When I was in sixth grade, there was a huge winter blizzard.
We accumulated three feet of snow in a single night.
There was a driving ban and all the area schools were closed for several days. My siblings and I were delighted to stay home and play outside in the snow. We built a big fort and a snowman. We all were so sure it would still be standing there until Spring. The outside temperature had dropped below zero. My parents kept the furnace running at maximum capacity to maintain a warm home. I knew they were concerned about the cost of heating and the possibility of a furnace malfunction. With the blizzard continuing to cause problems, there was a real concern over a lengthy power outage. The furnace required electricity to start up operate. No power meant we’d be without heat. My parents considered moving us into a hotel room but were hesitant to drive on slippery roads. Plus, it was almost Christmas time and the nearby hotels had raised their rates. My Dad finally announced that he was investing in a standby generator. A generator was really expensive, but mom and dad were convinced it was worth it. I remember the HVAC contractor arriving at our home, all bundled up, and struggling to install it. The job was difficult because of the buildup of snow on the ground and the cold. The contractor also inspected and tested the furnace to make sure everything was operating properly. The generator turned out to be a good idea. Two days later, the power went out in the neighborhood. Our area was without electricity for five days. My family would have been without flushing toilets, lights, running water or heat on Christmas day. We were able to keep the furnace running and go on as usual. We had a crowded house for Christmas, because most of the neighbors moved in because they needed access to heat.