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by Share Brandt

Life without Power

I was counting my lucky stars this 4th of July week when the temperatures hovered around 95 to 100 degrees. My electricity was reliably serving up electrons that supply my hungry air conditioner. Folks on the East Coast were not so lucky. On July 1, three million customers were without electricity after violent storms knocked out power. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., because of damage from the storms that unleashed hurricane-force winds across a 500-mile stretch of the mid-Atlantic region. Some were without electricity for a week in 106-degree weather.

Imagine yourself without electricity for a week in 100-degree temperatures with high humidity—no air conditioning, no electric fans, no TV or refrigerator to keep the food fresh and cold. If you are lucky enough to have a portable generator you may be able to intermittently run some appliances, but certainly not adequate air conditioning for the whole house.

Creating Cool

At our house, we came close to being without the air conditioner on the 4th of July. Early in the morning we noticed the fan making a loud screeching noise and barely moving. The condenser was still producing cool air but the fan could not keep it distributed throughout the house. My husband called the repair man early on the holiday and scheduled him to come the next day, hoping the cooling machine would be able to keep up one more day.

Then we took our small power boat to the river with our grandkids to keep cool and fight the heat in a natural way—on and in the water. Even the water was heated from the extremely hot weather, registering 80 degrees on the surface. It still felt better than the hot, humid air. With the burn ban we substituted water balloons for fireworks. Everyone made an effort to get wet while filling the balloons and again when tossing them at each other. The grandkids had a ball; so did the adults.

We arrived home in the evening to an inside temperature of 85 degrees. The air conditioner was indeed not keeping up and it wasn’t likely to through the night. With electric fans keeping the stifling, muggy air moving across our hot bodies we did manage to sleep in spite of the temperature. Thank goodness we had

I was thinking about the thousands of folks on the East Coast who didn’t have the option of running a fan to cool. It’s a good reminder not to take our electricity for granted. I sure would not want to live without electric power.