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Power outages and teenagers
Where did the electricity go?
As most know a power outage can happen at the blink of an eye, particularly if you live in an area when there are a lot of storms. Power outages can happen from a tree hitting a wire. Power outages can happen from a vehicle hitting a tree, or even from a transformer blowing. At the very least you should expect to be without power for 24 hours, that is the normal time power companies give themselves to make needed repairs. Depending on the severity or the reason for the power outage it can last several days.
Most young people of today have a hard time adjusting to this, they want power and they want it now. Their first instinct to go to someplace that has power, a hotel, a friends house or anywhere they can ’soak up some power’. Due to a recent power outage that was experienced at my home, I have a compiled a list of things to help your teenager get through, what to them is the ‘worst crisis’ they have ever experienced. (Boy, if that’s all they have to worry about in this life, they got it easy!)
11 steps for a happy teen! (Ok, so we'll pretend this will make them happy)
1.) Keep calm - If you are complaining about the lack of power, this will not help your teenager remain calm.
2.) Have a supply of batteries. 9 volt, AA - AAA - C batteries, D batteries. Check your battery operated items to see what you need, before the power outage. You may have to hide these, or buy yourself a secret supply. Teenagers are notorious for ‘borrowing’ batteries when needed. If you wondered why the remote didn’t work, check to see if the battery is missing. You’ll probably find it in their stuff. Most MP3 and Ipods are charged via the computer so don’t go looking there!
3.) Candles - Keep a supply of candles, you may have to hide these since teenage girls like to smell them burning since they smell pretty. I keep a bag of cheap ‘tea light’ candles hidden in case the power goes out during the dark, at least that way I can find what I need quickly.
4.) Hurricane Lamp - These make pretty decorations but sure do come in handy where there is no power. Just keep it full of lamp oil and continue to use it for your decoration until needed. Most department stores carry inexpensive lamps along with the lamp oil which can be stored quite easily where you store your household chemicals.
5.) Battery operated items you will need -
Radio, this is important so you can find out what is going on in the world. An idea for this would be a clock radio that you use to wake up in the morning for work. Even the ‘under $10’ ones have an area for a 9 volt battery.
Flashlights - Try to keep the same size flashlights, this way you will only need 1 size battery and it will be easier to keep a store of them.
6.) Land Line phone - With today’s technology a lot of us have switched to using cordless phones. These are great for walking around the house talking to our friends, but these will not work when there is a power outage. You will need to keep a ‘corded’ phone somewhere handy that can be plugged in to your phone jack. This of course will be an inconvenience for your teenager, if they complain too much you can always go back to using the cordless. (no phone at all)
7.) Board Games - If you don’t have any of these go to your local department store get 1 or 2 games, store them in your closet until needed. They don’t take up much space, once purchased doesn’t require any maintenance, unless of course your playing ‘Operation’ for that you will need a battery. Playing board games by candlelight can be interesting especially with a teenager, just go with the flow you’ll all have a good time.
8.) A cooler - For some reason a power outage seems to create a beacon that points straight to the fridge, for a teenager. They want to open and close it as much as possible when there is no power, causing everything that once was cold to be warm. Maybe they want to ensure the little man who turns the light off and on doesn’t go without air, who knows. Make a quick trip to the nearest convenience store get a bag of ice and soft drinks for your teen. Having a cooler handy with drinks in it, will save that frozen roast because we know that is really all the teenager is after.
9.) Water - If you happen to live in a rural area where having water is a direct correlation to having power, this will become an issue. Before anything else is needed for the teenager you will find the first thing that happens is the need for the bathroom. Other than instant boredom, I have no idea where this comes from. It seems the first thing that happens in a power outage is everyone needs to use the toilet. When you have no water, this can be a problem quickly. Once the reserve in the back is used, there is no more. If you keep a 5 gallon bucket (with a lid on it) filled with water tucked away in a garage or shed, this should do the trick, for a little while anyway. Just use a 1 gallon bucket to dip into the 5 gallon bucket and pour straight into the bowl. This will force whatever is in the bowl down.
Drinking water is another matter. By re-using milk jugs you can keep a couple gallons stored on a shelf for future use. Change these out monthly to keep the water fresh.
10.) You can purchase a generator if you wish, this you can plug in to keep your refrigerator, freezer or water going. You will have to change out the plugs every so often for what you need. I will warn you, if you have a generator AND a teenager there will be a battle on your hands when it comes to electronic appliances. They aren’t going to see the need to plug in the fridge when it is just as easy to plug in the TV or computer!
11.) Weather appropriate - If your power outage happens in the summer it is a fairly easy fix. You can buy and hide the $1 handy fans purchased at your local dollar store (for this you will need a AA battery). My personal favorite, with a sheet of paper you can fold it to create a lovely fan. Use crayons or markers to decorate them (yes, I realize we are talking teenagers here, if you show some enthusiasm, they will too!)
If it’s winter and you live in the colder climate, power outages can pose quite a problem. If you have chosen to stay at home at least a while, you will need blankets and warm clothes. This can be fun when made into a ‘fashion show’, even teenage boys can get a little goofy at these times. This might be a time for all of you to climb in the biggest bed it the house to share the warmth!
Print and save!!
On a side note, you may want to print this off and keep it tucked away, because once you have a power outage, there will be no electricity for you to come back and have a look!!
Have some fun
Keeping a sense of humor during this ’crisis’ is fairly easy for those that enjoy watching the antics of a teenager. They are going to huff and puff, loll and whine about the lack of power. They might even go so far as to act like they are ‘dying’ from lack of power, as they fall dramatically on the bed or couch. They will not die, it just seems like it, because they have always had power at the touch of a button.
If you laugh with them, not at them, you will make things easier for all of you. You can even go so far as to tell ’stories’ of the ’old days’ to entertain them. You can regale them with stories of how you had to walk 10 miles through 4 feet of snow to school because buses weren’t invented yet. Make sure that they know how you suffered when traversing the Ocean on the Mayflower. You can explain how hard was to train that very first Dinosaur you wanted to ride.
Just for fun you can even ‘pretend’ there is a power outage, for practice. They of course should not know it isn’t real, just go flip the mai breaker and shut things off. This is a good time to get to know your teenagers. Have fun with them, make them laugh, they will make you laugh. You might even start to like each other again!