On the first Saturday of December, I woke up to a condo building with absolutely no power. What initially was supposed to be a same-day fix ended up being something that dragged on into very late Sunday night (and actually got worse before it got better – having to walk up 35 flights in pitch blackness is not my idea of city-living fun). On the surface – and in the grand scheme of world problems – a power outage isn’t that big of a deal. I, however, was grossly underprepared for this unforeseen inconvenience.
I was lucky that 1) I live in a bustling city, and since the outage was localized, I was able to go out and buy necessities whenever I needed to, 2) I have a good friend (thanks, Eszter!) who was willing to take me in for a night so I could have a hot shower and power up my laptop/iPhone and 3) my parents live a stone’s throw away, and happily spent Sunday with me.
This outage was nowhere near as bad as what happened to some people in New York with Hurricane Sandy – there was no inclement weather except for a “winter-like temperature” warning on Sunday (but, again, given it was December, this wasn’t out of the norm). But I did take away that I need to be better prepared for life. With that, here are the things I wish I had to get me through this (and which I also think will come handy in the case of a zombie apocalypse):
1) Flashlight: I know, I know. You’re asking yourselves: who doesn’t have a flashlight? Well, I didn’t. But I found this great eco-friendly flashlight with a super sleek design at West Elm. It does the trick (i.e. lighting your way when you’re trying to avoid walking into the corner of your bed) and also looks good (practical AND stylish). It goes without saying but: stock up on batteries too!
2) Candles: Remember my earlier post about candles? They’re incredibly useful during a power outage situation. Tea lights on plates work best to light up rooms. Just make sure you have a full lighter and matches around!
3) Blankets: No power means no heat. In Toronto winters, that’s uncomfortable (to say the least). So always have some throws laying around to get warm with. I like this cozy throw from West Elm, or this holiday throw in chocolate from Indigo. Also be ready with a touque (every Canadian has one, right?) just in case it gets really bad.
4) Alternate Power: If I’m being honest, my first thought when the power went out was: I hope my phone is charged! My second thought was: where will I charge it once it dies? Your cell phone is crucial to keeping you connected to the outside world. In case something happens and you need help, or you just want to check if your friends across the street are experiencing the same issues (misery loves company!), having your phone charged and ready to go at all times is key. If your phone has a USB port, this Gum Plus Battery Pack v2 can help – a fully-charged pack can give an iPhone 4s 3 full battery cycles. For day-to-day battery extension (that will also help in an emergency where you may not be around a charger), you can use a battery case. Mophie has highly-reviewed and praised options for most iPhone and Android devices.
5) Food (of the non-perishable variety) and entertainment: All the pasta boxes and freezer dinners won’t help you when you have no power with which to heat them up. I’ve learned to have a healthy amount of canned food and cereal hanging around, just in case. Plus, board games? Cards? Get ’em all! What better to do when you have no choice but to be home, by candlelight, with your loved ones than play a few games and have a few laughs (and wine if you keep it around). My favourite pass time during the power outage? Discussing with Eszter what we would do and who would be on our “team” during a Zombie Apocalypse.