The mad dash for a flashlight

A quick break from my Hindsight is 2021 series…

Let’s get one thing out of the way…I LOVE FLASHLIGHTS! I don’t know when this happened. I don’t know why. It’s not rational. But I love flashlights. I don’t have a huge collection of flashlights. I don’t have expensive flashlights. I have a lot of little flashlights all over the house set in strategic places. I have a lot of flashlights in places that I’ll need them if required.

For background, I do have a couple of stories related to flashlights.

Night Terrors

I get night terrors. A night terror for me is a dream that feels very real. It usually happens in the first hour or two of falling asleep. And I dream that someone is in my room leering at me. It’s usually a little girl or an older lady in black clothing. I don’t recognize the person. The person is never threatening, but it feels so real and creepy to me, that I wake up yelling for help.

In order to break the cycle of fear during an episode, I need to turn a light on. And so, I’m in the habit of keeping a couple of flashlights handy on my night stand. Even then, I never seem to be able to grab one quickly. On a rough night, with more than one occurrence, I’ve slept with a flashlight in hand. It helps.

I’ve always suspected that these night terrors could come from mediation that I use to manage my asthma (one of them mentions this as a possible rare side effect). However, night terrors have largely disappeared since I stopped drinking alcohol. At least I don’t recall any significant night terrors in the last year. Good news!

Tested for Life in Canada

I am part of the Tested for Life in Canada team which is a Canadian Tire Customer Panel testing team. Occasionally I receive a survey to participate in product testing. Usually, they ask you if you are willing to test a number of products. I usually click almost everything I can to increase my odds of participating.

One time I received an awesome Breville toaster oven that I still use almost every day. In 2021, I received an Air Things air quality monitor. This little device is wonderful and gives me information in my house such as: CO2 levels, humidity, temperature, airborne chemicals and radon levels. Love it!

A few years ago, I signed up for a survey that had a lot of big ticket items. I was so excited to be selected as a tester…until I saw the shipping information. When you receive the shipping information, you still don’t know what you’re getting, but you know the approximate size and weight of the item. I saw immediately that the package was small and light. Oh…the disappointment.

The package arrived. I prepared myself for disappointment. I couldn’t remember the survey. I remembered that there was a few USB/extension cords. Not very exciting. I unboxed my product and found…FLASHLIGHTS! Yahoo! To this day, the Canadian Tire Mastercraft set of 2 flashlights that I tested are the best flashlights I own!

The story before the real story

We had major construction in our house in 2021.

  1. Our roof leaked and the majority of our master bedroom, closet and bathroom was water logged. Our house would be under construction for the entire summer. The entire ceiling was torn down and replaced, roof replaced, a couple of walls, new paint, etc.
  2. Our rug needed to be replaced but wasn’t included in the reconstruction. So we decided that with an entire room already cleared of contents that it would be “easy” to replace the rug at the end of the master reconstruction. We worked with our contractor to make the arrangements and paid for the rug ourselves.

Let’s just say that nearly everything on the top floor was displaced. Our master bedroom was packed up and moved offsite into storage. Our closets, bonus room, and one spare bedroom were packed and moved into the basement or garage for the carpet replacement.

To be prepared or not to be…that is the question

I am generally a well-prepared person. But not super prepared. I think I have enough stuff in the house for an emergency. But do I? Am I prepared?

In hindsight, I probably don’t have enough stored water in the house in case I need it. I definitely have enough food and supplies in the house. I’m not a hoarder, but I don’t like anything running out before I buy the replacement. I usually have plenty of soap, cleaning materials, toilet paper and paper towel in the house. When I dig into the backup supplies, it’s time to buy another backup.

I carry a bit of an emergency kit in my golf bag: Chapstick, band-aids, Kleenex, inhaler, snack food and normally enough fluid for a hot day. That pales in comparison to my golfing buddy that pulled out a packet one day with all the fixings: Tylenol, Advil, antacid, band-aids and more!

I bought booster packs for both cars just in case we need a boost. I did this a few years ago when I dropped AMA due to bad service. That’s a long story for another day. On a recent trip out of town during the recent cold spell, we packed extra blankets and warm clothing for the trip, just in case.

