Expect the Unexpected

Hello to All!

As I’m writing this, I’m in a hotel in Eugene, Oregon, thirty minutes from where I’ve been living for the winter, at my brothers’ property. We experienced a very unexpected and rare occurrence here in northwestern Oregon … several days of very heavy snow. Eugene got over a foot. Something they rarely have seen – if ever – in the past couple decades. Where my brother and I were, we had up to 2 feet in some areas, including on our very steep driveway.

The power went out early morning on Monday, February 25th.  As of today, March 4th, it’s still out. E.T.A. is Thursday this week.

Having no backup power, we got quite chilly. Fortunately, the outdoors only got down into the 20s. (I say fortunately because my home town of Helena, MT is experiencing not just the snow but cold temps below zero … like -25.) There was no power to the pump house for the well, so water was no longer available for washing and toilet flushing. (We did have drinking water for at least a week.)

We lasted until Friday, March 1st, trying to shovel the very long and steep driveway, little by little, each day. It wasn’t melting quite fast enough. We were cold and tired. Finally, I found a nearby neighbor on Facebook. (Thank God for Facebook Groups!) They were able to shovel the steep driveway with a small tractor so we could get down the hill and out to a hotel. Whew!

This is definitely a lesson learned. When you’re living up on a mountain … a backup generator and heat source is a good idea! I also learned the importance of wearing a hat. It really helps keep you warm, especially sleeping at night. Socks & gloves too, of course.


I wrote the above section while we were in Eugene, waiting for the power to come back on. It is back on now and we’re home, appreciating a warm house & melting snow. The temps are back to normal – in the 50s during the day. (Spring is on its way … Yay!)

But I do feel the experience has changed my perspective about being more prepared for unexpected happenings. Since I don’t live here permanently, I won’t be investing in a generator or other items, but I feel better educated about such things. And I can share my knowledge with others, who may need it in their planning.

My past experiences of camping did come to mind during our “powerless” time. We did have sleeping bags. Not a bad thing to have around. A camp stove with a little propane container would have been very helpful to heat up some water and some dinner. We did have a fire pit to use. My brother built a fire to melt snow for water to refill toilet tanks, and to do some cooking. We were able to use up a bit of the frozen veggies – cooking them on the fire. (Food just tastes so much better over an open fire … why is that?!)

I give myself some kudos for having bought some candles, and keeping extra matches, flashlights and batteries with me on my “walkabout”. Those came in handy when it got dark! (My brother … had one flashlight and no extra batteries …) I’m also grateful that I had a backup battery for my phone, and a car adapter to use for recharging (and a full tank of gas, just in case).

I’m grateful to have survived the experience unscathed. We made the best of our 4 nights of unexpected hotel-living, enjoying some nice restaurants and hanging out at bookstores. It was also interesting chatting with local people, some who were also stranded at hotels, some who had backup systems, but were still making adjustments to being without power for so long, and to having so much snow. The last time they experienced that much snow in Eugene was in the 1960s!

I hope you are all enjoying warmer weather and starting to see the hope of Spring!

Here’s to being healthier day-by-day!

Mary Z








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *