Take my Money, just let me keep my Electricity!

Bob in Snow MazeAs I sit here typing this, the DC is getting yet another 10-20 inches of snow – on top of the 2+ feet we just got! I don’t know where you live, but this is craziness for us. I think we got like 5 inches total last year ;)

But as I “work from home” for the 4th business day in a row, I’m realizing just how much I could care less about money right now. I know it’ll change when all this is over, but at this moment there’s only one thing I really REALLY want to keep right now – ELECTRICITY.

If Benjamin Franklin were still around I’d pay him back in so much beer he would have never invented another thing! haha… I’m telling you, the second you lose electricity you realize just how wonderful it is.

Think about it – without electricity we can’t:

  • Keep warm (or at least w/ our set up)
  • Keep our food from going rotten
  • SEE (unless you got mad candles)
  • Take hot showers
  • Cook (if you have an electric stove)
  • Use the Internet!
  • Blog/Check emails
  • Use online banking to do online banking stuff
  • Use the ATM to get out cash
  • “Work from home” (you like how I keep quoting that?)

And on and on and on. You can have a billion dollars in the bank, but without electricity these days you couldn’t even access it. Electricity is totally my currency right now, and I just pray we have enough to weather the storm – literally! So if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know what I ran out of… even the iPhone dies after a while :(

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  1. Mama Geek February 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    As fellow 'DC area' residents, we can sympathize (especially Mr, who has too do the shoveling). Fortunately most of the power lines around here are buried, so I think our neighborhood can be okay.

    But yeah, our house would come to a grinding halt if we lost electricity. Mr couldn't work (telecommuter), I couldn't work (sewing machine needs to run), we'd have a hard time entertaining ourselves (I'm on a book buying hiatus and most of our board games are on the computer/Wii) and we have an electric stove, so it would be sammiches and cereal for us. The only things we'd have are light (mad candles, yo) and food (thanks to the large freezer known as our backyard.)

  2. Brandi February 10, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    That is a CRAP ton of snow! And I thought we were getting too much snow here in Kansas!

    Good luck. At least 'working from home' has a bunch of upsides :)

  3. 20smoney February 10, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Such moments make us realize how dependent we are on "the system" — how many D.C. residents will buy a generator after the snow thaws?

  4. Kitchen Penguin February 10, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    (The reader formally known as hygd here.)We lost power for about 12 hours on Saturday. We were expecting for it to happen, we lose power during most major storms, so we pre-heated the house to 75ºF (I'm not looking forward to the next gas bill). Thank goodness we did because indoor temperatures dropped to 50ºF before the power came back on. I threw all the perishable food from the fridge into coolers and stashed said coolers on the front porch (covered) so I could use our butane camp stove to keep DBF and I fed and full of warm liquids.

    The biggest thing I missed during those 12 hours was having hot running water; it's hard to efficiently wash dishes with cold water.

    DBF managed to get to Silver Spring for work on Monday but I didn't dare drive to Baltimore. We both made it in yesterday but we're telecommuting today. *crosses fingers that the power and Comcast hold* I'm SO ready for my trip to Hawaii this weekend.

  5. Mrs. Frugal February 10, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Oh I feel for you. In December we had a freak storm here in CA that left us 2+ feet of snow. We lost power for four days which also meant no water for us since we're on a well that uses an electric pump. I've never been so grateful for anything as I was when the lights flickered back on and we had power.

  6. Investing Newbie February 10, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Be careful with those candles! I'm from NYC and when we had the Blackout in 2003, a family friend's house caught on fire because she decided to overdo it with the candles.

    It is important to see, but maybe sitting in the dark for a bit is actually safer. LOL!

  7. Evan February 10, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    I am on Long Island…We are getting hit right now, off from work. I will go ape sh!t if we lose power, I will have nothing to do.

