

Power at home is still out. A “Little House on the Prairie” reference has just been tossed out, but in truth this isn’t so bad.

Day 2 of no power. Today’s to-do list includes whittling soap, skipping stones, & hand-stitching a dress.

I need to get one of those metal block irons, the ones you heat over a fire.

I think I’ll walk to the Olsen’s store to get some flour and penny candy.

People told me I had a great attitude. As they told me that, they were usually shaking their heads or tsk-tsking about the situation, but I repeat, it wasn’t that bad.

I kept reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things, everything would be fine. If I had to throw away some food in the end (I did), it could be replaced. The house would get cooled off again. I would eventually be able to do laundry and iron.

The fact of the matter is, we don’t have a major sickness to contend with. We have jobs. We have great kids. We have a home.

My thoughts during the power outage kept returning to the families of Los Alamos, New Mexico, who were evacuated from their town at the end of June due to major fires. Jim and I saw the smoke firsthand, on our recent trip to Santa Fe.


Over 10,000 people–the entire population of Los Alamos–were evacuated due to the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. During their week away from home, they had to bunk with friends, stay in hotels, spend money on food, gas, and other things they weren’t planning on, and most of all they had to worry that all of their worldly possessions would turn to ash while they were gone. Luckily, the fires eventually were corralled and the residents of Los Alamos were able to return home and begin the rebuilding process.

So, a 36-hour power outage? One in which I could still be in my house and use (most of) my things? One in which I knew that my entire family was safe? One in which my biggest inconveniences were sweating, not being able to watch television, and having to leave the house to recharge my cell phone (which has internet access)?

It wasn’t that bad.


  • Kat

    Glad to hear that the power’ back and all is well with you. Power outages suck but you’re right – you were lucky and things could always be worse. Loving your positive attitude. xoxo

  • Heather

    I totally needed to read this today– I have been having an awful day at work and generally just being boo hoo about stuff. Thanks for reminding me that it could ALWAYS be worse, and that I am pretty blessed 🙂

  • Dea

    Good point, on the perspective. I just get so dang mad because this was power outage number 3 in a month for us, that lasted more than 12 hours. But it’s good to be reminded how much worse it could have been (we have some dead trees that didn’t fall, and we were driving during the worst of it, and were fine!).

  • Tara R.

    I would almost welcome the reprieve, but I know my kiddos would be whining so much I’d be too stressed out to actually enjoy it. You do have a great attitude about any inconvenience you had.

  • Cincy

    I did send one kid away (blocks away where they still had power) and the other one slept, studied (with a BOOK instead of his laptop) and went to work. We got off easy…this time.

    • Melisa

      A book!! wow, old school! haha
      One of the streets in our neighborhood had power on one side, no power on the other. There were extension cords stretching across the street from neighbor to neighbor.

  • lisleman

    good attitude and yes compared to other weather disasters (Joplin MO) this inconvenience is not much. However, I suspect I would find others that would rant on and on how the power should be back.
    That was some strong wind. I walked around the area that afternoon and saw two houses with trees resting on the them and many more trees broken. I have not heard of anyone being hurt which is good.
    Will you be looking into battery backup systems now?

    • Melisa

      Well, we SHOULD but probably won’t. The last time our neighborhood saw a power outage that lasted more than 2 hours was 1998ish…it’s a good idea though.

  • Patty

    You’re positivity is why I love you so much! 🙂 When you put it on the grand scheme of things, you are right, 36 hours isn’t so bad. When the power went out in Queens in 2006, it was well over a week. My family was able to come to my apt and stay there until the local lines were repaired. It was nuts but kind of fun to be all together. You make the most of times like this.