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Electric Shock

You don’t realize how much you appreciate something until it’s gone.

On a cold winter night in 2002 I was about to learn the hard lesson.

The night of Dec. 4, a terrible ice storm hit my city, putting a thick coating over everything and a layer of frozen fear over the people.

Seven trees in my yard snapped under the heavy weight of ice, and my house, and most of the city, was plunged into darkness.

No lights and no heat for one week.

The first night, it was fun…almost like camping. Then, after days of eating out, using the fireplace for heat, sleeping with a hat and gloves on, and showering at work, I went into “electric shock.” I felt drained, depressed, and defeated. When the power finally came back on, I consumed it like a starving dog.

That long, grueling week made me grateful for the instant power at my fingertips and more aware of my energy use.

Now, I unplug “energy vampires” (cell phones chargers) at home, use a manual can opener, and no longer use the microwave. For a time, I was using an antique, manual coffee grinder until the gear broke.

I have a new haircut that doesn’t need a flat iron, curling iron, hot rollers or hair dryer. I just wash ‘n wear my curls. No electricity required!

The largest money and power saver, though, has been the clothes dryer. I dry laundry outdoors, weather permitting, on a retractable clothes line strung from the corner of my house to a tree. The benefit is lower energy bills and bed linens and clothes that smell fresh and crisp.

While I haven’t broken my power addiction…after all, I’m not about to scrub my clothes with an old-fashioned washboard…there’s a freedom that comes from cutting the cord.

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