March 24, 2011

I love electricity

I love that stuff, electricity. I really do! I do not fully understand it, but hey, if it just keeps on coming to my house, I am ecstatic!

Well here is the thing: if you have something abundantly, lack not, you can trust it is always there, you do not really appreciate it. Do not feel hurt now, but it is true: how many times did you thank God for electricity during the last year? How many Christmas cards have you sent to your local electric company? In how many "Thank You" speeches do people actually mention the nice guys in the electric companies who keep their lights on and houses heated so that they can study and work and achieve great things? I thought so.

Once upon a time, the time b.c. (before children) we spent a summer in the middle of nowhere. There was no electricity except in the evenings when they turned the generator on for the lights. The generator was turned off 10 pm. So, everything you do, you do without the glorious wonder-spark that comes from the wall. There was no refrigeration. We cooked on gas, and if the food was going to be spoiled in the room temperatures, it got spoiled. We did our laundry by hand. The laundry was a project that included getting the ice cold mountain water from the well by man-power, up the stairs, onto the diesel stove, and then we hand washed the clothes. It was too much to heat the rinsing water, so we rinsed the clothes in the ice cold mountain water, squeezed it dry by hand (not very effective), and hung it on the lines to dry.

I washed my hair twice a week. At least I found my limit. I could not go for a week without washing my hair, but I could go for 3-4 days. Getting the bath water was a similar project to the laundry day. We cleaned the rooms by simple brooms and wiped the floors with rags. If we were out and about in the evenings, we had oil lanterns for light with us.

After those months we visited the US. Talk about a culture shock. We went to a country fair, and saw a book by Amish people called 'How to Live Without Electricity'. I looked at the book and asked aloud 'Why?'. Yes, why live without electricity if you don't have to? We did not buy the book.

I feel about saving electricity and I am pro-creation, protecting nature and recycling and stuff. But I am so so so thankful for electricity. It is great stuff.

Now here is the thing. Slowly, slowly, our electric company here has been weaning us from this gift. It really started about a month ago. I am so thankful that we had electricity during the winter. Yes, there were cuts, and it was never 24/7, but at least it was several hours a day, and on for most nights. But now. They started by giving us electricity for few hours in the mornings, and few hours in the evenings. About 5 am until 9am. Then, slowly slowly only until 8.30. Next day till 8 am. Guess what? Now we do not have ANY electricity in the mornings unless you count this ridiculous time from 3 am-5am. Yes, it will heat the water, but I am so not going to get up at 3 am to do laundry and vacuum and iron and bake and watch TV (I do not watch TV but I could, if I had electricity)!

So when the evening arrives, I am on pins and needles and just looking at the clock. Soon, it will be 6 pm. I have my laundry sorted and my washing machine ready. I have taken the vacuum out. The kettle is ready to go. I have made the batter and the cake is just waiting to be put into the oven. The heaters are on.

One night it was already 6.20 pm. Honestly, I was getting mad concerned. My husband said that it could be 6.40 before the electricity comes and I just did not want to believe it. And? It was 6.40 before the lights came on and the humming started in the kitchen. Oh, how I love that humming...

But slowly and surely we have been weaned from those 3 hours in the evening...nowadays it is just 1,5 hours between 7 pm and 9 pm. And I am screaming "Whyyyyy...." into the starry skies...I so do not want to start washing our dirty clothes by hand. But I might have to. I really prefer vacuuming over sweeping, considering all the little friends that could feel too comfortable without the vacuum. I love taking a shower versus pouring water over myself from a bucket and trying to rinse my hair with just one hand.

Here I have to confess night last week, waiting for the electricity to come on, I was ready for a counter-attack (I know this lack of electricity is not personal but it can feel like that sometimes). I put on all the electric devices, planned to use everything I could and needed...planned just to suck as much as I could from the lines when the mighty electricity would finally arrive...I would just use it all (maniac laugh)!

It is my right, as a human being, to have electricity. To have comfort. To have it easy...or at least little easier. A human right, right? Right?!

Have a look here:

1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity:

Breaking that down further:

Number of people living without electricity
RegionMillions without electricity
South Asia706
Sub-Saharan Africa547
East Asia224

We are so fortunate. YOU are so fortunate. I know it because you have a computer, you have an internet, you can keep your fingers from freezing when typing the address for my blog. You belong to the lucky numbers, my friend...

And I know all this lack of electricity or the abundance of it cannot rob me of my joy and contentment. Because the joy and peace I have is not based on circumstances.

No, it's not convenient, but it does not kill me. It grows character. (I hate that sentence. Do not use it on me.)

And 'they' promise it will be back in April. No one knows who 'they' are. It's ok. I will escape to the capital till it comes. See you later, with the lights on!

p.s. we are running the car right now to keep our batteries charged and the computers going :D So there! Ha ha!


  1. Hei,

    tämän jutun myötä rupesin vähän kiinnittään huomiota siihen, kuinka paljon elämä pyörii sähkön varassa. Yritin sitten miettiä, mitä se ois jos meilläki ois nuin tiukka säännöstely.. Sehän tarkoittais elintapojen täydellistä muutosta. Miten teidän jääkaappisysteemit esim pelaa, vai onko jotain korvaavaa olemassa?

  2. Hei, meillä on iso arkkupakastin, jossa on kaksi viiden litran vesipulloa täynnä vettä/jäätä, joten se pysyy yleensä kylmänä, vaikka sähköä ei olisikaan kuin muutama tunti vuorokaudessa. Jääkaapit ei pysy suosituksien rajoissa, mutta kuumennamme ruoan hyvin ennen syömistä! Ja maito meillä menee aika nopeaa. Muuta nopeasti pilaantuvaa meillä ei yleensä olekaan (kalaa tms). Kyllä täällä huomaa miten onnekkaita me sähkön kannalta olemme Suomessa! Nauttikaa :D

  3. Wow, Hennis! Fabulous to make us THINK. Thank God we are so blessed. I think of a great man from Korea so often these days. To Patrick: "Oh, you are so privileged to suffer," he said. WHAT?? Okay, okay, okay. I want to obey and be thankful for the challenges and hardships. Nothin' doin' (or NO WAY)!! :) Yet we are so very blessed in so many ways. I admire you for your candid honesty and profound words, Dear One. Lifting you up in enlightened ways now that I have read this. :) Thanks to your husband, too, for directing me from his "tweet." Love you all SO MUCH, Terri*

  4. Terri sister,
    thank you for your encouraging words and prayers. I NEED them! Our situation is same...not much electricity. It is tiring, but I endure it. After all, everything is temporary here...

  5. I can't imagine living with the unknown availability of electricity...what if your cake is only half baked and electricity stops? how irritating is that? Running the computer on the car battery, ingenious! Thankyou for sharing this reality with us with grace and humor. I can only relate to one thing: doing laundry by hand. I did this for a year in Germany...and in winter we hung our clothes to dry in an attic space, where first the clothes would freeze like boards! (Wringing out soggy clothing by hand is hard work!)

    1. Hi Diane,
      It has happened many times...half baked cake in the oven. Most of the time it will be okay and we willl eat it anyway :) You can always continue baking when the electricity comes again. But it sure is a nice luxury to have 24/7 electricity.
      In Finland we dry clothes outside a lot and I am familiar with frozen laundry too :)


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