Look what we bought. Shiny, spanking new and with an 11-hour run time. It will easily power a freezer or a fridge, and a computer. We got through Y2K without succumbing to the paranoia and purchasing one, but the time has come.
The first weekend we moved into our house in '94 we had a power and telephone outage, and things haven't improved much since then. Winter and its snowstorms usually brings us several significant outages, lasting the better part of a day or two. Spring and fall rainstorms can do the same as trees fall on power lines anywhere along the miles and miles of remote power grid here.
Mostly we greet power interruptions with an enjoyable sense of adventure. The kids grab board games and books and we hunker down together in the living room to enjoy the simpler pace of life off the grid. We're pretty well set up for most outages. We have a wood stove that keeps our house warm even in the depths of January. The stove has a small cooking surface. Our water is gravity-fed, not relying on a pump. We have corded telephones. We have plenty of lanterns and candles, and a wind-up radio.
But we've never, until this summer, had a significant (i.e. more than a few hours) electrical outage at the peak of summer. Food was the main issue, especially with all the music school busyness and entertaining we had just been preparing for. With the temperature well over 30 Celsuis, we couldn't just put a cooler of food outside once our refrigerator warmed up, which it did, fast! There wasn't ice and snow all over the landscape with which to keep things in the chest freezer frozen. We certainly weren't about to build a woodstove fire to heat up hot water for dishes and bathing. We managed, thanks in large measure to the goodwill of a friend with a generator. Lesson learned.
So our little blue friend has joined the family as a form of insurance and peace of mind.