I have electricity! I have been without power for a week due to a severe ice storm that swept through Oklahoma last Sunday/Monday. Here are some tips (lessons learned the hard way) in case you are ever stranded without power for a long length of time.
1. Candles, candles, candles: These are a must have during a blackout. However, make sure they are unscented, or you will have one hell of a headache.
2. Lighters or matches: Your candles will be no good to you if you have nothing to light them with now will they?
3. Don't worry about stocking up your refrigerator/freezer with food the night before a reported ice storm is about to blow through, choose non-perishables instead.
4. If you do stock the refrigerator/freezer and don't want to loose $$$ in spoiled food, just stick your food outside. It's an ICE storm remember?
5. If you have an electric stove, how are you going to cook? You don't. You find a restaurant and eat there along with the other 50,000 people in your area without electricity. Luckily we have a gas stove, so we did have that option.
6. When you run out of money to eat out, or just get sick of eating out and fighting the crowd, have a winter backyard BBQ, (yes, vegetarians can BBQ too. They just do it meatless).
7. If birds have built nests in your wood burning fireplace year after year and you have not had a chimney sweep clean your fireplace, EVER, don't build a fire. I repeat, DO NOT build a fire.
8. If you have a gas stove/oven. Thank your lucky stars and use it to try and warm at least a couple of rooms. To do this, turn on all the burners and the oven, open the oven door and hang a sheet from the ceiling to the floor to block off the back part of the house, so that the front part stays toasty warm. Don't forget to crack a window so unwanted gases don't build up and kill you.
9. Flashlights. Flashlights are just as important as candles.
10. Batteries. Batteries are just as important as lighters/matches. Stock up on Size D batteries. After the second day of a blackout, you will NOT be able to find anymore. I promise. Nope. None. No where. Yes, I'm serious. Nada.
11. For entertainment you can make S'mores, tell ghost stories, listen to a battery powered radio, play board games by candlelight, stare at each other, go to bed early, knit, tease, I mean play with the dogs, flashlight tag, shadow puppets, tell jokes, lie in the middle of the living room floor and whine, jump rope, learn some new yo yo tricks, play cards, pretend you are studying for finals (Hey, I couldn't see very well even with flashlights and candles), jump out of dark places and scare the bejebus out of your nine year old, call the electric company and listen to their prerecorded message until you memorize it, color in all of the coloring books you can find in the house, find a place that has power like a Starbucks or Panera so that you can charge your computer, cellphone, and personal DVD players then go to Blockbuster and rent some DVD's.
12. Dogs put out a lot of warmth. If you don't let them sleep with you any other time, let them sleep with you now.
13. Blankets, blankets, blankets
14. It's okay to sleep in your coat, hat, gloves, and scarf even though you are inside your own house.
15. Want to take a nice hot shower, well you are SOL if you have an electric water heater. Boil water, mix it with some cold water and have yourself a bath. Have an electric stove too? Boil your water in a fireplace or on a charcoal grill (do this outside of course).
16. Vow to buy a generator when you can find one which will probably be next summer.