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Thank you, Semo Electric!

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009, at 6:00 PM

No more fireplace toast, now that I have power!! I've been doing this for a week; I hope I can remember how to cook on the kitchen stove again!
Yes! I came back from my sister-in-law's house in Cape today to find that MY POWER WAS BACK ON!! Yippee! If I could do cartwheels, I would!

According to my son Matthew, the surest way to lure the power back is to buy a generator, start hooking it up, and voila - the electricity is miraculously restored! Fortunately for me, all I had to do was make the trip to Cape and buy four propane lantern tanks!

After I got home and unloaded the propane tanks, paper plates, forks, spoons, and cups (all my dishes were dirty!), I stood in the newly-warm house and thought, "What do I do now??" No more building up the fire, putting a cup of water on the fender for tea, cooking my soup in the fireplace, getting everything done before dark, so I could sit and crochet or read, while my radio played and the propane lantern hissed on the desk behind me...

For a week, I've been honing my tough new lifestyle skills, camping out in the living room, shutting off the rest of the house, living small. Now I have to retrench.

I admit to feeling a little bit of a let down. All my energies have been focused on survival, and now I'm back to the good life. I turn on the faucet, and water comes out. That's so easy! I'm a victim of culture shock!! How can I adjust?

No more lugging the empty kitty litter jugs to Emma's house to fill them up.

No more carrying the flashlight into a cold kitchen, fixing some soup in plenty of time for it to get warm on the fireplace fender.

No more sleeping on the couch under two afghans and two cats, getting up 3-5 times a night to put more wood on the fire.

No more having to go to someone else's house to take a shower.

How will I ever adjust??

From the cold hills of Tillman, Missouri, this is your grateful rural reporter, vowing that I WILL buy a generator before this happens again!!!!!!!!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

As Lawrence Welk used to say''''Wonderful, wonderful,wonderful'. Glad to hear all is well, well at least most is well, some things you'd like to forget.

When you buy that generator, be sure to buy a sturdy chain and lock to secure it good.

Welcome back, now hope everyone can get back to normal real soon. My thanks also to the electric companies and all workers that have been contributing to this awful time.

-- Posted by changedname on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 8:36 PM

So glad to hear the good news MD! To be honest, with all the quality time with my family, and putting all our energy into actually doing things for ourselves and our neighbors the hard way, I was kinda upset when it all ended. I enjoyed it to a point...but with the healing I've left to do, I'm kinda glad we're back to the easy life too!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 10:12 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Those are my feelings, exactly - though I didn't have family at home. There's something appealing about putting all your focus into just surviving from day to day. So many times I thought, "So this is the way it was before electricity!"

It makes you realize what's really important in life. When I look back to how my mind was working (or not working) before the ice storm, I can see the shallowness. I feel as if the inside of my head has been rearranged into new configurations.

I'm so appreciative of the help I had, too. If I had been willing to go off and leave my animals, I could have stayed somewhere different every night; I had so many offers. Even my animal-rescue friend Marilyn invited me to stay in their remote home in the Zalma hills. I stayed 7 days out here without power and 2 at my sister-in-law's in Cape.

Now that I can get the news, I see how much worse it was south of here. And, there are some horror stories from elsewhere. Marilyn told me that an Oran farmer may lose his entire herd of cattle -- the barn collapsed on them and killed three, badly cutting up several more. The rest of the herd was afraid to come in the barn after that, so they stood out in that freezing rain and caught pneumonia.

I was SOOOOOOOO glad I didn't have goats this time!

Yeah, I heard further south got hit much harder than we did...which is hard for me to fathom, since the damage in this area was so horrible.

Isn't it funny though? Wednesday morning, when the doctor told me I could go home, everyone at home was like, "no, stay there. We don't have power, we don't have cable, we don't have ANYTHING!" I was like, ok...I'M GOING HOME! I'm not a hospital-type person, and I'm very glad I did decide to leave. Sure, I had electric, water, shower, food prepared for me (allbeit not the greatest food known to man), and cable t.v., but I seriously didn't want to stay. I've never been a materialistic person, and getting back to basics was a wonderful experience. I know some people in the area were out of their element, but I, like you, truly enjoyed it.

A friend of ours lives out in a rural area between Dexter and Bernie, and he won't have power for quite some time. He has a goat, and he thought he'd lost her...but when we went out there to take them the wood we gathered for their wood-burning stove, she was out by a pole on their property, searching for something to eat. She's just the sweetest thing, and she's going to have babies...I just wish I could have one! Sometimes living in town isn't all it's cracked up to be!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 5:24 PM

Hoho! Don't count your goats before they're hatched, dolphin! Goats are sooooo cute, it's true, but easy-to-raise, they definitely AREN'T! I never knew they could develop so many ailments!

The more hardy are the neutered males - called weathers. Very healthy, in my experience.

I'll just be glad when spring is here!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 5:45 PM

Madeline, sounds like we may learn that you have decided to put your "tough new lifestyle skills" in living without electricity to good use by joining the Peace Corps and teaching ESL to children in Africa!! You could put your Kudzu hunting skills to good use in hacking through the jungle to your remote village assignment!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 5:50 PM

Always thinking up new challenges, aren'tcha, FJ?? You'd kill us all, if we followed your lead!

Right now, I think we're all just exhausted: I know I am. I've had two nights' sleep in my own bed. The first night, I tossed and turned all night and woke up worn out. Last night I seemed to sleep better with my electric blanket on 4, but I dreamed that a black bear was in the house looking for me.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 7:25 AM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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