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Friday, January 4, 2013

Always something to be thankful for...Reflecting back to November 2012

(This was written during the hurricane aftermath & never posted.)

A while back I put up a post on things that I was grateful for.

I haven't gone back to re-read it, but of one thing I'm sure - that list has changed dramatically in the wake of all of the destruction around New Jersey.

I am still without power since Monday...  So 7 days now at this writing.  I haven't seen a real news broadcast on television and have no real idea what's going on outside my general 15 mile vicinity.  I haven't ventured much outside of this area because, frankly - I'm afraid to use the gas. Also, traffic lights are out on the highway so getting out of town has become difficult.

This is meant to be an upbeat and positive post.  I'll do my best.

It's amazing how much "stuff" we really have.  So much excess that I didn't even miss.  Well, maybe I missed it a little bit, but I've been able to make due without so many of the normal "necessities" of my daily life.

We have no power.  That has been the general theme of the week.  The running / not running of the generator.  I just got water yesterday.  We didn't have the proper adapter to hook into the generator to run the well pump.  So no water was one of the things that had me teetering on the edge of sanity.

Let me run through my day, as it is currently.
I haven't been able to get to work, nor have the children had school.  No power anywhere.

I wake up early and stoke the fire because it's cold and we need heat.
Get more fire wood & put it into the stove so that the kids won't be cold when they get up.  It's dipped to the 30's here at night & it's cold in the mornings.

I am NOT a morning person and coffee is one of those things that not only motivates, but calms me and makes me feel human.  I don't fire up the generator until the kids are awake  my very kind neighbor who starts it for me is awake.  I have come to make my coffee with the French press, so I need to boil water, pour it over the grinds and wait.

Next I go out to siphon water from the pool into 5 gallon spackle pails and bring them into the house. Some water for toilet flushing, some to boil on the stove to clean dishes, the kids and myself.  (Don't worry, I use bottled water for my coffee.  hee hee)

I can cook on my stove top since I have a gas stove.  There have been hot meals every morning, afternoon & evening.  That was a plus.  The minus side - I had to cook up quite a bit of food, as did the neighbors so things didn't go bad.  Food was a free for all.  I may have gained about 10 lbs this week in sheer quantity.  I feel like a cow.

Now I need to wash those dishes in the boiled up water.  It still feels gross knowing it used to be in the pool, but it is what it is.

Get myself & the girls dressed & head outside to haul wood from the woodpile in the back to the log ring in the front.  I broke the wheelbarrow (don't ask) so it's Jenn powered hauling.  Ouch.

House cleaning time.  We've had every kid in the neighborhood at our house.  Frankly, I love it - but no one has been careful about wiping feet, etc.  Who cares (myself included) - there's no power.  That leaves me with the task of sweeping & dry mopping the wood floors and shake out the area rugs outside.  No vacuum.  Sucks too much juice from the generator.  Ha ha, Sucks ... I made a funny.  (yes, I'm punchy too)
We need the generator for more important things, like the refrigerator.  So I have to sweep almost EVERY ROOM.  Not a complaint - I had to obsess somewhere to keep my mind off things.

The rest of the day was spent picking up branches & doing what we can do outside to clean up from the downed trees and all the crap that blew over or into our yard.  What's trash, what's burnable in the wood stove.

Hubby has been working around the clock - so I've been set to do as much as possible, so that whenever he's able to get back home - he can just eat and sleep.

Since we had no running water, our neighbors who have a whole house generator, opened up their home to us and most of the other neighbors. Of course I didn't want to take advantage & go every day - so we had some stinky days in between where baby wipes had to do.

May I recommend Huggies One Wipe Cucumber Green Tea wipes?

I know this doesn't seem like a lot - but when you're in it, along with all the emotional stuff - it's really overwhelming.

Now that you have a little bit of my day - I can now tell you what I'm grateful for!

Strength.  God has given me some fairly large challenges in my life.  Ones I've come through, clearly more knowledgeable than I was aware - until now.  I'm a survivor.  I know how to stoke a fire.  I know how to start a fire.  I know how much wood to put into the stove before bed time that the stove won't over heat, nor will it burn out by morning without leaving me hot embers.  Not only do I have the ability to get my butt up and out of bed to do things, but I know what I need to do and I do it!

Wonderful neighbors.  Our neighbors helped with the things I wasn't able to do - like start the generator.  I had no clue what to do.  I didn't know to read the fuel gauge (don't laugh).  After watching my one neighbor start it for me, I realized I had the right idea - I just wasn't pulling out the choke far enough.  Lesson learned & I can start it without bothering anyone.  Thankful!

Although I spent the majority of the days after the hurricane alone because hubby has been working his tail off, I am grateful that he has a job to go to AND that I still have one to go to when I am finally able to go back.

I am incredibly thankful that the US Navy allowed my son to call home, while out to sea, to be sure we were OK.  Just hearing his voice for 5 minutes almost made me forget how crappy things were.

I'm thankful that even though folks around me have some pretty major tree damage, our home and property were spared.

My kids & the neighborhood kids - Ah.May.ZING!  These kids have been so incredibly well behaved.  I feel like I've gained some new kids as we've all been in each other's houses so much.  It's like a giant family.  The kids have adapted and never complained.  Not about being bored, no about being cold (and it's cold) nothing.

Now, in retrospect - as it's a few months later and I'm finishing this post - what a big baby I was to complain about no power when so many are left without a home.

It's the new year.  As I finish off this post it's Friday, January 4, 2013.

I look back at 2012 and am thankful in so many ways that the year is behind me.  Some of it has played out in my blog... other stuff, well - it's not for the world.  I've come through smarter and stronger.

Today, I sit in my warm, well lit office in front of a computer powered by almighty electricity.  I had my lunch at my desk.  I have a warm coat to put on.  A well maintained vehicle to drive to my home, that is still in one piece and I say Thank you God for sparing me and my family.

I have SO INCREDIBLY MUCH to be thankful for - more than I've ever realized.

...and I'm thankful for the opportunity to really count my blessings, which you are all a part of.

Wishing you much love, thanks, health, happiness and moments to be thankful for.

Big Wet Smoochies to all of you!


  1. U R right, seems like so little compared to others loss, but it was 7+ days without power. We were lucky and had water and gas. Gas to cook, hot water heater so we had showers, and a gas fireplace provided plenty of heat. We had battaries and a portable radio, and internet in the Lowes parking lot...but no damage at all.

  2. You are so amazing to see all of the silver linings in an otherwise disastrous situation Jenn. You absolutely amaze me. I'm in awe of your sunny outlook!!

  3. You are a much stronger person than I! I had to go without power for only 4 days a couple years back (in the summer mind you) and you would have thought that I thought the world had ended! lol. I try to keep my prissiness to a minimum, but sometimes, especially with 2 little ones it comes through. You are what I would hope to be though in a true disaster :)

  4. Wow! I feel like a huge whiny wuss after reading this, lol! I think the longest I have ever gone without power was for about 4-5 hours. Luckily we don't get hurricanes here in the PNW so it's rare for the power to be out for more than a couple of hours max. I admire you!

  5. Hello i found yo through the TGIF linky.

    What a great post and follow up. Sounds like you're amazing in your ability to transform when needed.


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