It happened overnight. The fan stopped running. Why did we have the fan running on a snowy night, you might ask. During summers with no air conditioning, a box fan to put in the window is indispensable. Having bought our home in June, we got used to the hum of the fan.

So even during the coldest nights, we still run the fan for the consoling white noise it provides. The lack of noise and the deafening silence that followed clued me in that we’d lost power. It’s not so bad during the dead of night when you can burrow under the covers.

But come morning? Not so much fun. As the minutes turned into hours, the house became cold. Yep, we’re on of the few in the neighborhood with a pellet stove instead of a wood stove. A pellet stove requires power to run the auger to drop the pellets into the burn pot.

More than the loss of the stove, I noticed the loss of the internet. My connection with the outside world disappeared. I ended up curled up in a blanket reading a book.

But then when I took the dogs for a walk, I heard it. The rumblings of generators around me — my neighbors who were safely ensconced in their home, their lights aglow and their televisions on. How nice would that be?

After our fourth winter in Nederland, we finally succumbed. We’d been thinking about it, and then we took the plunge when the local Costco offered a $200 rebate. We bought our own generator.

At first, we just ran extension cords and plugged in the most important things, the refrigerator and the pellet stove. But then my father-in-law came to visit, the ultimate handyman and a trained electrician. He wired it into our main breaker box.


The final bit of luxury came from tying our duel fuel generator to our main propane tank.

“We can run the generator for 7-10 days now!” crowed my husband.

We had joined the ranks of the “haves”.

A few years ago, a widespread power outage took out the power in all of Nederland down most of Boulder Canyon. The sight of darkened Nederland seemed eerie, with the local shopping center devoid of activity.

We’d been running our generator for several hours, when I got a call on my cell phone. It was my friend Rae.

“So how are you doing tonight?” she asked.

“Oh, we’re just hanging out, what about you?”

“Well, we’ve got a couple of candles burning and I’m trying to read a book. We’re cooking on our camp stove on the back porch.”

OMG! I’d totally forgotten the power was out. We’d been sitting in our living room, watching TV, checking email and had just finished eating dinner we’d prepared on our stove. It just seemed like any other evening at our mountain home.

“Rae, I completely forgot the power was out. We have a generator and have been running it for hours. I just finished watching a movie. Do you want to come over here?”

“No, it’s ok, I’m sure they’ll get the power on soon.”

I detected a note of lament in her voice.

Now, we were the ones being envied…