Friday, June 24, 2011

Power Struggle

Honestly, I had the best intentions. I had a few days this week that were looking promising to resume working on my daughter's college quilt. (Pretty soon you're going to get tired of looking at the same blocks! There's nothing new!) I went grocery shopping on Tuesday and after I got home I was going to try to get some sewing time in and see if working on this pink and brown quilt would inspire me to get back into things a little.

Well, one thing led to another and pretty soon I was over at my friend Julia's house taking some photos of a couple of quilts she wanted to show me (photos of pretty quilts next time on the blog). Then it was time to drive my son over to the bike shop to pick up his spiffy new bike we bought him as a graduation gift and then run by the Post Office and bank.

They're doing some heavy duty construction on two major roads near my house and traffic is ridiculous and backed up at all times. Of course I have to take one of these roads every time I go anywhere, there are no other options unless I want to drive miles out of my way to bypass it all which usually ends up taking just as long. It's sooo frustrating but one of the things you learn to put up with if you live near Chicago in the Spring and Summer I guess. There's an old local joke that says: Chicago has 2 seasons - Winter and Construction . . .  . This time it's almost right in my backyard though and I have to deal with it on a  daily basis, often many times during the day. Tempers flare and tension is high on the streets of the suburbs . . .

Then it was time to make dinner and so no quilting got done. Tuesday night a couple of severe storms came through northern Illinois and our power went out.

( Pause here for a sigh and some major whining - Hey, you have to admit, at least this time I'm not whining about my health. )

It often  takes a small electrical crisis just to make me aware of how lucky I am to live in this century. I stopped to think that Adelia and her family would not have been affected as much. She had a treadle sewing machine and went without electricity ALL THE TIME in the 1860s.

So, anyway, the severe storms rolled through with tornado warnings in our area and we all went into the basement, fearing the worst. Nothing too terrible happened and I know it could have been much, much worse. Some areas near me got hit hard but all we suffered was a few tree branches down in the backyard by the time it was over. Oh, that and the POWER WENT OUT, did I mention that already?

I get CRAZY when the power goes out. You can tell I'm not much of a camper. I like my hair dryer and computer. And reading with a light. (You know I love reading about the 19th century but I wouldn't have lasted a week if I had to live back then.) Now, I know I'm whining here because really, we did not suffer any devastation like some have experienced recently across the country and I cannot even imagine what it would be like to see our house taken out by a tornado. So I know I'm very lucky. But everyone I talked to around here had the same feeling - we are so dependent on our electricity that it almost cripples us when we don't have it.  

Not only do I miss light and television and the computer, but my electric stove, coffee maker, microwave and the refrigerator. Ah, the REFRIGERATOR. Everything spoiled in the 2 days we were without power even though we had kept it shut. And remember, I had JUST gone shopping so the frig and freezer were full. I wanted to cry. I did cry, it was so frustrating. And no, we never bought that generator we talked about getting after this happened when the last storm took out the power . . . Stupid now that I think about it. We usually file a claim with the power company to get reimbursed for the cost of the food that has spoiled but this time I heard that over 300,000 homes were without power in our area these last few days and so I wonder if that's even feasible this time. Some are still doing without. And, I know, I'm whining about a few days here.

Lots of homes around here with fallen trees. The cut  logs piled up are from a tree that had fallen onto their car.

Here's how spoiled I am - the most inconvenient things over the past few days were:

+   Feeling yucky because I could not dry and style my hair.

 +  Having to sit in that horrible construction traffic every morning to find someplace that was open to get a decent cup of coffee. Every McDonalds and Starbucks within a several mile radius was closed because of the power outage. There was a long, long line at the Dunkin' Donuts (Yes! We're OPEN) but I braved it even though the whole process took over an hour to get there and back home. That's how much I love coffee.

+ Competing with others to get a good chair (near an electrical outlet) at the local Barnes & Noble  so my daughter and I  could  charge our phones and I could check e-mail on my laptop. Everyone was there. Trust me, you didn't want to get up or you'd lose your chair within a second.

+  Having to either eat out (Construction! Traffic! Let's just stay home . . .) or rummage through the pantry for non-perishables to eat. Guess how many Cheez-its you can consume if you're hungry and there's nothing else??

+ Sharing the only book light in the house with the rest of  my family.

+ Having to drive to a friend's house (with wet hair) with my hair dryer, curling brush and makeup so I could look decent for a lecture I had to give to a guild last night. They would NOT have wanted to see me in a baseball cap and ponytail . . .

But, as I said, we were lucky. And the lights finally went on last night. You can see so many of the trees that were damaged within a few blocks of us.

 Almost every other house had a tree down.

