Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Would You Do?

What would you do if you woke up one morning with no running water? You call the landlord or the water company and noone answers the phone. Or maybe the phone doesn't work. You go talk to one of those neighbors you never talk to and find out they also don't have any water. The power is out as well. The whole block has no utilities. What will you do? Will you work together to solve the problem?

Where will you get water if not from your faucet? What will you do when your toilet doesn't flush? Where will your waste go? How will you cook your food? Or keep it cold? How will you keep your family warm in the winter and cool in the summer if the central heat and AC don't work? Do you have a back up plan if this ever happens to you?

Could it happen? Yes, it could.

Think about the resources you take for granted every day. Water, food, electricity, waste disposal, transportation. What is your plan if any or all of these resources disappears? Look in your cupboards. How long will your family survive on what you have stored there? Do you have a way to cook when your electric stove stops working? How long can you go without food and water? Do you know? Do you have a storage of water for emergencies? Do you have a way to provide light or heat if a storm knocks the power out for a few days? How about 30 days? What if it went out and never came back on? What if you drive to the gas station and they are out of gas? Every gas station in town suddenly closes or raises their prices to ridiculous heights because gas is scarce. What will you do? Or, you put your trash out on the curb but the trash pickup never happens. Weeks go by and the trash builds up. Now what?

Most people don't think about these things. Should we? Shouldn't we all have a back up plan?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finding Peace

There is a certain peacefulness and reassurance feeling of a fire in a woodstove. The smell and the warmth combined relax me and ease the stress that comes from everything suddenly going wrong...

The kids and I have temporarily moved in to the guest house. Ever since we got home from Thanksgiving travels, everything has decided to malfunction. The heater for the new trailer was taken to the shop for repair. Jamie found a replacement part cheaper than what the repair shop had it for and we'll hopefully have it working within a week. The water heater refused to come back on and then the solar power system started doing strange things. (Thankfully after I got in a good day of sewing!) I was so cold yesterday that I could not keep my hands warm enough to do anything with them. I was so cold that I couldn't think. I ended up putting the kids in the car and driving into Livermore to sit in the warm library for a few hours using their electricity. When I got home, we moved into the guest house so that we could be warm while trying to come up with a plan.

The lesson I have learned this month is that modern RV travel trailers are very reliant on electricity. The oven & stove seem to do ok on only propane, but the fridge, heater and water heater all need electricity to run even though they are propane appliances. I find this rather irritating. I think you all should consider yourselves warned. So, we've got a fix for the heater. Now what do we do about the water heater? I'm not sure. If Shannon and Jamie can both look at the thing and get frustrated, I'm not sure that I could do much better. As far as the electricity goes, I am thinking a generator is a good backup for times like these and am going to go shopping for one as soon as possible. I have a feeling that life will just happen this way whenever I feel like I might have some extra cash soon. Lesson #2 is to have a better emergency fund plan and don't get my hopes up too soon.

So here I am, using Shannon's generator to run my computer and enjoying the comforting warmth of the guest house wood stove. I sure would love to have a wood stove of my own. (I actually am planning to get a small one for my trailer, where I have my studio and the kids' playroom.)