July 5, 2012


A freak and unexpected storm Friday left us powerless for 48 hours.  The first several years we lived here it was quite common to lose our power for some period of time varying from hours to days.  We typically view this as an adventure.  The kids think of it like Little House on the Prairie and find a lot of fun in finding ways to do things like our fore fathers did.

This time was a little different.  For one being, we have almost always lost power in the winter.  I have decided that is the ideal time.  You can keep your groceries cold by putting them outdoors.  You can cook and heat the house with the wood stove.  And there is no shortage of water when you bring ice and snow in from outdoors.

But in the summer, it is a little harder.  Keeping food cold and safe to eat is a challenge.  Cooling the house down is impossible.  And while we were able to use pool water to keep cool and flush and wash up to some degree, fresh water to get really clean is at a premium.

Just the same, not realizing the severity of the storm or how long the power would be off, we kicked back and enjoyed an amazing show during the hour or more of thunder, lightening and down pouring rain Friday evening.

We were helping to host a baby shower on Saturday morning.  Because of the humidity we intentionally waited until Friday night to make the poms.

*Side note*  These are a huge hit.  Since the girls introduced them at my birthday party in February we have had countless requests to make them for various functions.  The girls keep looking for different ways to make them so they aren't always the same old thing.  This time they used brown and yellow tissue paper and trimmed the edges to make enormous poms.  

So in the midst of a raging storm the girls made poms by the light of a lantern.
The rain continued to pour down all night and in the oppressive heat and humidity it got quite warm.  All the windows had to stay closed because the rain was coming in from all directions.  We settled into bed fully expecting to have power back by morning.

But not so.  We did not realize how very bad it was until Allen and I made our way outdoors early the next morning for our Bible study.  The first thing we noticed was the wrought iron table and chairs had been blown clear across the yard.  
When I noticed plants torn up by the roots I commented to Allen how it looked like a tornado had come through.  We found trees and limbs down all around but still didn't understand it was a widespread issue taking out power to a million homes.  I was kind of bummed about the destruction to our garden, which was doing amazing for the first time since stink bugs made their way here three years ago.
But what do you do?  You move on and do what you need to do.  Namely, finish preparing for the shower, get coffee and find a way to do hair with no blow dryers, flat iron or curling iron.

Everyone pitches in around here on a good day.  In times of crisis we resort to things you never thought you do.  For Pa that means making party favors and shaving outside by the pool.
Dressed, teeth brushed, make up on, and poms in hand we took the family to town to find Starbucks... where everyone else without power came for their Saturday morning pick-me-up.

Fortunately, the shower was being held at another lady's house so we didn't have to work through that issue, too.  Party favors by Pa... Potted Impatients with Thank You on one side and "Impatient to meet baby" on the other.
Love this garland of brown twine with yellow and brown baby things for the expectant Mama
Dawn, Gosia and Yours Truly
While we were in town our friends dropped their generator at our house to cool down the fridge for a while.
Well, we know what is important, eh?  Four laptops and three cell phones plugged up to charge.  We have two pregnant friends near their due date counting on us to be available when they go into labor.  We were really figuring one of them would during the outage, because that's how babies are.
The kids had planned to have a Posh Happy Hour Competition over the weekend.  (To read about Wachter Happy Hour click here.)  Everything was planned and purchased and we had to eat anyway so they voted to move ahead as planned.  I was completely impressed with the way they worked around things, the clever touches they added in light of the power outage and how amazingly delicious and posh their happy hours were.

