Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Being Amish and No Longer Russian

by Sariah S. Wilson

So this past week has been a rather exciting one. And by exciting I mean stressful and hard to deal with (okay, the end of it was exciting).

On Sunday afternoon our power went out. Very unexpected - we knew that we were supposed to get some leftover thunderstorms here in Ohio courtesy of Hurricane Ike, but nothing more than that. Instead we got winds that were very fast and very hard - five people in Cincinnati died from falling trees in the storm.

We lost a lot of shingles, and the baby didn't care for the wind, but we were fine. The power being off was a tad inconvenient, but we weren't too worried. Surely it wouldn't be off for that long. Our local energy company had a recording saying that our power would be on by 9:00 the next morning. We expected to send our kids to school the next day and to have life go on as normal.

It didn't.

I went to a doctor's appointment (and we got a heartbeat and everything looks good!), thinking the power would be on when I returned. Nope. At this point I started to get a little concerned - what would we do with our food in our fridge and our large freezer in the garage? Of course there was no ice to be found anywhere. A city just to the north of us had power, and there were runs on the gas stations (which I had to participate in because I was running on fumes!). School was obviously cancelled, and so I thought I'd go find a restaurant to feed my kids. Turns out everybody else and their dog had the same idea. Fortunately we only had to wait about thirty minutes to be seated.

My husband joined us, and after we ate we went looking for any helpful supplies. He nabbed a power inverter, which he hooked up to his car, and was able to power his laptop and the portable DVD player. (The baby was beside herself that her beloved "Ba" (Barney) could again return to her. She was actually giddy as he sang for her.) We were also able to recharge our lanterns. (It wasn't strong enough to help run the fridge or freezer.)

There were no D batteries anywhere. No generators or campout cooking stoves, nothing that might have helped. (It really makes you understand why they keep emphasizing that preparedness thing so much.) We cooked on our grill and had sandwiches and cereal. We still had water and sewer. Thankfully, the weather had cooled considerably so we were okay without our air conditioning.

Monday night, as I read by lantern light, my husband turned to me and said, "So, this is what it's like to be Amish? Yeah, this sucks." (What can I say? We like technology.)

A lot of people saw this as an opportunity to spend more time with their family. We already spend a lot of time with our family. We have the togetherness thing down. So it ended up just sort of becoming a stressor for me.

I had to teach my sons how to wash dishes the way they did in the olden days (we used the dishwasher to dry them). I was not about to wash my laundry by hand, but my youngest son ran out of pajamas. We put some of his dad's old T-shirts on him instead.

I missed my conveniences. I tried not to complain too much - I knew that people in Texas had it so much worse than I did.

But by Tuesday I really started praying. I felt like I was camping in my own home (and I am not a fan of the camping). I wanted the electricity back. I wanted to be able to buy perishable food that I could keep cold.

My parents got their power before we did, and had us over that night for dinner.

Finally, the next evening, the power returned. I was cautiously optimistic - the newspapers had warned that many houses got their electricity back only to lose it a short time later (which was confirmed by my cashier at Wal-Mart - she lives in apartments and the power came back on, and her neighbor promptly went out to restock her fridge and freezer, and when she returned the power went out again and had not come back on since then).

But when it seemed on Thursday that we had finally stabilized, I went ahead and went shopping (where the refrigerated sections looked almost totally bare), very grateful to be able to go and for things to still be there.

Comparatively we had nothing to complain about, but it made me gain a whole new appreciation for what people even further south have had to go through.

The week ended on a high note though - my brother returned from his mission to Russia tonight! (We had a fun time imagining what would happen if the power still wasn't on when he got back. "Yeah, remember how you had all those power outages in Russia? We just wanted you to feel more at home!") We missed the actual return. I had timed everything perfectly today, but things don't always go as planned, and his plane was early. We arrived 45 seconds after he did, so we missed the big welcome home moment (the rest of my family still in Ohio was there). We were so disappointed. He was exhausted - he'd been on planes all day and for him it was 2:00/3:00 in the morning. But we went back and spent time with him at my parents' house. He had that recently returned missionary thing going on for him, not quite sure what to do with himself or how to act. Nothing is the way he remembers it - my kids are much older (and when he held the baby, she took one look at him, her little lip fell and she started sobbing like her heart was breaking), the house is totally different (lots of remodeling because my parents thought they were moving), most of our siblings are gone at school or married. So much has changed, and I can't believe he's back home with us. It really doesn't feel like enough time has passed.

Fortunately, we're no longer Amish and he's no longer Russian, and we get to enjoy being together again for a few months before he goes off to school. (Where I'm sure some smart co-ed will snap him up right away, because he's awesome. And he speaks Russian.)


At 9/21/2008 1:52 AM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Sariah, your husband's comment made me laugh. Sounds like something mine would say in similar circumstances. We lost our power today for all of 2 hours and I started going a little stir crazy.

So spoiled!

At 9/22/2008 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anna Buttimore said...

Sariah, what a fun blog! My husband served his mission in Russia, it's a great language for impressing the girls!

At 9/23/2008 7:54 AM, Blogger Josi said...

Way to muscle through it, Sariah, I'm still in the "It will never happen to me" catigory with things like this, maybe I need to be a little more open minded.

At 9/24/2008 1:47 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm glad you made it through all right!


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