Power’s out … now what?

Teens & Twenties writers, like many of us, experienced power outages due to the winter storm the weekend of March 7. / Metro Creative Graphics

Times-News correspondents

 For a lot of Teens & Twenties writers, the power outage during the weekend of March 7 not only zapped their exposure to technology, but taught some of them what “roughing it” meant. Read their accounts below:

    Not having power as a result of the recent ice storm has been kind of hectic, even more so because I woke up in the middle of the night to none. My family slept in our house Friday, March 7, but got a hotel room for Saturday (March 8) and Sunday night (March 9). It was absolutely freezing, to me at least. And as of March 10, I was still without power. Not having technology has made things quite difficult. I take two online classes, and the only way I haven’t gotten behind is because of the fact that we had the hotel room for the previous two nights (you can’t exactly do an online class without Internet). It’s just been kind of crazy around these areas. I am extremely thankful for the things I have and that my family is safe, though. I’m just hoping we don’t ever lose power again.

 Katie Farrell, junior at Graham High School

       The only storm I remember that can compare to the one we just had, was one in 2002. Being old enough to experience everything, however, made this storm much more real. We lost power Friday morning around 9:30, and my dad took me to my grandmother’s, because she still had power. My grandma lost power Saturday morning around 10:30 and I house-hopped to my best friend’s house. The worst thing, though, was my experience in the grocery store. People were going crazy for fresh food, ranting about refrigerators and upset that there were slim pickings for bread and milk. I felt bad for the people without power, as well as the haggard grocery store workers. I was more fortunate than most and am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family to take care of me.

 Kaitlin Gillespie, senior at Western Alamance High School

    Although my home never lost power, I know many families who did. As I work at a grocery store, I talk to hundreds of people a day. Many were upset with their lack of power but found creative ways to push through. The first thing we ran out of at work was propane tanks. Dozens of people came through buying hamburger patties and hot dogs, saying they had multiple families together at their house and were going to grill out. Regardless of the situation, they were able to turn a negative into a positive and use the past few days as a way to bond with each other. Secondly, my work ran out of ice. As the temperature changed, folks realized the power being out wasn’t a big deal, and ended up having picnics outside. Lots of ice was used not only to keep refrigerated items cold, but also to add to the new outdoor festivities. With no running warm water, gym members attended their respective gyms to shower. It may sound gross to some, but it was an excellent idea, especially for anyone who was still required to go to work. I realize my family was lucky in never losing power, but I was able to see firsthand the losses of those who did. I understand it was very tough to have such a huge lifestyle change so abruptly, but it’s nice to see how something as simple as power going out was able to bring our community together, just a little.

 Briona Kiser, senior at Western Alamance High School

   There is something about a power outage that teaches a person gratitude. My family and I were without electricity for 2½ days. During this time, I felt completely technology-deprived. My laptop and iPhone were useless to me. Even my television was worthless until we hooked up our generator.  It wasn’t easy, but I managed to survive without my electronics. It is easy to take for granted the things that we consider ourselves entitled to. This could be anything from the flipping of a light switch to scrolling through Instagram. At the end of it all, you get a reality check and learn that there are some things that don’t rely on electricity. Quality time with your family, even if it’s spent in a blackout, is worth a lot.

 Allison Tate, senior at Clover Garden Charter School

   This past week has been a little chaotic for everyone who lost power. For my family and I, we lost power for four days and even when we got it back on Monday, it would still randomly shut off. Most teenage girls would freak out not having the ability to charge their phones, have Internet, or shower with warm water. But for me, I was just upset about not being able to take a warm shower in my own house. Teenagers are so focused on technology that we don’t hang out with the people right in front of us. This week, I’ve learned a lot about my neighbors and family because my phone was my biggest priority. The storm was a horrible experience for everybody, but it was also a lesson on how to go on with life knowing it’s not the end of the world that your phone is dead. At least it was for me.

 Zoie Nelson, freshman at Williams High School

   At four o’clock in the morning on Friday March 7, a loud noise, which had to have been my air conditioning turning off, work me up. When I again awoke at the reasonable hour of 8, I noticed none of my light switches were working and that’s what finally clued me in about the power. My life without power was difficult. I couldn’t play on my laptop because my laptop was dead, and plus I couldn’t work on any of the papers I needed to write. My phone was near dead and my iPad (plus my e-book reader) was also dead, and the only way I could charge the phone and iPad was with power. I was unable to get a cold drink without opening the fridge, and I wasn’t allowed to do that so no coldness would be lost. Plus the Wi-Fi was out, and trust me, that was not fun. After a long morning of complaints, my mother finally took us out to lunch, and we drove around for the rest of the day. We went home to check and see if the power was on at our house during the afternoon, and then seeing it wasn’t we went to the movies. We finally got home, to a place with power, later that night at 8:30. I know that my family was one of the lucky few that regained power that night. It made me thankful that when I get home from school, or from somewhere else, there’s a house with warm water and lights that I have access to all the time.

 Madison H. Strickland, sophomore at The Burlington School

 Winter 2014 has been absurd. From single digit temperatures to 6 inches of snow, people throughout North Carolina and the East Coast have been struggling with the impact of this outrageous weather. For me, the worst part was the ice storm that occurred last weekend. As a result of this storm, we lost power for a majority of Friday and it made the day a lot harder for our family. It was extremely cold outside and after a while, it started becoming colder in our house. My house has a high ceiling so our house became cold quickly. Also, there was no Internet access. It was only then that I realized that I rely on the Internet a lot to keep me occupied throughout the day. I couldn’t even read my book because there was not enough light from outside. I had to spend my day singing songs with my brother and as much as I love singing, it got boring after a little while. I was fortunate enough to get my power back around 5 p.m. on Friday. I don’t know what I would’ve done if our power was out for longer. I’m just relieved to bid adieu to the winter.

 Meghna Mahadevan, eighth-grader at Western Alamance Middle School

   I believe I noticed the power outage around 3:30 a.m. March 7. I like to have a fan on nearby where I sleep, but without it, I don’t seem to stay asleep for long. So I awoke and half-mindedly tried to turn it back on. Finally I became awake enough to realize that it wouldn’t turn back on. I came to the conclusion that the power was off. That morning around 9:45 a.m., my group home staff and I went out to the office where we sat around for hours; the office had power. We even ate lunch there. At about 4:25 p.m., a staff member came by and took us to the YMCA, where we built up an appetite from working out. Then at 7:45, the owner and manager of the home came and took us to dinner at Hibachi Buffet in Burlington. With our bellies full, we set up and slept on air mattresses in the staff meeting room. I spent most of the following day with my mother. Luckily, she had power in her home. On Saturday night at 10 p.m., the power at the group home came back on.

 Devin Maravel, freshman at Turning Point

   My power was knocked out for more than 72 hours during the storm. While I was upset about the loss of electricity, heat and technology, I just tried to view it as an opportunity to catch up on reading and studying.

 Seth Fraser, sophomore at Burlington Christian Academy

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