OK, Santa, that’s not entirely true. I can think of a few other gadgets and baubles I wouldn’t mind having.
But usually I wind up getting practical gifts for Christmas, and this is as practical for our needs as it gets (and actually, my brother once offered to buy one as a Christmas present. He knows me so well). Partially it’s the age of our house, I think, and partially our location, and partially the fact that only THREE houses are on our part of the power grid. But mostly it just seems like storms have been getting stronger and more frequent here in the Mid-Atlantic, and the result is that our power goes out all. the. time.
Especially when the snow is piled up higher than your head.
Let’s evaluate possible options when it gets all Laura Wilder Ingalls up in here:
- pretend we’re camping, break out the candles and flashlights. Use electronic devices until batteries and charges run out. Try to keep children from poking one another. Have everyone sleep in same bed with Saint Bernard for warmth. Hope power comes back on before all food in refrigerator goes bad (why is it that the power especially likes to go out right after I’ve done a HUGE shopping trip)?
- portable generator: these are the things you use for camping or tailgating. This would keep the refrigerator going, and the sump pump (nice bonus), but since everything has to be plugged in directly with extension cords I’m thinking it’s not the best option for my laptop. I need to be able to work, which means I need computers and internet. And, oh yeah, a portable generator has to stay outside so you don’t get carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline powered, so we’d either have to keep gasoline stockpiled in the workshop (basically build a bomb right under the kitchen) or navigate down presumably treacherous roads to buy gasoline. Frankly, if I’m going to get in the car I’ll just go to my brother’s house. I’ll bet he has pie.
- standby generator: this is what I want for Christmas. This is attached to the house like a central air conditioner unit (frankly, it can go where our unit sits, we never use A/C anyway) and runs on propane or natural gas; if you go for one powerful enough, it can power your whole house. It just blips on when you lose power after a few seconds, so no more incidents like the time we returned home after a weeklong Walt Disney trip… in July… at 4 in the morning… to find the power out and a freezer-full of ice cream puddled and baked onto our kitchen floor.
- Vroooommmm. A commercial-grade engine for clean, consistent power that can handle a heavy load.
- Easy on the eyes. We’re so happy that we don’t have to hold to a neighborhood HOA, but Jeff likes things pretty.
- Corrosion-resistant housing. This circles back to point 2.
- Easy on the ears. Something quiet, since it will probably be placed just outside my bedroom window.
- Minimum five-year extended warranty. I always want the Ferrari of warranties because my life is governed by Murphy’s Law. Good warranty = no problems. Slim warranty = big problems.
Living without power is fun the first time it happens, and even then only for the first couple of hours. Then reality sets in as you sit in the dark, unable to cook or work or brush your teeth or wash your hands and the temperature keeps dropping. I’m totally over that scene.
Standby generator, Santa. Think about it. I’ve been such a good girl this year.
Some resources if you want to ask Santa for your own generator (or, you know. Buy one with your own money):
Kohler makes it easy to research, size and price standby generators. Remember, we have a resident plumber and we are pretty Kohler-loyal. Check out www.KohlerSmartPower.com for informational videos, sizing calculators and other helpful stuff.
Whether you’re seriously considering a generator or not, you’ll want to brush up on your power outage preparedness. One obvious point that I need to take care of: a handcrank radio. Last year we had no power for 48 hours, and during the overnights there were tornadoes touching down in the area. I, of course, had the boys merrily walking our Saint Bernard puppy out in the yard because I had no idea.
More knowledge dropped here:
Disclosure: I work for FitFluential and they are running a campaign with Kohler generators. This blog post is not an official part of that campaign and I received no compensation for it. This is me getting you info and communicating with Santa.