Thursday, July 28, 2011

what it's like living without electricity

So we are on week 3 of no electricity.  We were told  we should be able to get electricity within 4 weeks of getting an estimate… unfortunately, it has now been 2 weeks since they promised our estimate would be ready.  Since I’m at work most of the day, I’m not having that much difficulty living without electricity.  I charge my cell phone and computer each day at work;  that way, if we want to watch a movie in the evening or I want to work on editing pictures, I have a few hours of battery life.    Eating has become a bit repetitive-- mostly bean based, but we still eat well.  The pot of beans gets boiled morning and night, and any time it is opened during the day.  So far, keeping beans like this has worked for 4-5 day stretches at a time before they start to taste slightly off.  We have quesadillas, beans and toasted cheese, burritos, eggs and beans….  As for meat, a few times we have been able to buy small portions of beef and cook that (mostly meat comes in packs that bring way too much for one meal).  Any leftovers are kept in a covered pan, and boiled before eating again (and eaten as soon as possible).  We are buying small amounts of groceries more frequently to keep things from spoiling.  The biggest expense so far is laundry--  we’re paying $20 Bze a week to get our laundry done, but it’s a necessity because I don’t have time to wash everything by hand.  And Daniel’s farm clothes get really dirty and yucky.  Another annoyance is no iron.  When I was a teacher here I somehow never needed to iron clothes (or maybe my clothes were wrinkled, but we didn’t have a mirror so I couldn’t tell).  Anyways, now I’m limited to a few wrinkle-resistant outfits I have been wearing over and over for work.  In the evenings we have light till about 7, and after that we use candles and a kerosene lantern.  The lantern actually gives enough light to read by, although it does get kind of smoky.  I'm paranoid to leave it without someone in the room though because I’m afraid of the cat knocking it over, although so far she hasn’t gone near it.  This results in me carrying a lantern around from room to room, which makes me feel very 18th- century.  We also are getting a lot more sleep- we go to bed around 9pm and get up at 6am or earlier (um, we got some guinea hens, and they like to make a lot of noise around 5am. But their feathers are so pretty!)  We boil water in a kettle on the stove when we want hot water.   I do miss listening to music or downloaded podcasts on my computer while I’m cleaning or cooking, but it tends to run the computer battery down fast.  We have a solar-powered radio, but the only radio channels are a Christian Spanish channel and Love FM (which is wonderful during a hurricane, but leaves much to be desired the rest of the time).   
Honestly, I expected to become cranky and fed up with this situation really quickly (I only lasted 1 week when we didn't have running water before throwing a major fit.  We had running water the next day.)  But... it really isn't that big of a deal.  Shocking, coming from someone who hates camping.  I sort of feel like Laura Ingalls :)
My parents are coming to visit next week, but they will stay in a cabin with electricity :)  We’ll send our fans over for them to use, and probably borrow the fridge for a little.  Cold drinks!!

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