  8. J. Money February 10, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    @Mama Geek – Forgot about our natural coolers outside – good call ;)
    @Brandi – Yeah, upside I get to blog and stuff, but downside in that I'm realizing that blogging full-time isn't as fun and exciting as I thought it would be. I miss seeing people! haha…
    @20smoney – I'm def. attached to the system. I always think about generators but I know I'll never get one unless i see it on crazy sale somewhere. no idea what to even do with the thing (i'm bad w/ tools and such).
    @Kitchen Penguin – Hey! love the new name :) Didn't realize you were in the area, very cool. And CRAZY that he tried to get into work on Monday! haha….I didn't even consider it. we left once in the past 5 days and that was enough excitement out there….crazy drivers/panicky people all over. Should start getting better tomorrow! And even more so in Hawaii!!! lucky girl :)
    @Mrs. Frugal – Holy crap, 4 days?! Scary scary scary, can't even fathom that. you must be in northern CA somewhere eh? Good for skiing if you were in the mood ;)
    @Investing Newbie – Woah, yeah def. not good. Only thing that worries me is our cats roaming around getting curious w/ the flames….one of ours will gladly "try to catch it" as it flickers! haha…silly things.
    @Evan – Strong Island baby! Haven't been there in years – would love to go back but only in Summer/Spring time ;) Fingers cross you guys keep the power!

  9. Lulu February 10, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    @ J Money. Mad candles? Shame, shame shame on you!!! *puts J to kneel in the corner*.

    Frugal and safer than candles: those LED crank flashlights. I got mine at Walmart…..they are:
    * brighter than regular flashlights
    *safer than candles
    *NEVER need batteries
    * crank up and last long

    Next time you venture out go get yourself one…they are slightly more expensive in the manner that rechargeable batteries are more expensive than regular…..but you never need to buy batteries.

    They even have some with radios!!! Got one for the car and one for home and LOVE them.

    Oh yeah…and keep warm.

  10. family finance February 10, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Also living in the DC area… I still can't figure out how people's food gets rotten in this type of weather. You have freezing temperatures, if your electricity goes out, take out a cooler or some sort of container, fill it with snow and keep your food cold. We had the coldest beers of the season by putting it in the snow the other day(yum!)

    As for other electric needs… if you are really in a bind, and have gasoline in your car… turn it on. It'll at least provide temporary heat and electricity.

    But you're right we are WAY too dependent on the network.

  11. mapgirl February 10, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Dude. You need to read up on emergency kits. I had a post a while ago for them. Boyfriend and I have a mega ton of camping gear so we can shelter in place for a while as long as we've got food to eat.

    Our cable/internet went out the other day when I was at the office. As long as I have power and internet, I can work from home. That's my big worry right now. You know that we're supposed to get 50mph winds tomorrow? That's going to down a lot of trees. There were already at least 5 trees downed around town that I saw. When I say 'downed' I mean, 'cracked in the trunk and going to die.' It was really bad.

  12. Andy February 10, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    Sounds like you need a generator to escape your electricity insecurities :)

    But I hear you man. Living in the DC area myself, spring cannot come soon enough.

  13. Dee Dee February 10, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    I'm from northern Wisconsin and while we don't routinely get 36 inches of snow at a time, it is not unusual for us to get a boatload over night and we don't even close school!! Oddly enough we lost power here about 10 years ago and were with out power for 6 days. We had straight line winds go through and we personally lost 16 huge trees in our yard. This was during the middle of summer which made things extremely difficult because we were trying to keep food from spoiling. I found that we managed very well except for the stress over what to do to try and keep food cold. We cooked on the grill, took showers at the community center, and washed clothes at the laundromat. After about day #3 we were finally able to secure the use of a generator which we ran just to keep the freezer going, (by this time we had lost everything in the fridge.) We have our own well, but because it runs with an electric pump, we had no running water…which you can survive…except that also means that you can not flush your toilets. Oh any I really really missed being able to vacuum!! Sounds crazy, but at the time I had two small boys and well there was a lot of tracking in!

  14. JacobRios February 11, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    I'm here in Silver Spring, MD. Feeling the effects of the second storm as well. Luckily, I haven't lost electricity.

    I have plenty of beer in the fridge, and plenty of food to eat. Good luck!

  15. LeanLifeCoach February 11, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    As an ex-NoVa. resident I can honestly say I am happy not to be suffering the current storm. I remember many of them over the 20+ years I lived in the metro area. What I don't get J. is that you didn't just move their from the tropics. You know it happens, why not be prepared? You are prepared for financial challenges, you should also prepare for others. We've lived on both coasts, north and south. No matter where we go we always have an emergency pack ready for what might be thrown at us. When in DC this included staple foods, extra sets of warm clothes and kerosene heater. You have all the water and refrigeration you need outside. Electricity is really nice but in the end it is a luxury.

