Friday, October 7, 2011

The Power of ... Power

It is rather shocking, once you're a full-fledged adult -- well, at least in terms of age, God knows I am certainly NOT in terms of maturity -- to be "forced" to bed early. I mean seriously?

Yet that is exactly what happened last night, due to a...power outage. Yep, another one. Clearly I need to get to work on that back up generator idea. Last year I planned to make my family be the "fire brigade" by having them split the costs of gifting me a river pump -- something that you place in a river to enable you to pump water into a hose and use against a wildfire. Because yes, I will be that person standing outside my house battling the fire single-handedly.... Did I not mention I was stubborn to the point of stupidity?

And this year, obviously I should have them all go in on a back up generator. Because those are the fun gifts you get to request!

~ sigh ~

Back to last night though.

After spending the evening moving furniture, reorganizing well...crap, and "kind of" cleaning, I finally settled down to a very late dinner (of cheese, crackers and fruit -- my favorite easy meal) and a single drink (jack and caffeine free diet coke), along with some restful reading of National Geographic magazine.

Two articles and 30 minutes later, the lights flickered. Then flashed completely off -- paused -- and flashed back on. And then shut down completely.

Now mind you, when you live in the mountains and there is absolutely no light pollution, the night is... well, actually dark. This meant that even with my eyes adjusting relatively rapidly I could still see.... well, pretty much nothing.

Thankfully, I am smart enough to keep a flashlight in an obvious place. Still, we hit the problem mentioned in my post yesterday -- not only is my electricity out, my furnace is now out (and I had been too lazy to build a fire earlier in the evening) and my plumbing is now out. I started doing calculations on how much water I had left to get through the night...

Then, I looked at my options. As before they were:
a) Call the power company and complain;
b) Go to bed, because what else is there to do;
c) Take the dog for a short walk.

Despite still being in the mountains, the decision is quite different when its 10 pm. In this case it was:
d) All of the above -- but in reverse order.

So, I bundled up against the cold, as mind you -- it was only 22 degrees outside. And yes, you did just read that right, and yes it is still the beginning of October.

Then Rilke and I boldly went where others fear to tread -- or something like that. I, of course, had forgotten that of course the power being out meant that every single one of my outside lights would be out too. Even with a clear sky and a bright moon -- it is nearly impossible to see more than about 10 feet in front of you at night.

Can we talk scary?

Seriously. Try standing outside in the middle of a forest in absolute blackness, knowing that bears, mountain lions, deer, moose, elk, coyotes and even wolves live around you. And then try NOT immediately fleeing inside. Instead, try walking further out into that blackness....

Yeah. Fun stuff. Let me tell you.

After our quick walk, I headed back inside and started getting ready for bed. Now the earlier water calculations became key. For example, you have only so many toilet flushes when your water pump is down; and only so much water for brushing your teeth, washing your face, etc.

Who knew a bedtime routine could require so much math and effort?!

Finally, having given plenty of time for the power to be restored, the call to the power company. That's always fun as they usually insist I don't exist. While this not only causes much deep philosophical angst, it also causes a fair amount of annoyance. Trust me, I exist; Trust me, you do indeed provide my power; Trust me, the power is indeed out; Trust me, I am not so dumb as to not have checked my panel and my fuses before calling; Trust me....

~ sigh ~

Last night was actually entertaining though: for once I was not the only one impacted; it was not even just me and the closest small town (population approximately 25)! It seems a good portion of the further away but larger towns were out. Now we were talking! I got all excited thinking I was indeed "one of the 99%."

Unfortunately, turns out I was more like "one of the half percent". Even in a small county of less than 25,000 people, the outage amounted to... well, a hill of beans.

The utility representative was thrilled (a little too thrilled if you ask me) to inform me though that I was not the only one. He was also thrilled to tell me that it would take approximately 4 hours to fix -- and he ever so generously offered to call me the moment it was indeed fixed.

Um... Thanks, but I'm pretty sure I will know when the power is restored. Thanks muchly though!

I thanked the gentleman, said "As long as I wake up to power, I'm good", and hung up.

Mission almost accomplished.

As I then had to tromp through the house in the dark, trying to remember exactly what had been on prior to the power going out, turning off (hopefully!) every switch and instrument on, in the hopes of not being suddenly awakened in the middle of the night. I then made a point of using the downstairs bathroom one last time, in order to preserve the upstairs water supply (the weird things living in the mountains requires!), and carefully crawled up my spiral staircase in the darkness one last time.

And so it was that I was forced to go to bed at just after 10 pm on a weeknight.

Bed times suck!

No comments:

Post a Comment