They divided into three teams.  Emma and Aedan had Saturday night.  Their menu included these fabulous shrimp skewers with olives, roasted red peppers and asiago cheese.  They paired it with a fruity peach drink.
In addition to other requirements, each team was graded for how clean they left the kitchen.  Without water to clean up the other teams were good sports to jump in and help wash dishes by the pool.
One other thing that made this outage extra challenging and extra fun was the arrival of Aunt Dawn for three days.  We don't mind sticking it out ourselves but I hated not having the creature comforts available.   Here is where good friends come in.  She jumped right in with us and kept right on smiling through the whole mess.
The friends who brought the generator had no power at their house either.  Reports from the power company was that we could expect things to be down for 7-10 days.  Saturday night Allen's folks brought their huge generator over.  Allen set about trying to connect it to our well pump to get water to the house so we could make it to church Sunday morning.  There was no way we would take our family in the state they were in.  Although, we did toy with the idea of sitting in the overflow room and announcing unclean to anyone who came near.  When all the hardware stores reported the connector we needed was sold out in the tri-state area, Allen decided it was best for us to stay without the camp.
Emma's friend stopped by and had a dip in the pool to cool down a bit.  *Totally unrelated side note* I can't believe how grown up these two friends are.
It was really miserably hot in our house by Saturday night.  The kids opted to sleep on the floor in the basement.
I really don't understand why the coffee maker had to be plugged up outside instead of in the kitchen, but I am glad that it worked so we could make coffee Sunday morning.
I was also glad we had baked this breakfast on Friday morning.  It was delicious with fresh logan berries from our orchard.
A drive out to the in-laws secured the part we needed to connect the well pump.  Allen and Sam spent the afternoon wiring it up.
While the rest of us tried for a little nap to make up for the missed sleep the night before.  Aunt Dawn had a good rest in the hammock, after she got used to the swaying.
Brianna and Samuel had Happy Hour duty on Sunday night and wowed us with their ingenuity.  They began by bringing the toaster oven outdoors and plugging it up via the generator to cook their sausage bites.  We were greeted with ice cold wash clothes to cool down in the 90 ish degree heat.
The menu:  Sausage rolls, fruit with a creamy dip and Pellegrino over ice with lime wedges.
Meanwhile, the laundry we put in just before the power went off on Friday was getting nasty to say the least.  Allen rigged up the washer so we could run a few loads.
And as long as the toaster oven was hooked up, I decided to bake a Red Velvet Berry cobbler for dessert.
Monday morning was Carmella's first birthday and although she would make no notice of it, we couldn't let it go without recognition.  The girls had planned a lady bug theme months ago so Sunday night, they set about preparing for the second party without power.

And that's when the lights blinked back on.  Eleven o'clock Sunday night, after a 49 hour adventure.

Now, I know many people who enjoy camping.  This experience has again made me ask WHY????  This was enough roughing it for my taste, to be sure.  Although, if I do have to do it, I am glad I could do it with my gang who proved once again the trials in  life can be the best memory makers when viewed as merely a challenge to rise to the occasion with as much poshness as one can muster.


  1. Well, if the power has to be out, the Wachters certainly know how to make the best of it! I love the Happy Hour menus; mmm . . . my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Where do y'all get the recipes?

    Those poms are gorgeous . . . would a tutorial post sometime soon be a possiblity? It would be great fun to make them for Momma's birthday in a few weeks. :)

    And one last question, and then I'm done. ;) Kaitlin's bathing suit is adorable; would you mind letting me know where you got it? Momma and I have been looking all over for a more modest one for me, but to no avail. :/

    I hope I haven't worn you out with all those questions. :P Tell all the other Wachters I said hello!

    Elizabeth Rose

    1. Well, some are family recipes we make all the time... such as the sausage rolls. We love to flip through magazines for ideas, like the shrimp skewers. Some are favorites we have collected from friends over the years, note the fruit dip. And some come out of our little old heads. We don't mind experimenting and with so many people there is usually someone who will like what you make so not much waste to worry about. If there is a specific one you would like just say the word and I will post as time allows.

      As for the poms... I have asked the girls to do a guest post with a tutorial ASAP. They assure me it will be in the next day or two.

