Monday, October 31, 2011

Power Outage

Hi. We live in the American northeast, specifically the tri-state region known as Northern New Jersey. Here we have four-month summers and five-month winters. Which leaves about six weeks each for spring and fall.

True to form, we had our first snowstorm on October 29, this past Saturday. Four weeks earlier I was taking out air conditioner units from the windows and stacking them in the garage. Trees still have 75 percent of their leaves. In front of my house is a pile of leaves blown there awaiting pick-up later in November. Only now it’s covered with six to eight inches of sloppy wet snow.

Also true to form, our public service services were overwhelmed and underperformed. Yeah, the weatherman said we’d only get an inch or two when we wound up getting about five times as much. There were no plowing or salting of streets. Driving home from errands Saturday afternoon, my car fishtailed all about the local road leading up to my street.

An hour after me and Patch got home, around 1:45 pm on Saturday, the power went out. As far as we can tell (we’ve now relocated to Pennsylvania) it’s still out. Calls to PSEG give us an automated message that our area won’t get power back until Wednesday. We’re now one of the x-hundred thousand without electricity in our home.

Saturday night was a bit of an adventure, I have to admit. Before it got dark we rummaged about the house for essentials: two flashlights, ten candles, matches, and a battery operated radio (most of which we bought in preparation for Hurricane Irene at the end of August, but didn’t have to use). Fortunately the stove top worked, so I was able to cook us some tortellinis. Later, the wife read one of her birthday books and Little One read one of her Daisy Meadows fairy books. I read about a hundred pages of a Civil War Q&A book. Patch, unable to read, was at a loss on how to entertain herself in the semi-darkness, and made a mess of her toy room.

We put the girls to bed at 8 in flannel footie pajamas and under several blankets. The temperature in the house was low-60s. Though I have a gas-heated steam boiler, the thermostat is triggered electrically. So, no heat. The wife retired around 10. I stayed up past midnight listening to CDs on an old walkman and thumbing through old story printouts.

Next morning the snow had stopped and we shoveled ourselves out. Temperatures had dropped indoors to the low-50s. My mother offered to house us until our power went back up, so we quickly packed everybody and left for her place in north-east Pennsylvania. We showered and changed into clean clothes once there and watched all the football games. The wife and I even managed to squeeze in the latest depressing and stressful episode of The Walking Dead last night.

To complicate matters, Little One’s school was open. So, an absence, possibly more, for her. The wife didn’t bring her laptop, so she’ll be back-up workwise. And I have a possible prospective employer playing phone tag with me while all this is happening.

Good news is that I did read about forty pages of Keegan’s The American Civil War. And we may drive in to town where I can hit the used book store I haven’t been in to in eleven months to score some cheap but good SF paperbacks. However, the bad news outweighs all this as this is Halloween, and the little ones won’t get to do any trick-or-treating or parading. Fortunately, Little One had a brownie Halloween party on Friday when it was still Fall and not a Winter Wonderland.

Don’t know when we’ll be returning home. I’m pushing for tomorrow but the wife doesn’t want to leave until we’re certain of power back at the house.

Never, ever a dull moment.

No comments: