Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Little Things In Life Mean A Lot

When something basic such as electric power, heat during the winter, and hot/cold running water are taken away from you, at once, you realize what things are the most important. Aside from family, I would rank electricity near the top of the list.

On tuesday night around 9PM, there were severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Hesse Seewald. The police were even driving through the neighborhoods broadcasting warnings over their loud speakers to get into the basement. We duly obeyed and made a bee line for the cellar, when suddenly the lights flickered once, then twice and then total darkness. Fritz had the presence of mind to bring several flash lights and candle sticks with him to the cellar, which was a good thing.

By 9:30PM the threat had passed, but I figured that if we did not have the power restored within a couple of hours, that we were in for a long spell of darkness. And that is what happened. Some 26 hours later, around 11pm this evening, the lights popped back on.

We had previously lit up the entire downstairs part of the house with candle sticks and a few high beam flash lights, and we lit the gas fireplace to provide additional light. It all had a quaint 18th Century feel to it, but the niceness of that was offset by the fact that it was impossible to read a book by candlelight. I can only assume that our forefathers either had ten times more candles lit in the evening, or else they did not read books after the sun went down.

My primary concern had been about the electric sump pump and the backup battery that powered it. How long would the battery last before giving out? And should the skies open up with more rain, we ran the risk of a flooded basement. The power company indicated that we would not have power restored until midnight thursday, at the earliest, and possibly as late as saturday afternoon. So I was having major sump pump fears all the while. Fortunately, our prayers were answered and we now have the electric power restored.

I am very grateful to have electricity again, and no doubt the basics of running water, sewers and central heating are now suitably appreciated.

One other little draw back to this whole episode is that my painting ground to a halt. I had just finished a beautiful sample of a Minden Austrian hussar, painted as one of the colorful Baranyay Hussars (Green dolman and pelisse, with light blue breeches). I was eager to paint a couple more of these little beauties. I will post some piccies soon, but for now, it is off to bed and a good night's sleep.


  1. Glad to hear everyone came through without injury.

  2. I am hearing that after due deliberation, in the afternoon the NWS meteorologists said it was two EF-1 tornadoes, with touchdown, plus three more as funnel clouds at points west like Aurora, and a couple north of there.

    The ones that touched down were by Downer's Grove or Bensenville, that is related in my blog piece, and the second one at Mount Prospect, which is the one aimed at DAF's place.

    No word yet on Games Plus in Mount Prospect.

    It sounds like other than the power issues you came out okay. We had to work at 10 so my work partner in North Chicago drove through that and got in a few minutes late.

    I still haven't heard of anyone getting hurt.

  3. One of the things that we keep around is one of those bags of "100 tea lights".

    A number of these in an aluminum dish will provide a fair amount of light (although not enough to read by) as well as heat and they last quite a while too (plus they are cheap).

    I'm glad that you came through this unscathed, sir.

    -- Jeff

  4. Amazing how civilization as we know it can come to a screeming haul. Glad to see all has been restored in Hesse Seewald...

  5. I feel your pain DAF; after two years of similar outages here in NH, I opted for a stand-by generator. Without city services here in the "country", when the power is out, so it the water and toilet !!

    Looking forward to seeing the Austrian hussars.


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  8. Glad to hear that all's well in Hesse Seewald. in my experience the US is the only country in the world where the weather really tries to kill you!

    Keep up the inspiring work


  9. The painting will always pick back up. Thank God you and yours weren't injured in any way. :)

  10. Glad to hear all's well now; yes, these things really make us appreciate what we usually take for granted.

    About reading by candlelight - in Jane Austen's day people often used a candlestand that had mirrors attached which effectively focussed and multiplied the light. I can't find a picture on the Net but you'll often notice in period pictures that mirrors are placed behind candles to do the same thing in a less efficient way.