Hurricane Irene: Caffeine Withdrawal, Cowboy Chili, and Dinner by Candlelight

It took a hurricane to keep me off caffeine for a day.

As Hurricane Irene worked her way up the East coast on Sunday, I awoke at 6 a.m. without power. I looked at the trees blowing in the wind. With no coffee or Internet calling my name, I fell back asleep. At around 9, we all got up and installed batteries in a portable radio. We heard the news that, yes, there was a hurricane outside and much of the area was without power. We had bowls of cereal with still-cold milk.

I am a coffee fiend, and I was definitely feeling the withdrawal. A low-grade headache and lack of energy were with me most of the day. (Giving up caffeine for a day was one of the items on my 101 things list, and I had been putting off giving it a try.)

I went back to bed and slept until 12:30, as did the rest of my family. I virtually never can fall back asleep once I’m up!

After a lunch of pasta salad that I had prepared the day before, we broke out the board games, which was another item on my list of 101 things.

We all played Monopoly while listening to news updates on the radio.

After a late afternoon update that the storm had passed, we ventured out into the neighborhood for a walk. The rain had stopped, and the wind still gusted occasionally. Some trees were down and we talked to one neighbor whose roof was damaged, but overall our area was fortunate to not have much damage, although the power was out everywhere we saw.

My sons got hired by a neighbor to do some yard work. While they were down the street, my husband and I started making some “Cowboy Chili” over a fire in the backyard. I had some still-frozen ground turkey and homemade chicken stock that I wanted to use up before they went bad, and then I just used whatever else I had on hand.

Cowboy Chili

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • canned beans: kidney, pinto, garbanzo
  • can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock (or water)
  • small can green chilies
  • small can enchilada sauce
  • spice mixture: handful each of cumin, coriander, chili powder; dash each of oregano, salt, and pepper

I usually cook my chili for a long time over low heat. Over the fire, though, it came to a rapid boil and was done in no time. I let it cook for about 10 extra minutes after it was assembled.

It was delicious.

Another item on my “101 things” list was dinner by candlelight. This was not how I initially pictured it, but it was good all the same.

After dinner, we hung out around the radio listening to a show of great stories about nemeses on NPR. I remembered my dad’s stories of how excited he was as a boy to wait for “The Shadow” to come on the radio.

We were very fortunate that none of us was hurt, and we had no damage from the storm.

And we had such a great day: it took a hurricane to get us to sleep in, go for a walk together, play a board game, cook over a fire, and gather around the radio. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect day spent with my family.

Great as it was, I let out a little squeal of delight when the power came on late the next morning.

Were you affected by Hurricane Irene?

101 things in 1001 days:

  • #45. Have dinner by candlelight.
  • #55. Play, give away, or throw out each of the 32 board games in my basement. (1/32 completed.)
  • #99. Give up caffeine for a day.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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17 Responses to Hurricane Irene: Caffeine Withdrawal, Cowboy Chili, and Dinner by Candlelight

  1. Thomas C. says:

    Well, you did better than I did, during the hurricane. I managed to watch a movie on Netflix (because we still had power), and the contractor sent someone over to do a little more work on our bathroom renovation. So, I applaud you!

    As for the damage from the storm, here in Brooklyn, it could have been much worse. We had a slight leak in the basement, and a slight leak on the front porch, but there wasn’t much in the way of real damage, and (at least in my neighborhood) no flooding.

    (I did think that I was on track for a vegetarian day, until my partner reminded me that there’s meat in the dry sausage that we’d gotten for our ‘survival provisions”

  2. Glad you made it out okay!
    Shannon ~ My Place In The Race recently posted..Memory LossMy Profile

  3. sammy says:

    Glad that you were ok! Love your dinner by candelight.
    sammy recently posted..Meatless Monday (just a couple of days late)My Profile

  4. Jamie says:

    The chile looks delicious! I am a chile fanatic…It’s one of the few meals I think I could eat every day FOREVER. :0) If I’m ever in need of a big batch, I’ll try your recipe!

    Glad you guys fared well during Irene. It’s great that you got some fun family time out of it!

  5. It’s so great that you took a day that could have been a wash and made it into something special. I’m glad you got to check a few things off your list! When my husband and I aren’t eating in front of the tv, we always use candles. It’s a nice way to end the day.

    Thank you for sharing this with us at Rub Some Dirt On It!
    Becky @ Rub Some Dirt On It recently posted..Our EmMy Profile

  6. Shannon says:

    Well, that certainly sounds like a lemons-to-lemonade day. I could see looking back on that with a lot of fondness (but only because it ended shortly — a couple more days and I’d be putting my head in the chili pot).
    Shannon recently posted..YARN, ART, AND A FABULOUS WEIGHT WATCHERS CAKE RECIPEMy Profile

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  8. Love this! You make it look like fun… though I’m sure it wasn’t. And, as you say above, definitely not on day two…

    Visiting via the Rewind.
    Life In A Pink Fibro recently posted..The sun, she always risesMy Profile

  9. I’m glad you got through unscathed! And what a resourceful idea to cook chilli over a fire in the backyard. I guess you do what you have to when you have no power. It looks a bit like camping, at home!

    Thanks for rewinding it today, makes the rain seem not so bad afterall – compared to a Hurricane!
    Mum of Adult Kids recently posted..Ten things I should have taught my kids (…but apparently I haven’t)My Profile

  10. MultipleMum says:

    I love that you were able to power through your list and take advantage of the lack of electricity. Your chilli looks fab! You have given me an idea with your 101 in 1001. I shall spruce up my 52in52 list and power on. Thanks for Rewinding x

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