"Be prepared"—as the Boy Scout motto goes. "Plan for the best, but expect the worst." "It's better to have something and not need it, then it is to need something and not have it." There are many such sayings, because even with the best-laid plans, accidents happen and things sometimes go wrong. Take for example, our story.
Much of our year is spent living in a 43-foot, triple-slide RV. Overall, we have the basic necessities that exist in a brick or stick house, including a residential-sized refrigerator, a washer and dryer, a full stove plus a convection/microwave oven combo, a queen-sized bed with fluffy, thick blankets, etc. Actually, staying in the RV is really quite similar to living in a small apartment, but we have added benefits. For one thing, we're able to travel without packing or leaving home. We have no pet deposits for our fur-babies that apartments and hotels usually require. Plus, we have no yearly (intrusive) lease-renewal process or landlord to deal with. In fact, if we don't like our neighbors, we can just leave. Truly, we're very blessed and usually quite comfortable…usually.
Even with Great Accommodations and the Best-Laid Plans…
Sometimes, however, the weather changes so abruptly that it catches us ill-prepared. For example, over the last three days we've experienced outside temperatures in the mid-80s with a heat index that ranged up to 97-degrees Fahrenheit. It has been quite toasty and we even ran our air-conditioning units during the day. Last night, though, the temperature dropped to 54-degrees where it has remained all day! Thankfully, we have plenty of propane for the furnace (plus, two space heaters to be used in emergencies) to maintain comfortable conditions inside, especially at night.
Last fall we experienced quite a different story; we definitely were not as prepared. Anyone who has ever lived in or even visited Missouri can attest: "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." After several hot and humid days, a cold front entered. To say we were NOT ready would actually be an understatement. The cold front took even the local and national weather forecasters by surprise.
This Is What Happened Next
Overnight, the temperature dipped 40 to 50-degrees lower. With the previously warm weather, when we had recently depleted our reserve of propane for the RV's furnace, we had neglected to get it refilled. We were in fact completely out. The nearest gas supply company that serviced motorhomes was many miles away; plus, it had already closed for the weekend. We would have several very chilly days to endure before we could fill the tank.
We could have (and perhaps should have) stayed in one of the local hotels, but that seemed like a huge hassle. First, there were the fur-babies to consider. Not only is it a pain to take two dogs and two cats into a hotel, there is often a costly fee required for each and some establishments don't even allow pets. Second, since we always travel in our RV, I'm not sure if we even own luggage. Third, we don't like leaving our RV unattended overnight if we don't have to. Fourth, there was some music or sporting event during this time and many if not all of the hotels would have been booked. Last, we really do prefer our own bed with our own pillows and our own thick blankets. It wasn't an option we wanted to consider.
How We Planned to Survive and What Really Happened
Thankfully, we had our space heaters, right? The first choice was the heating unit that we often used on particularly cold nights to supplement our furnace, which has the added benefit of helping us conserve propane. We plugged it in, turned the switch, and…nothing…absolutely nothing. No light came on; no attempt at a whir. It had stopped working entirely.
Okay… so then we went to the next option. This was a unit that we had recently acquired from a friend who was upgrading to a newer model. We kept it as a back-up to our back-up and intended only to use it for emergencies. It was obvious to us that this was that emergency. So, we plugged it in and turned it on. It worked—for a few minutes. That was when we discovered that our generator couldn't handle the amount of power required to run the space heater for more than a few minutes before shutting off entirely, leaving us without any electricity.
This could have nearly been a comedy if it hadn't been so cold. For most people this would have been a catastrophe. We were (and are) not most people. That doesn’t mean, however, that we're special or even have that certain type hardiness that makes some people choose to join "the polar bear club" (a group of those individuals who spend free time jumping into icy water) or live in the northern wilderness of Alaska. We do, however, have a secret weapon. We have a retail business that sells extremely thick blankets.
How We Used Thick Blankets to Survive
At any given time, we have a large supply at our disposal. We have tons of fluffy, thick blankets in a large range of styles from faux-fur throws to quilts in every color possible. We have abstract prints, animal skin prints, paisley and raindrop patterns, and those with images in African and Alaskan wildlife, sea-life, mythical, Native American, novelty, and western designs, among others. We also have double-sided two-ply and faux-sheepskin backed Sherpa blankets.
We have so many different styles, in fact, that we often have trouble restricting ourselves to which ones we want to keep for our own use. That was why—on that night—we had so many from our personal stock to choose from. We already had a beautiful, lodge-style, heavy weight thick blanket on our bed. We also had been using a twin-sized Sherpa blanket for our tiny dog and a heavy-weight mink blanket for our big dog. Our cats shared the use of one of the medium-weight blankets, which they could move knead and adjust to their hearts' content.
This Experience Lasted for THREE Days
Of course, life doesn't get put on hold just because it's cold. As we continued to work on our website over the next three days, we each sat cozily under a different one of the twin-sized, Sherpa comforters we offer (well, the Sherpas and our cats). At night, as the temperature would drop well into the teens, we could have stayed in a hotel, or even with friends or family members. Honestly, however, with our fluffy, thick blankets we really didn't need to.
We added one of the double-sided, southwest-styled blankets on top of the lodge-style, heavy weight one we normally used and we were comfy and warm. In fact, by using the two covers, it was almost a little too warm. With the help of our snuggly mink blankets, we slept soundly through each of the frigid nights. Plus, with blankets of their own, so did all of our fur-babies.
So, there you have it. That was how we survived several nights (and days) in terribly cold temperatures without any source of heat. Now, don't get me wrong, I totally realize that there are many people who have it much worse than we did that weekend. We weren't homeless or destitute or anything like it; we were just living without heat during an unexpectedly frigid time. Sometimes, it's all a matter of what you're used to.
So, What Did We Learn from All This?
There's no good that comes from a tough experience that you don't learn from, and we learned quite a few things during those days that we find helpful to use with the business. For example, these thick blankets are the perfect size to keep conveniently placed in one's vehicle in case of cold-weather emergencies. They look beautiful (as well as being comfortable) as a throw for your sofa, which keeps one handy in case you need it and they're great for sleep-over guests. Also, we now know first-hand that these comforters are perfect for use as a camping blanket in all but the coldest temperatures.
In ConclusionOf course, we have absolutely no intention of ever experiencing something like that again, so we've made a few changes. We now keep a much closer eye on the propane levels in the RV and check them on a daily basis. We have also replaced both of our space heaters with newer, more energy-efficient models. Aside from all of that, I am confident that if we had to that our fluffy, thick blankets would save the day (and night) once more. With so many options, we have a weight for every temperature, and a color or design for every season and mood. We've even gifted at least one blanket or quilt to each and every one of our friends and family members. Check out our selection of snuggly mink blankets and stay warm, my friends!