Sad,  really. Here's a photo of our house taken before the storm.

As I mentioned, we did not get any damage so it looks the same. But see the tree? Every time I walk out my door and look at it I'm reminded that 18 years ago a beautiful old tree in our front yard was destroyed by a similar storm. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and shortly after she was born we replaced it with a new Maple sapling and named it "Caitlin's Tree" in celebration of her birth. It's been fun watching both of them grow together over the years. I tease her that only one of them grew to be tall.

I'll have to try that quilting thing again soon. I guess that quilt's just going to take me a little while longer than I thought.


Bonnie said...

I'm with you -- I wouldn't have lasted long in the 1800's either. If you have another power outage remember that Panera's also has wifi and outlets available. How do I know -- one time we were without electricity in the Poconos in late October -- ended up being 4 days but we left the morning of the fourth day. Every day DH would drive off to work and I would stay home and freeze my... well you get the idea.

You'll get some quilting time soon. Of course, you, like me, might need to step away from the computer to succeed with quilting time! B.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Bonnie, you know I love my coffee and my computer LOL. Too hard to give up! My fans need me to tell them stories!

Heartsdesire said...

We do indeed need you to tell us stories. So glad to see your house was spared during the storm. Living on the west coast of Vancouver Island, we see our fair share of rain and strong winds but, luckily, no tornadoes. I can't imagine what that must be like. BTW, I'll never get tired of looking at any of your quilt blocks.

Deb said...

I'm glad to you hear you are okay. I am a Midwesterner also (Omaha) where we are dealing with storms and floods. UGH. So far, no power outages. I have been fortunate to not have had to deal with the daily frustrations you have--but isn't it amazing how those "little" things like no coffee, no hot water, not styling hair--really make a difference on your daily outlook? I guess if we had to get used to 19th century life style, we would eventually. But, for me...I prefer to pick and choose what parts of it I will keep. Old houses? Yes. Porch swings? Yes. No running water? No!

Cheers to you!
Deb from

Kathleen Tracy said...

Deb, I'm with you all the way. Love those old quilts and houses too but wouldn't want to repair or rehab one.

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

I'll have to check with my sister. She lives in the western suburbs and was out of town for the last week. We truly are spoiled and nearly everything is electric. I really don't like having everything electric in my home because of that problem. However, where I live, the houses are ALL electric. I'm camping now, so we have had to do without computer access at times and I don't like it either. We have stopped at McDonald's because of the free wi-fi and sometimes it is very bad, so it is not much good at all. We also can't get phone reception while camping in national or state parks. We have a generator with our camper, so we can run that for electricity (for sewing or reading) and our frig runs on gas/electric/battery, so that really helps. Thank goodness that your house didn't get damaged. Two days without power is awful. Good luck with the quilt!!

Susie said...

Hope you can get back to stitching soon. I don't like losing power, either, especially in the winter. We did without for 3 days from a winter ice storm and froze............5 kids and no flushing potties.........I don't want to do that again!

Merilyn said...

I hate being without power too, but have never had to suffer without it for 2 days, oh my gosh!!! I have a few vintage oil lamps that I can light (left over from when I used to live in the bush without electricity) and I have a gas stove and cook-top, so apart from the fridge I can suffer through it for a few hours without too much inconvenience!!! I think a small generator is definitely the go, in fact, I just might look around for one myself now that you mention it!!!!LOL
I hope things have settled down for you now, and that you can at least sew a few stitches!!!!

Mary said...

I was gone when the storm happened. My son lives in Rogers Park and was on way home from work when it happened. He said it looked like there was fireworks going off. He was glad when he got home. Looking forward to seeing you at Prairie Star this coming week.

Lyn said...

I know what you mean about lack of power. Last time I lost power I kept coming up with things to do that required power. And stitching on anything by candlelight, flashlight, or oil lamp is beyond my eyes! This year, however, I am prepared with a small battery powered LED lantern that will last (so it says) for 72 hours on high, which is bright enough for me to stitch or read by.

cheri back to larkrise said...

Hi Kathleen, It's amazing how use to appliances and electricity and how lost we are with out it. I understand how inconvenient Life can be. We had a wildfire in Crest and after it was over no water it was contaminated , no electricity and worse no T.V .That went on for weeks. About 200 Burned up homes all over the place.We were lucky! it was horrible but one thing I learned always have kerosene lanterns and have lamp oil. Those neat antique lanterns are worth using. The experience made me think at the time that Abraham Lincoln read books by candle light and if it's good enough for him it was good enough for me. But boy I know why people went to bed early with no electricty! Great pictures of the storm and the poor tree.


Related Posts with Thumbnails