Last weekend we had a "scrapbooking" group in that had rented the whole lodge for 3 days. These gals have been here every year for the last 11 or so years, so they knew the drill. Dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner, crop all night, breakfast in the morning, crop all day, dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner...
Things were going normally until the last night, about halfway between "wine or beer" and "crop all night", when the lights all flickered. The wind was howling, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but I lit some candles and ground a bunch of coffee, just in case the power blinkages turned into power outages.
Then, "LET THERE BE DARK" and there was. Boy, was there.
We handed the gals that were still up watching movies and cropping their pictures an assortment of flashlights, and they all went to bed, giggling like it was a slumber party. Not too much different than usual, just a little earlier. Juanita and I stoked the fires, set up a bunch of battery operated lanterns, pulled out the frozen stuff we would need the next morning (just in case the microwave still wasn't working in the morning) and then we read for an hour or two by lamplight. And went to bed.
When we woke up the next morning, it was still dark. We re-stoked the fires and cooked breakfast. We have a gas oven/range/griddle just for this sort of thing, so breakfast was wonderful and on time. Several of the gals said when they woke up and the power was still off, they were sure it was going to be cold cereal in Styrofoam bowls. HA! NEVER!
We fed them and as it was their last day, they packed up and headed home after breakfast. They went home to their houses with electricity. We stayed at the lodge in the dark. After a while, I started to worry about the food in the refrigerator. The temperature in the ice box was up to 52 degrees, and climbing. So I closed the door to the kitchen, opened the kitchen window (outside temp was in the 20's), and WAH-LAH! The temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees. I opened the fridge door and WAH-LAH! Cold food.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around and wishing we could do laundry, vacuum the floors, run the dishwasher... You know, all of those chores that need power. We finally drove down to Fort Collins to bake our oldest son's birthday cake at his house 'cause, well, he had power.
After the party at his house, we drove back home, lit some more candles (fortunately we had no guests in THAT night), re-stoked the fires and went to bed early and read by flashlight until bedtime.
We woke up the next morning, re-stoked the fires, lit some more lanterns, swept the floors, answered phone calls about a neighboring lodge that was burning to the ground, and pretty much hung out in the dark. It was becoming more of a chore than an adventure at this point.
When the lights came on a little before noon, I closed the kitchen window and started vacuuming the floors, while Juanita started laundry and the dishwasher.
If this had happened in the summer, we could have lost hundreds of dollars in groceries in the fridge and freezer, 'cause I wouldn't be able to cool the stuff down by opening the window. The fires in the fireplace and wood burning stove kept it a toasty 65 degrees in here. It could have been a whole lot worse.
I bought a generator yesterday. It won't run the whole lodge, but by gum, our ice cream ain't gunna melt.
Priorities, you know.