the wind. Last Thursday I shared about how I was thankful for the two bikes we own, and how we were able to ride them to our local Walmart and get 117.00 worth of groceries. On that day the wind was both a blessing and a curse. We set out on our ride and made it there much faster than when we go on foot. The wind felt great on our skin and dried any sweat our bodies created from the unintentional but meaningful exercise we were getting.
On the way home the wind proved to be a challenge. It was hard to ride against the wind, to get our bikes up any hills. When we stopped to rest at a local gas station, the wind blew my ancient ancestor of Huffy bike over, twice. The clouds were gray and the weather forecast had warned of impending storms, though they were expected much later in the evening. The clouds looming over were displaying they may have other plans, so we had to finish our ride. Despite it’s difficulties the wind caused, it still felt good to to hot bodies trying to make their way home.
The rest of the night was full of regular activities, and rest because biking from our place to Walmart is easier than walking, but still tiresome. I had trouble sleeping but must have dozed off around 10 pm. I heard clatter and swore I heard my daughter screaming. Turns out, newly whipping wind and rain outside had startled her awake, she had not been the one screaming. Apparently the Orange Cat was howling because the back door had flown open allowing viscous weather in through the back door. We actually thought for a moment we would have to tie or strap the door shut. Though he got wet, my husband managed to secure the door. (another item around here that needs repair.) At this time our power went out. We all eventually went to bed as the wind whipped and howled around the house.
Friday morning, I barely woke up to my 7 a.m. alarm, but didn’t decide to get the kids up for school. Our neighborhood was still without power. We are close to the school and my son is friends with someone who lives even closer to the school and they also had no power. Logically this led me to believe the local schools may also be without power. Without being able to watch the local news on tv we scoured our phones for any sources that might tell us if school was in session. My daughter got ready slowly not really expecting to attend. We walked to the bus stop and no one was there. We walked home. A female neighbor offered to give my daughter and I a ride so that she could go to school, but I still could not tell if it was in session. Where were all the usual suspects that ride the bus? Eventually I was able to call the school office to verify they did indeed have power and were in session. My daughter had resolved not to attend, and I didn’t feel like fighting. I told her there was no point in staying home without power. She could eat at school and have running water, none of which we had at home. My neighbor came to the door insisting she give us a ride. To my surprise, she handed me her car keys and my daughter was successfully delivered to school.
My husband woke up and really wanted coffee, no power = no brewing coffee = Bummer. We love our morning coffee, it is our time together, when we play a mobile game called HayDay. I had coffee left over from the day before and remembered that I had a small gas grill outside under the carport. I searched the cabinets and found small green cans of propane from previous preparation for hurricanes in months past. I had a saucepan and reheated my coffee. We then remember we had some cold coffee in the fridge that we store in a milk jug, when we don’t drink all that we brew throughout the week. (No wasting coffee in this house!) Without power in their homes, suddenly some more of our neighbors began to appear. We met Frank and Anna. Rodney who lives across from me, moved in a few months back, turns out he is a bonafide IRL treasure hunter. Using the grill we were able to heat up and share coffee with everyone.
Now Mark 12:31 ESV states this: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
I have lived in this neighborhood for at least 4 years and I have not lived out loving my neighbors. I don’t even know most of their names. The cops are in our part of the neighborhood I would say once every two weeks. They have been to my house, and most of the surrounding houses for various reasons. My neighbors have not loved me nor I them. When I read the Frugalwoods blog, Liz spoke about how living a frugal life can bring about a sense of community. ( https://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/05/17/19-reasons-why-frugality-is-the-best-thing-thats-ever-happened-to-me/ her 18th reason) I had yet to really experience that in my journey of frugality which I have been halfheartedly attempting since May 2013.
The wind and all of it’s chaos changed this for us. We have a burn pit in our back yard, we piled up some wood in it’s center. We used some cooking grease we had in a bucket (because you don’t pour grease down a drain people!), used our lighter and we were able to have a bonfire in the back yard. My son invited a friend to spend the night. The friend had power restored at his house, but for some reason wanted to stay at ours. My teenager remembered we had a tent in the living room closet. The friends pitched it in the back yard. We used up lunch meat, cheese, bread, and Italian sausages to feed ourselves and our neighbors that first night. They learned I like to make jewelry and my husband likes to paint. One neighbor said he could probably fix my non running lawn mower (yay! I could cut the grass and make the place look a little less abandoned!) The neighbor who lent me her car also gave me nose rings. (I know not a necessity but I wear one and she had noticed I had a regular earring in mine and was like ouch here I have 60, have six.)
That night most of the neighborhood’s power was restored except the 4 houses on what I call my corner. One of our neighbors let us put some food in their fridge to save it from rotting away. We kept the fire going in the back yard and kept warm with our layers of jackets, and beanies. When it was time for us to retire on night one, my teenager and his friend slept in the tent with extra blankets. My daughter also had a friend come over and they camped on the couch playing an I pad that her friend had charged (cuz they were lucky and had power.) We opened our cabinets and I found I had so many more candles then I really knew. We lit several and spread them on tables, in bathrooms, and on the fire place mantle. It created quite an ambiance in the house. It was a relished time of relaxing in the soft glow while covered up with no less than three blankets, of course.
I wish I had pictures for this post but no power meant no cell phone to take pictures. We reserved what power we could, and drained the lap top battery to charge our phones to call the electric company for repair updates. I had a (free to me) $12 grub hub credit and my son’s friend had some cash, we put it together and ordered Taco Bell on the second day. We played football, Frisbee, my husband worked on his walking stick, we all took turns jumping on the trampoline, played soccer, played with our two dogs,read books and rode bikes. I saw my son for two whole days. He seriously never comes out of his room, so it was glorious. I gave the Rat Dog a really bad hair cut, but who cares it didn’t cost anything and hair grows back. None of these things would have taken place if the wind hadn’t knocked down the tree that knocked down the power line.
During this adventure I found out we have an Artesian well, and though we can’t get water pumped into the house without electric there is a spout that would allow us to get water and carry buckets of water to flush toilets etc. I have lived here for all these years and did not know until a neighbor told me. On night two my son’s friend went home and my daughter and her friend slept in the tent, We had restored power just before dinner that night. (thankfully because were about to spend cash we didn’t have to spend on propane to continue cooking.) They strung lights up in the tent.
There were stressful moments when everyone was power hungry wishing it would be back on, and I tried to will my water into Vodka. (Hey Jesus turned water into wine. Turns out I don’t have any powers though.) In summary, I am thankful for the wind, and the neighbors it brought out to gather around our fire and grill. I am thankful for the God moments in the unrequested adventure of no power.
Hiding in plain sight,
Masquerade Jade 🙂