Adventures in Power Outages with Toddlers

This past week there was a wind storm in Maine. The always over-reacting meteorologists told us there would “definitely be power outages.”

Yada yada yada.

So we filled up some water bottles, considered running the dishwasher, and then decided, nah – it’s only half full. We dug out a flashlight or two, and then we went to bed and listened to the wind and waited.

Our sink, 2 days into the power outage. Guess we should have run the dishwasher…

At 2am the power flickered. NBD.

Then at 4am it went out. Commence shrieking from the girls’ room.

I will never understand how a four year old in a deep sleep (i.e. EYES CLOSED) can be woken up so suddenly by her nightlight going out. But… believe me, they can.

And they will. And the screaming will go on and on despite back rubbing and singing and soothing until her little sister wakes up and starts screaming, too.

Eventually we got a flashlight propped up on the dresser and everyone went back to bed. Except the dog who appeared to be anticipating the apocalypse.

The next day we fumbled around in the dark, complained about not being able to shower, and flushed our toilets with the contents of a 5 gallon bucket stored in our closet from a storm last winter. Then I went to work and Mia went to gymnastics and everyone assumed the power would be back before we got home.


The power did not come back for 4 days.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to live with two toddlers for four days without power (or water or cell service, since we have a well that relies on a pump powered by electricity and a house so far in the sticks that there is no cell reception without wifi calling and no wifi during a power outage) it is shitty. Literally. As in full of shit.

Day one went ok. We struggled (without internet or cell service) to figure out if my work would be open and whether Mia’s gym was holding classes. But Dan was able to take a quick trip to the end of our road and get enough signal to find out that yes, both my work and Mia’s gym had power. 480,000 other homes in Maine, however, were out. Our fence had blown down and two trees were resting perilously on downed power lines in our neighborhood.

Greely Road Ext, 24 hours after the storm

I knew this was a bad sign because with 480,000 households waiting to get power back (and the entire town of Cumberland blacked out including the schools, fire station, traffic lights, etc.) a small dead end road with 30 something houses and two downed trees was not likely to be a priority.

I was right.

Eating dinner by pumpkin light (hand-washing with wipes)

Day two is when shit started to hit the fan, literally. Mia woke up and had to go number two. While she went I attempted to locate the “flush bucket,” which was empty. While I ran around the house trying to figure out what I could use to flush the toilet, I heard screaming from upstairs. There had been a wiping incident. Not a pretty one. And there was no water.

Makeshift fridge

On the morning of day 3, the kids were screaming for milk. I pulled the gallon we had salvaged out of the ice-packed cooler (the fridge and freezer were officially warm) and poured two sippy cups. Mia refused hers, saying it tasted yucky. I smelled it, it seemed fine, and Lucy guzzled hers so I assumed Mia was just being difficult. Wrong. Approximately one hour later, as I buckled the girls into their carseats, Lucy projectile vomited ALL. OVER. EVERYTHING.

And still, no water.

I called Dan in a panic, and eventually got inside the vomit filled car and drove 30 minutes to my in-law’s house in South Portland, where they graciously ran a bath for Lucy, washed her carseat, and handed me a large container of lysol wipes for my car.

The final day without power proved to be slightly less shitty, as the girl’s daycare was back open, I was able to shower at my work (and get over my fear of showering one floor away from all my coworkers) and power was restored before I even got home.

All in all the whole experience could have been MUCH worse, especially considering everything going on in Puerto Rico right now. So I feel lucky in that sense. And also in the sense that our neighborhood, and entire community really came together to help each other out. We had dozens of offers from people with power or generators to come over and shower, brew coffee, make dinner, and even sleep over.

Neighborhood Halloween, sans power

So despite all the shit, the reality is that we are incredibly blessed. And we are also incredibly in search of a generator and an electrician to install it. #callme







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