Monday, November 4, 2019

Three little things got us through the power outage: A radio, lamp & camping stove

Before our power went out last month, my husband and I watched six innings of Game Four of the 2019 World Series. Then when the house went silent, we moved outside to listen to the rest of the game on a transistor radio while looking at the stars, which were so much brighter with all the streetlights and houses around us gone dark.
"We should do this more often!" we said.

That was cool.

I didn't buy the little Sony radio for the long-anticipated Public Safety Power Shutoff by PG&E, but because it reminds me of my father. Since my mother wouldn't allow a television in our house, my father listened to local football and baseball games on a small radio hung near the kitchen door to get the best reception. So hearing sports announcers on the radio will always bring back fond memories of relaxing weekends with my family, making me smile even during a power outages.

More useful than the radio, though, was the lamp I did buy specifically for an outage because it runs on batteries and has a USB port for charging phones and tablets. And while we didn't need to charge anything quite yet that first night, we were left without a way to run the bedroom fan, which we depend on for white noise to help us sleep. But when I discovered I could plug the portable noise machine we bought for travel into the lamp, it became the next hero of the outage.

The next morning I went outside to start up the camping stove I also bought months earlier: A portable burner you attach to a small propane tank and light with a match, which is how my mother cooked everything for us on camping trips.

Using a small cooking pot on top of the burner, I boiled water for coffee and then later for instant oatmeal. For lunch the stove heated up leftovers we needed to eat as soon as possible, then for dinner it heated up canned soups and boiled water again for tea. 

All four nights and mornings of the outage that propane tank kept powering my burner whenever I needed it. And on just one set of batteries that lamp kept going for three days, charging three small devices throughout the day, lighting the living room in the evening and running the noise machine all night.

But as happy as I was to have those three little things providing most of what we really needed (especially since our house still had heat and running water), the fourth day of the outage when I found some ladies cooking up egg sandwiches on a gas stove in downtown Ukiah, I immediately bought two of them for our lunch.

And that sandwich would have been delicious any day, but after four days of instant oatmeal and canned soup, that egg, bacon and cheese served on soft, warm bread tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Three cool Halloween costumes I saw in Ukiah

Strolling through downtown Ukiah on Halloween this year, the first costume that caught my eye was made by teen Noah Edelman, who was carrying his own head.

That was cool.

"I figured I'm a bit too old to be trick-or-treating, so I'd better make a really good costume," said Edelman, who is now a freshman at Ukiah High School, explaining that he got the idea for the costume from a book he found on his parents' shelves called "The Encyclopedia of Immaturity."

The second costume that caught my eye was a wagon mousetrap carrying Carson Kennedy, nine-months-old, who was dressed in a grey mouse costume and trying to eat a plastic hunk of cheese.

"His great-grandfather made this for him," said mom Kenzie Kornegay, explaining that her grandfather Brian Kornegay makes boards for the game cornhole, so he just needed to make the round hole a bit bigger so Carson could fit through.

My favorite adult costume was definitely Grey Wolf-Smith as Divine, an actor who starred in the John Waters' movies Hairspray and Pink Flamingos.

"I made the eyebrows myself, and I almost ran out of make-up!" said Wolf-Smith of Divine's signature eye shadowing that covered much of his forehead.