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Life without electricity is so 18th century

The first sign something was going on was the impressive lightning display Saturday night.

It was the type of forked lightning that brightened the entire sky. My wife and I were in Scottsdale, where it was a little windy and looked as if it may rain at any moment.

On the 25-minute drive home a few sprinkles of rain did touch the windshield but nothing out of the ordinary. That is until we pulled into our neighborhood in north central Phoenix.

There was a huge puddle, though puddle doesn’t seem to be the appropriate word to describe the amount of water filling up the storm drain.

Then there were the downed trees everywhere — big trees uprooted, small trees snapped in half. They didn’t have a fighting chance against Mother Nature.

It was the monsoon, the one I had been warned about since arriving in Phoenix eight years ago. Sure, we’ve been through a bunch of them: dust storms, wind, downpours. It was clear this was by far the worst we’d seen. The National Weather Service said it was a microburst. Winds reached up to 100 mph. That’s what tore up my neighborhood.

Several neighbors lost their entire retaining walls.

Thankfully, Amy and I missed the actual storm, but we didn’t get away free and clear. The garage door didn’t work. At first, we wondered if was time to replace the battery but when I walked through the front door I realized the power was out. At 12:30 a.m. the house was pitch black.

No big deal. We’ve all been through power outages before. Usually they are repaired quickly. As we climbed into bed we thought we’d wake up and the power would be back on.

It wasn’t.

When I woke up I had no idea what time it was. Our digital alarm clocks were off and my cellphone was dead. I almost had to bust out the sundial. Thankfully, my running watch still had some juice left.

The power had been off for about nine hours at that point. It would remain off for another six, finally coming back on around 4 p.m.

That’s not a long time to go without power I realize, but it was enough time to realize just how much I take energy for granted.

Just about everything in my house runs on power. I couldn’t watch TV. I couldn’t use my laptop or go online. I couldn’t turn on the fans on. Worse yet, I couldn’t charge my phone!

What were we going to do?

Amy and I ended up going to breakfast and then bowling instead of sitting around the house in the heat.
Electricity really powers so much of our lives. We depend on it every day. Only when it’s gone do we realize how much.

Amy and I were lucky — we didn’t have any damage to our house. Parts of our roof didn’t fly off. A tree didn’t fall on my car. Our brick wall is still intact. We don’t have to rebuild anything.

But I did learn a valuable lesson: how good we truly have it.