  16. Anonymous February 11, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    J: My wife is full-term. This storm freaks me out! Two of my very large Japanese maples are probably dead ($3000 value each) and a large window was cracked. And it's a custom size Anderson. Ugh $500.

    Several of my pine trees lost 50%+ of their branches and now I have some very ugly trunks that will probably need to be torn down too.

    I've been cranking all of our furnaces on full blast 24/7 to get the house a little warmer just in case.

  17. J. Money February 10, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    @LuLu – frugal and safer?! gotta like that! maybe you should come over here and go shopping with me :) that way i get all your secrets!
    @family finance – you had me at beer :) but your car warming up idea reminded me i could charge the iPhone in there too as to be always connected! haha…oh, and you should come to our blogger happy hours one day – you'd have fun.
    @mapgirl – woahhhh it's already windy as hell out! i had to close my eyes and get kneel down while out there shoveling out my car cuz it was like a freakin' blizzard! i was really hoping to go to work tomorrow but now even that is looking less likely…..and now you know what to give me for my birthday – one of your survival kits
    @Andy – I cannot WAIT! i love the snow, but i really just want to be able to take walks in the warmth again…….smoking a cigar!

  18. Brad February 11, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Haha! We are getting slammed pretty hard in VA this year too. I love it but have to admit that my fear of losing electricity hit me harder now that most of my work involves the computer.

    we lost power for about 6 hours the other day and I felt like I almost hit full panic mode. LOL Not really but it was almost like getting an unexpected punch to the groin. LOL Okay, not really again, but you get my point…I hope! Let's just say I was kind of lost during that time.

    It made me want to take a nap though. Great post J as always man!

  19. Sandi February 11, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    Watching the news… they're showing pics of DC. I don't envy you one bit. The rain storms around here can get pretty bad, and we do get some flooding in the Sacramento area, but no snow really. We did lose power for over a day a few years ago, and that was terrible.

  20. Bucksome February 11, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Hopefully you survived the storm with electricity intact. You reminded me of the difference of power outages in the west versus colder areas.

    Sometimes the grid gets overwhelmed here on hot days due to all the air conditioners running so there can be power outages.

    I remember some years back this happening and so we decided to go to the beach since for some of Mother Nature's breezes. It was nice to get away from our TV, ec. and be outside.

  21. J. Money February 11, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    @Dee Dee – Vacuum? hahah…yeah, def. sounds strange ;) but then again, I don't have kiddies running all over the place yet. glad you guys came out of it okay! very very freaky.
    @JacobRios – I think we may have weathered it my man! the sun is now shining and we still have power :)
    @LeanLifeCoach – "You are prepared for financial challenges, you should also prepare for others." haha…indeed! it seems i suck at being prepared for things non-financial ;) I guess it just never crosses my mind until i'm in the middle of it?
    @Anonymous – Oh wow, but it's now all over my friend!!! Rejoice!!!! Time for sunlight and getting as back to normal as we can ;)
    @Brad – Haha….I think most of us get what you're talking about my man – at least us bloggers ;) Hope it lasted through the night!
    @Sandi – It was def. crazy here – thought I was gonna get blown away while out cleaning up my car! total white out at times, but a great experience to go through. maybe once in a lifetime even? :)
    @Bucksome – Thx, we survived! And that SUCKS when I hear about those power grids going down and stuff over the Summer :( Happened when I was in NYC once and everyone was freakin' out….felt so bad for the elderly & sick :(

  22. A.B. February 13, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    I have to second the info about the emergency kit, especially the crank flashlight. We have an LED lantern with batteries and a crank for recharging, built in radio for emergency alerts AND you can use the crank to recharge your cell phone (which would eliminate the worry about your dying iphone). It only cost us $20 at Walmart.

  23. J. Money February 13, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    OOoooh really? I will add it to my wish list! thanks! :)

  24. Stella February 14, 2010 at 5:14 AM

    I used to live in the D.C. area. Moved to L.A. ten years ago. Don't miss snow one little bit!

  25. J. Money February 18, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    @Stella – MMmmmm nice and warm over where you are. Will be soaking it up next month when I (hopefully) get out that way ;)