Friday Night, 11:15 pm:
Bluz: Shit! The power’s out.
Saturday Morning, 6:00 am:
Bluz: Shit! The power’s still out.
Saturday Evening: 10:00 pm:
Bluz: Shit! The power’s still out. I’m going to bed.
Sunday Morning, 6:00 am:
Bluz: Whoo Hoo! The power is on!
If you’ve watched the news lately, or live in the Great Lakes or Mid-Atlantic region, you heard about the storm that rolled through on Friday night, which generally made a mess of everything.
Around 11:00 pm, I was sitting up, watching “Spaceballs” on HBO and contemplating going to bed. I already had the PC turned off and was waiting to develop enough energy to get off the couch and go to bed, when I heard all hell breaking loose outside.
I’d heard there might be a storm coming but I wasn’t expecting anything like this. The last two hurricanes that hit this area (Floyd and Isabelle) weren’t nearly this bad, at least not this far inland. Then, around 11:15, the power went out.
I have candles and a flashlight and stuff, but it can be hard to find your stuff in the dark, especially when you’re not totally sure where you last put it. I was lucky that I have a wristwatch that has a light, for night viewing. It also creates sufficient light, in a darkened room, so that you can find stuff and not smash your feet into the table legs. With that, I was able to find my flashlight, and successfully maneuver into the bathroom to remove my contact lenses and then go to bed.
I used to lose power during every single thunderstorm, when I first moved in. Then after a couple years, my municipality got serious about trimming back tree branches away from the power lines. Since then, I hardly ever lose power. So when I got up Saturday morning and the power was still out, I knew it might be a bad one.
I knew we had water, but forgot that due to the electricity-operated water heater, I wouldn’t have hot water. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this oversight until I was in the shower. (You might have heard the screaming. Homie don’t like the cold showers.) So I cleaned up the best I can with a washcloth. Sometimes having really short hair (and little of it) pays off.
After reading the paper, which had limited information about the storm, due to its late arrival to the area, I decided to go to the movies. (Nothing like putting your head in the proverbial sand, to pretend that everything’s OK.)
Quick movie review: I went to see Prometheus, and loved it. It was my first 3-D movie, so that may have tipped it even further to the positive. The movie was shot in 3-D, (as opposed to adding the effects later, which isn’t nearly as effective), so it was really eye-popping. Well, it was, once I got used to wearing the glasses.
Prometheus is a “prequel” to the “Alien” series, which is one of my favorites. If you like the “Alien” movies, you should like this one. It has all the same ingredients: Great effects, suspense, ugly creepy-crawlies and a strong female lead.
After the movie, (and a meal at Wendy’s), I called home to check on the power. My answering machine didn’t some on, so I knew there was still no juice. That made WalMart my next stop. I have some supplies at home, but as yet, I didn’t know how long we would be in the dark, so I wanted to stock up. I picked up a new flashlight and an oil lamp and a long-nosed lighter. About the latter, I figured I may need to light our gas stove burner manually, so I wanted to be able to keep my distance, thus saving some valuable knuckle hair.
What Wally’s didn’t have was ice, so I made my neighborhood liquor store my next stop. (OK, it wasn’t just the ice that I needed.) I was worried, because of the widespread power outage, that all the stores would be cleaned out, but I was in luck, because they crowds hadn’t hit the liquor store yet. This was good, because as I drove home past my local grocery store, they didn’t seem to have any power themselves.
As I was driving around the neighborhood, I got a good look at the scope of the damage. There were huge limbs and trees down everywhere, some blocking 3 of 4 lanes across the road I was on. There were many stoplights that weren’t working. Now, I know that broken stoplights should be treated as a 4-way stop sign, but I believe I’m in the minority, here in Maryland. Lucky for me, the traffic was light.
When I got home, I split my bad of ice in half and put the pieces into two soft-side coolers I have. Then I filled in around the ice with all my frozen perishables. (I’m not giving up that bag of walleye filets without a fight.) So with the freezer full of ice and frozen goods, I knew they would keep for a while, as long as I could stay out of it.
By the time I was done, it was about 4:00 pm. Pinky was staying at her place, so all I had to do was amuse myself for the next 6 or 7 hours, without TV, PC, DVR, VCR, or A/C. It was time to go “pioneer.”
So I sat in my computer chair, (because it’s right beside a window) and dug into a new book, Keith Richards’ autobiography, called “Life.” (Great read, by the way. I’m about a third of the way through it and it’s a fascinating read. If you like the Stones, or rock and roll, go get it and read it.)
My new oil lamp, portable radio and Keef book, to take the place of all my useless toys.
I also have a portable radio so I was trying to find some news on it. I scanned all through the AM and FM spectra and couldn’t find squat. All the “News” stations were running national shows. I settled on the Orioles game and was rewarded with a quick news break, wherein they stated that there were about 400,000 people in Maryland, without power, and it might take up to a week to get it all back.
When you need news, there’s noting more depressing than an inoperable computer.
Shit. If the outage went on much longer, I’d need more ice and so would everyone else. I figured I’d have to spend Sunday cooking everything in the freezer. Maybe I could take some of it to work and put it in the refrigerator on our floor.
I also must state that I’m extremely luck to have a ground floor, partially below-ground apartment. Even without the A/C, it remained comfortable inside. I feel for the people, (like my brother) who had no such recourse other than to be both bored and sweaty.
My parents called around 8:30, when they heard my brother lost power as well and I wasn’t responding to emails. This is another reason I always keep a landline with a corded handset. The phone system has its own dedicated power supply that will remain on when outages occur. I know I could have used my cell, but I was trying to conserve its battery, in case of greater emergency.
As the outside lights dimmed, I lit the oil lamp and arranged 3 other candles around me. I also have one of those little LED lights that you clip onto a book, to help you see in the dark. I read until about 10:00 pm, when my eyes and my butt could no longer take the strain. (From sitting so long, you pervert.)
Then this morning, as I foggily rolled over to face my alarm clock, I was rewarded by flashing numbers. Seems that the power came back on around 5:00 this morning. Stovetop cooking marathon averted and I get to take a hot shower.
So, after going ‘primitive’ for an entire day, (except for the part about driving around and going to the movies), I’m back in the saddle and living large in Century 21.
Viva la electricidad!*
I now return you to the regularly scheduled conclusion to my vacation posts. You know… next time.
*Not sure that’s actual Spanish… my high school Spanish teacher is probably rolling in her grave.