The accidental pioneer woman

The last few days have been a bit challenging. We got hit by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy and while I’m grateful that the house didn’t sustain any serious damage, trees in this wooded area did as they are wont to do and fell on the power lines. We haven’t had power since Monday. This meant no heat, no hot water and, as my 3-year-old discovered to his great dismay, all television shows require power. He ran through the list of them, asking “Does Chuggington use power? Does Franklin use power?” Yep, kid, all of them. Our babysitter couldn’t make it out for the past two days, school was canceled and my husband left on Sunday for a business trip to get out ahead of the storm. In his defense, it was for a meeting with someone who is actually a household name, and that I would have liked to meet too if our situations were reversed, so I gave it the OK. But the result is that I’ve been experiencing the pioneer life with three small, cold and occasionally cranky children for…oh, who’s counting the hours? We played outside in the rain once the wind died down, and read a lot of books by flashlight. We ate cold mac and cheese that I’d made ahead of time (it’s the modern equivalent of having a deer you shot preserved in the cellar). We muddled through all right until last night when the temperature started dropping rapidly. The boys could stay under blankets; babies aren’t so good at that. So she wound up in bed with me, and we slept fitfully until 4 a.m. when she woke, feverish (did I mention she’s been sick?), nursed for half an hour and still wouldn’t be consoled. Fun times.

But the power came back on about an hour ago, the meat in the freezer was mostly still frozen solid, and our babysitter showed up this morning so I could take a tepid shower and a nap. I can also now see the photos of communities destroyed by the hurricane, and that puts my accidental pioneer woman experience in perspective. I hope everyone reading this weathered the storm all right.



13 Responses to The accidental pioneer woman


  1. Rinna says:

    Glad to hear you and the family are okay. You are a VERY good wife to give your husband that opportunity :-) And, you’re being very tactful about what it was like to be alone with 3 kids and no power for so long – I’m sure it was trying! (How many hours a day did you spend reading books?). We didn’t lose power in my neighbourhood, but even up here in Toronto, some communities did…I don’t think our society is cut out for going back to pioneer times. (Bet you’ll never let your laptop or smartphone battery get low again, though…) Be well!

    • Laura says:

      @Rinna- I know I am not cut out for going back to pioneer times. It kind of gives me a new perspective on those little house on the prairie books. Ma had all 3 (and then 4) girls on her own with (obviously) no power, in the cold, in hostile terrain, while Pa would go sell crops or take a seasonal job to earn extra cash.

  2. I wondered if that’s why you’d been quiet of late! I’m so sorry you’ve been without power, but glad you’re getting back to normal now.

    Amazingly enough, we didn’t lose power. I can’t figure that out, since we often lose it during a generic thunderstorm.

    • Laura says:

      @Kristen – glad to hear you didn’t lose power. We seem to have gotten it back on earlier than a lot of people around here. I’m very grateful as the temperature keeps dropping. I wouldn’t have spent last night in the house; I was compiling options when the lights came back on in the afternoon.

      • Yes. Being cold with no power is HORRIBLE. You can’t even bake something to warm up the house, or cook some hot food or make a hot drink. Grilling is about the only option!

        • Laura says:

          @Kristen – grilling would have been nice. I think I would have been expending about as much energy keeping the toddler away from the grill though – so we just ate cold food!

  3. Ana says:

    Sorry you had to deal with that, ALONE, and with a sick babe to boot. we were lucky lucky and never lost power. upside of urban living, less trees to take down power lines (though if you live near water and the substations flood the trees don’t matter, a la NYC)

    • Laura says:

      @Ana- yep, the trees are a nuisance, even though they’re a big part of what people move to the ‘burbs for. I’m not sure we would have been better or worse back in NYC. I was pondering this yesterday when I saw photos on FB of a friend walking his 2-year-old down 13 flights of stairs to escape an apartment with no heat/light/water. We lived on the 43rd floor of a high rise, so I would have been stuck in an apartment with the kids and not even able to go outside unless I managed to get them down 43 flights of stairs. I could haul one kid down myself, but I don’t think I could haul 3. On the other hand, we never lost power while we were in that unit (I lived in a walk-up during the black out of ’03) – so perhaps less frequency would make up for the awfulness of any black out.

      • Ana says:

        Yes, a high-rise would be a different story. esp. with a dog (they HAVE to go out, you know).

        • Laura says:

          @Ana- I imagine there are a lot of expanding piles of dog poop in the high rises of Manhattan right now…

  4. Cloud says:

    I’m glad you’re OK, and that your power is back on! Due to traffic issues, I handled last year’s big black out mostly on my own, too- but that was only for one night! And my husband got home in time to help with the tail end of bedtime. The kids were pretty resilient about things, but again… it was only one night.

  5. Kathy says:

    I’m glad you made it through safely, though it sounds like it was challenging, to say the least. I think cold with no power would be worse than hot with no power, which is what we usually experience with hurricanes here in Florida. Then you don’t mind the cold shower as much!

    • Laura says:

      @Kathy- I’ve been having this debate with myself this week, which is worse. No power with cold, or no power with hot weather. I do think cold is worse but it’s pretty miserable to be trying to sleep in 100 degree weather, too.