In short, I think I’m prepared, but am I really? You never know if you’re prepared until you realize that you aren’t…

Power outage

Last night, my wife and I had an early supper. I’m thankful that we did. As we finished up dinner. we talked about having a quiet night. I wanted a little bit of computer time, then tv, stretching, hot tub and to bed at a reasonable time. I got upstairs and sat down at my computer…and the lights went out.

All of the lights. And the computers. The power is out. Poof! At 6pm, no electricity!

I need light. Where are my flashlights? I have so many of them. I’m ready to find them:

  1. Nightstand – check, I find my first flashlight there.
  2. Downstairs by the back door – not there. My wife grabbed one flashlight there, but where are my “good” flashlights.
  3. On the main floor, by the basement door – not there.
  4. In the basement, by the stairs – not there.
  5. In the garage, on the shelf – not there.

Where are my flashlights!?! It took some time, but I found them. I found my camping lantern in its spot on the ledge of the basement stairs. I found my best flashlights, on the spare desk in my computer home, literally right behind where I started. I must have put them here during the construction.

The rest of my flashlights and light sources were in a very logical place: the battery drawer. I also found these new headlamps that my mom had bought us for Christmas. See the blog picture. I know it’s a poor picture, but it’s the best I could get under the circumstances.

The power is out…now what?

After I found all of my flashlights and other battery operated light sources, we settled into a quiet night. And I realized how quickly, that I rely on power. I need it! But still, we are lucky:

  • The cold wave just ended, so the temperature is reasonable. It’s -1C outside and will be hours before it starts getting cold in the house. (just 2 days ago it was -20C as a high)
  • Bathrooms still work.
  • We have access to plenty of water.
  • Food in the fridge and freezer will be ok for now.
  • We have plenty of snacks, beverages and bedding!
  • And our family is safe!

Things you cannot do that you are used to doing:

  • Our main couches are electric operated so we couldn’t recline them.
  • Obviously, with no power the lights don’t work, TV is out, internet is out, hot tub won’t jet, most of our hobbies require light or electricity and cell service is slow.
  • Cooking food is out although I could have still used the BBQ.
  • Watching tv or playing video games or browsing the internet quickly.
  • Garage door can still be opened manually, if needed. But all of our doors are electronic. So if we were out, we may have been locked out of the house without a key. I may have to test if my front door still works if my security panel is down.
  • Security system is down.

What did we do? We spent time together. We did what we could.

  1. We cuddled up on the couch and laughed at our light headbands. And played with flashlights. I had fun with my reflection from the couch into our tv.
  2. We chatted. We talked about life. We talked about vacation. We talked about COVID.
  3. I got up and checked the crescent traffic. I’m a nosy neighbor. At one point, I could see that my neighbor had food delivered. I realized then that not everyone would have had a chance to cook dinner yet. What would we have for supper if we hadn’t eaten early? I joked about setting up our propane campfire and roasting hot dogs.
  4. I used this as an opportunity to carve out 10 minutes for meditation. I was already in the dark. The house was silent. It was great other than I could hear neighborhood noise: dogs barking, planes flying overhead and firetrucks.
  5. I stretched without tv in the darkness. Mindful stretching is a different experience and I enjoyed it.
  6. We had a quiet night!

Wrap up

At one point, the power came back up, for 1 minute and then disappeared again. We decided to hit bed early around 10pm and try to read by flashlight for a bit. The dogs were happy, because they got to jump into bed with us, partly to keep us warm and to keep them warm, just in case the power didn’t come back. Normally they sleep in kennels in the basement.

Just as I sat in bed, the power came back on. Yeah! We turned off all of the lights and did some light reading by lamp light before bed.

The power outage was only 4 hours, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for a longer period of power loss. I’ll need to review my flashlight hiding spots, review my water storage and food storage and overall, be a little more prepared. And maybe I’ll have to prepare some flashcards with things to do in a power outage!

Overall, we got what we wanted: a quiet night. Be careful what you ask for!

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