We have this really frustrating thing in South Africa called load shedding, which basically entails the national electricity supplier cutting off the nation's electricity according to a set, revolving roster in order to ensure that we don't completely run out of power. (The reasons for being in this situation in the first place is, of course, a very sensitive and hotly debated issue that I have no interest in getting into here.) Electricity is usually cut for two hours at a time and thankfully it doesn't happen at the same time every day - it might, for example, be cut off from 18:00 to 20:00 on a Monday, then from 16:00 to 18:00 on a Tuesday, and so on. I love where the ad below, which illustrates some unique South African quirks, mentions load shedding, haha!
So, on some days load shedding plays nicely and happens at the non-disruptive hours of, e.g. 14:00 to 16:00. On other days, however, it happens slap bang in the middle of dinner-cooking and Barney-watching time, which is, of course, less ideal and takes a whole lot more planning and deep breathing.
We've learned by now, though, that being miserable about the whole situation won't fix anything; it just adds to the frustration. Instead, we're trying to roll with it and even benefit from it - something that we're definitely not good at just yet, but hey, at least we're trying, right? So, without any further ado, here's our five ways of benefiting from load shedding:
1. Go for a run
You saw this one coming, didn't you? But let me tell you a secret: Evening load shedding actually makes getting around to the club time trial every Tuesday evening much easier. It forces me to plan ahead and cook dinner during the day, which means that Will and the kids can tuck in while I go and run with the club. Thanks, load shedding.
|Time for club time trials!|
2. Go for a family walk
This has become one of our favourite activities during early-evening load shedding. We load the kids into the double stroller and stroll around the block just as the bats start waking up for their night-time escapades. Miss K has turned into an expert bat spotter and always sees the first one of the evening, which, of course, leads to plenty of high-fiving and shrieks of excitement. Quality family time and exercise all rolled into one - thanks, load shedding.
It's sad how we've become lazy to play, I mean really play, with our kids. It's so easy to plop down on the couch after a long day at work and watch Shaun the Sheep with the kids, but load shedding is forcing us to once again play with our kids. We're back to building tents on the living room carpet; practising our hand stands and somersaults on the lawn (it's been a while); and dressing up in grandma Alida's formal gloves and handbags. Thanks, load shedding.
4. Dark chocolate runs/walks
Our local grocery store is located about a kilometre or two from our home and fortunately they are equipped for trading during load shedding. Which means that early-evening load shedding has turned into a weekly tradition of a dark chocolate run/walk for us: Walk/run to the store, buy our weekly treat of dark chocolate, and walk/run back. And by the time the chocolate has been devoured on the living room carpet, the power comes back on. Thanks, load shedding.
5. Indoor cycling
With his new job and limited wintertime daylight, Will has been complaining that he's struggling to find time to cycle. So while Will hops on the trainer for a candle-lit evening ride, the kids and I build tents in the living room and J Bear stares at his dad in awe. Win/win.
Yes, I know: All of these take effort and a positive mindset, which is usually the last thing one feels like when frustration levels skyrocket. But just try it one evening - it will make you see load shedding in a whole new light.
Thanks to the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these tips as part of their Friday Five link-up!