      Swimsuits are so tough for sure! We get most of our swimwear from Lands End. My girls don't mind looking and shopping so they do most of the hunting for me. They like to coordinate all the suits for the family each year, which incidentally makes for some adorable beach pictures each fall. They can be very pricey so we shop at the overstocks, watch for the amazing annual sales and shop in the clearance each August for next year's outfits. eBay is a great source if you are just looking for one suit and not trying to match ten. There are a few formulas that work for us.

      1. Swim skirts and or dresses. These are gaining in popularity so they are becoming easier to find, which often means less expensive. It really is important to check measurements for the length and try on if possible. I had one that was almost knee length from Lands End several years ago. I loved it! As I lost weight after Elisabeth's birth I ordered what I thought was the same one. It comes just half way down my thighs and while it looks modest from the front is shorter than I would like in the rear. I have a lot of padding in the back, if you get my drift, so someone less proportioned may not have so much trouble in this area.

      2. My girls LOVE to get mens swim trunks to coordinate with their tops. They come to knee length or below, dry quickly and look very adorable. One of the reasons we prefer to shop at Lands End is because it is easy to coordinate the ladies tops with the mens trunks. Check measurements carefully. Boys and men lack the hips of young ladies so you have to allow room in your fit to get over those curves. If you are well rounded like Brianna and Kaitlin you may consider Husky boys. Most trunks have draw strings so the waist is not an issue.

      3. Tankini tops. This is a matter of looking and seeking and preference. The nice thing here, of course, is that you can find exactly what you like. Be careful to check for a lined top.

      4. Rashguard or surfer type shirts. These aren't just for the guys. Emma likes to get a lined bikini top that fits more like a bra and put a swim shirt over top. In years past she has chosen a boys rashguard that coordinates with her trunks or skirt. Last fall she found the adorable stripped one in the girls listing. You can see it in this picture. (Scroll down to girls washing dishes by the pool) We really were crazy for the feminine cut. If going with a boys cut allow room for the bust measurement. You can also wear a standard one piece and put the rashguard over top, but we prefer more coverage on the bottom and the one piece is a hindrance on visits to the ladies' room.

      My sweet friend, I always welcome your questions, as long as you don't mind me taking forever to answer them. ☺ Hugs back from the Wachter gang!

  2. What an adventure! I had to laugh at the pic of all your kids lined up in the basement. We lost power for multiple days a couple of years ago and our whole family did the same thing - so hot!!

    Love the poms! I can see why your girls get asked to make them all the time. Is it something they came up with on their own or did they find a tutorial somewhere?

    I also love the happy hour competition! That is one of my family's favorite things as well and we are always looking for new appetizers, treats, and drinks to try!



    1. It's always about the poms, isn't it! Laughing out loud, dear girl. I think it is a little of this and a little of that. My girls tend to find an idea somewhere and then fly it with until it becomes their own. As I said to Elizabeth Rose, a tutorial has been promised shortly right here at Art's Chili Pepper. It's funny about those things because we made them when I was in girl scouts 30 years ago. When I saw them pop up again last winter I was shocked that anyone would be interested and then my very own daughters fell in love. It just goes to show, everything comes back around eventually.

      As for Happy Hour, we love it! I love appetizer food anyway. I will often make a meal of just an appetizer and when we eat out I have such a hard time deciding on just one because they all always look so tempting. One of my favorites this time of year is Cevice. Oh, yum! We make lots of great drinks by substituting alcohol for various sodas or juices. Also, go to the mixer section on the shelf or in the freezer department of your grocery store. Many of those are fabulous with club soda and a twist of lime or a maraschino cherry tossed in. I find lots of ideas flipping through my two favorite magazines, Coastal Living and Southern Living. A good pitcher of tea sweetened with fresh mint springs or a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade should not be over looked, though. A number of years ago Allen gave me the book, "Margarita Mama" (available at Amazon) which is full of delicious and often nutritious Mocktail recipes. When you have some time, perhaps you will share some of your favorite recipes with us?

      Wishing you many Happy Hours with a pom or two thrown in,