1. the guys at home depot
will help you improvise just about ANYTHING! in my case, we "converted" one of their empty 5-gallon water cooler refills into a transportation device for jeff to bring home water from work each night. it sounds ridiculous, but this has improved our current "lifestyle" HUGELY!!!!
2. manischewitz memorial candles
i bought a flat of these when every local store was sold out of all other unscented candles and we were down to my last few xmas pillars! but seriously, for $1.20 each they are the slowest, cleanest, steadiest-burning candles i've ever had... and they come in their own little glass jars!
3. foodstuffs to which you "just add boiling water"
ordinarily these are things we avoid, but the lure of a hot meal we can prepare by manually lighting our gas stove and heating the kettle is awesome... and afterwards you throw the dishes away! (because if you have to boil water to wash and rinse every single dish, this turns into a huge consideration!)
4. red lights
ok, yeah, historically these have not been my favorites, either, but the next time you are sitting at a busy intersection, imagine trying to cross it WITHOUT a pre-agreed set of rules for the flow of traffic. most of our local roads are now back to having traffic signals, and we are VERY pleased and relieved about that!
5. charging stations
many of the local firehalls and community centers with generators have set up as places one can go to plug in a phone, a laptop, a rechargeable flashlight. what a brilliant and truly helpful idea!
6. accurate battery life estimates
our new toshiba satellite laptop is aces for this... they predict 9 hours and by golly, they deliver, even if you spend part of that time watching a dvd!
(i will now womanfully gloss-over the inadequacies of a certain fruit-named computer company in this department, by virtue of the fact that their vowel-phone has saved my life on multiple occasions this week. but still, guys, you're the biggest company in the world, you could make a battery last 24 hours, surely??!?!)
7. clean fridge
ok, admittedly, at the moment, it's more of a warm unlighted cupboard, but it totally sparkles and shines in there!!! :) :) :) (and luckily, we were able to "re-locate"most of our food to my mom's house on day 2, so we didn't lose very much!)
8. emails from the nieces and nephew
yesterday i ALMOST deleted a message which began with a paragraph of random letters and symbols; as it turns out, this was (5yo) nephew matthew, asking if we had electricity yet! i know because his (10 yo) cousin riley supervised his typing adventure and then translated the results! all of the small fry and their families are well, and despite some storm damage are now fully equipped with all mod cons... but not yet back at school. to them, this was the BEST WEEK EVER!!! :) :) :)
hope *YOU* are well and safe and warm, darlings, and i will let you know when we are back to "normal"... assuming we actually recognize such a state when it returns!!!