Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Interesting Night

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A few evenings ago, I was seated in front of my computer, and my wife in front of her TV, when the house went black. There were no winds or heavy snows to take the lines down, though it was raining cats and dogs. My laptop was plugged in, but the battery was up so it didn’t go dead, so I could use the light from the screen to help me find the flashlight that I always keep within reach. My wife fumbled in the darkness of the next room and found her lantern-style emergency light before I even got there. A peek out the front door toward the utility pole in our front yard showed a grey pickup stopped there and some ill-defined shapes that looked out of place.

Putting on more clothes, and sticking my pistol in my pocket, I went out into the cold to check things out. As I walked the 200 feet to the road, it gradually became obvious that the pole was broken off about eight feet up, and that the remainder was lying in the road, complete with our security light. In the pickup sat the neighbor from six houses out the road. He said that he was okay and had dodged a deer and went a bit too far out of the road. When asked, he said that he hadn’t banged his head, nor was hurt in any other way. I noticed that the wires were pressed hard against the driver’s door and asked if that was why he hadn’t tried to get out. He replied to the affirmative. I smelled no alcohol, so after checking to see if he had a phone (he didn’t), I asked if he wanted me to call 911 to get someone to help him out and he said yes. They were there and had him out within an hour and he walked home.

It continued to pour cold rain, but the power crew immediately began to clean up the mess and make arrangements to restore power. That involved setting a new pole, of course. It was obvious that the truck nearly got stopped before hitting the pole, since there wasn’t that much damage to the truck. Our power came on a little after midnight. The temperature in our house had been 72 when the power went off, and was still at 65 when it came back on. With all the insulation that I carry, I was fine, but my wife was “freezing to death.”

I noticed that my wife had used far more light sources than were needed during the dark hours before power was restored. Instead of just carrying a light with her, she put at least one lantern in every room, so she could just walk around as she wanted and not be in darkness. She does the same when the power is on, so we burn a little more juice than we would otherwise. I asked if she didn’t think we should save battery life and just use one light apiece, but she was having none of it. She seems to have grown more afraid of the dark in the past year. It makes me wonder how she’d handle a power outage that lasted several days, like the one we had last year.


The worst thing for her was the lack of a television. She was so worked up about it that she didn’t sleep all night long. I offered to read her something to keep her entertained, but she wasn’t interested. I finally went to bed at 1 a.m., while she stayed up to fret and stew. When the cable came back on at 10 a.m. the next morning, she dropped off like a baby at a lullaby. Not only would I hate to be that dependent on something, it makes me wonder how she would survive if the grid ever goes down for good. © 2013
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9 comments:

Mamahen said...

I'M OK WITOUT LIGHTS N TV....BUT MY PHONE NO NO NO...

Ralph Goff said...

No problem for me to go a few hours without lights or tv but in our winters I would start to worry about water lines freezing up if it went on too long.

Michael Silvius said...

Here in Maine we could not live without a generator and it is not uncommon to loose power for a day or 3 at a time when we get a good nor-easter. Because of how my property is positioned the basement sump pump tends to run frequently and should we go without electrons for to long I'd loose my furnace an chest freezer to the rising waters. Come spring time with the snow melt I am pumping on average 50 gallons every 3 minutes. So I have 2 sump pumps staged in sequence so that if the first fails the second will take over with a half inch more water in the sump and the generator is always full and ready in the event of a power outage. 3 yrs ago I ran it straight for 4 and a half days before we got reconnected.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've tried to buy one for several years, Michael, but everytime I get the money saved up, something comes up that ruins my plans.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Power goes out here all the time. We invested in some kerosene lanterns that burn for hours and light up the entire room. There is other fuel but kerosene is less expensive but does have a bit of an order, not bad though. We got them at WT Kirkman at http://www.lanternnet.com/

Chickenmom said...

We lost power last week for almost 4 hours during the evening. Hubby goes nuts without his tv. I have a portable radio, books and a Kindle so it doesn't bother me. Also have plenty of oil lamps to get around by. (And a nice fireplace to keep us warm.) We have a whole house generator and he wanted to turn it on right away. I didn't want to until the rest of the people on our road did. Some just handle emergencies better than others.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've got a lantern, but no kerosene yet. However, my wife has several oil lamps and bottles of oil, in addition to her battery-powered lanterns, Kathy.

You're right on that last sentence for sure, Cm. The funny thing is that my wife was raised for several years with coal stoves and kerosene lamps, and no gas or electric.

Cathy M. said...

We women-folk often develop "sleep rituals." Mine is reading, working puzzles, or some mindless game, but I have a friend who, like your wife, can't fall asleep without a T.V. on. Another friend of mine needs her fan. She packs it in a suitcase when she travels! We all have our little issues, and some of us have a full subscription, as my Dad says.

Gorges Smythe said...

You may have hit the nail on the head, Cathy.