So, last week, when we had a minor situation at our home, I was blown away by how far off the mark I was about our families' preparedness.
The power company called. This should have been my little alarm going off, racking my brain, thinking of what we'd need to do to prepare for this seemingly minor inconvenience. They were scheduling an outage for our area for anywhere between 1-3 hours. Great. We can handle that. "Thanks for the call. Goodbye." After I hung up, I wrote it off, thinking of some activities to do outside, since it would be during daylight hours; knowing that I should not plan a supper in the crockpot or something that requires day-long cooking.
So, the power turns off. I go for a glass of water--oh yeah! The pump for the well is powered by electricity. Shoot! I'm thirsty and there's no water for a few hours. Oh well, we have a few bottles here and there, anywhere from 1/4 full to 3/4, varying from gallons to 10 oz. bottles. So, I can make it. My son can make it.
The power comes back on in a reasonably short time. I go for water, again. NO WATER. I still just write it off, knowing that it sputters and squirts and takes a while to "recharge."
Six hours go by since the electricity came back on. Still. No. Water. Now it's kind of bugging me. Of course, I have a sink + 1/2 the counter full of dirty dishes. [I was going to wash them during naptime, which was during the outage.] I have a MOUND of laundry to do. [I have no routine, I just wash it as it adds up. It had been a busy week, so it added up!] My son and I hadn't showered yet that day. [We wait until we're done with the days' dirty work to shower, unless we go to town.] Oh, and it's 2 days before Easter. [Because why wouldn't it happen over a holiday weekend!]
It turned out that our pump was going to need replacing (we knew this last fall, but the well driller said we could limp through winter and then dig a whole new well in the spring.) So, that old dilapidated pump lost prime during the outage. Apparently, they are nearly impossible to gain prime again once this happens and they are old and crumby. So, what started out as a small annoyance was now an issues of larger proportions.
It took 2 days to get a well drilled. We live in a snowy region so naturally, we had to start a small fire to draw the frost out of the well site the night before. We managed showers at the local gym we are members at, and we did some laundry at the local laundromat. We melted some snow for water for the dishes. We also melted two 5 gallon pails of snow to use for flushing the toilet. We also went outside--just like camping! And dogs! Which I'm totally okay with, but when it's 2 a.m. and there is still snow out there, not to mention it's hovering around zero, I'd rather not venture out. Spoiled American that I am. We were able to drive 10 miles to the local bar/restaurant and get burgers the first night for supper. They also let us fill a gallon jug with drinking water to get us through the first night. And, thankfully, since the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I DID have a manual cloth diaper washing machine! Big score there! Read about it here.
We were lucky in some ways that we are experiencing a "harder" winter than usual, with snow on the ground longer this year than what we've been spoiled with in years past. It made watering the horses and dogs possible. It made doing the dishes easier. We DO live near a flowing well, so we could have made do during a non-snowy month too, but the snow sure made things convenient. We also burn wood as our primary heat source and we DO keep that stocked really well [thanks mostly to my high-energy hubby!]
After it was all said and done, it wasn't really that big of a deal. It was something that we knew we'd have to do soon, so the added expense of a new well wasn't unforeseen. The thing that made me freak out was how unprepared we were! So, I learned a few things...
1) Not to be lax on my daily chores. [added stress of dishes and laundry could have been avoided]
2) Have a plan in order for when these things happen. [lost power, lose water, lose phone, etc.]
3) Have an emergency kit! [for EMERGENCIES! Tornadoes, Blizzards, outages, etc.]
4) Preventative Maintenance! [check smoke alarms, have CO detectors, fire extinguishers, make sure things are working correctly to begin with and NOT put off repairs!]
5) Embrace small "hardships" so that you can get better at preparing for big ones! [this really WAS like camping in some ways - even posh camping, since we were still in beds, indoors! So, we made it an adventure.]
Do you prepare? Have you had an experience that could have been much more costly to fix?