Well, that was a day.
Yesterday (January 3rd), I’d planned to blog about my projected publication schedule for 2022, moving into a wee bit of a writing process blog. Yeah, I’m trying to blog daily or mostly daily, along with journaling. Part of the new world of discipline to get myself back on track and stop letting the current situation rule my moods (and moving beyond writing about the Martinieres, though there’s still Martiniere work in my schedule!).
Yeah. That was the plan.
Husband woke me at around 7:30 as he was fumbling around to find his pants. A forecast windstorm was blowing hard, and he’d heard thumps against the side of the house. Concerned that it might be the wood stove chimney, he wanted to go outside and take a look (yes, it was blowing that hard). Fortunately, it wasn’t the chimney…just loose shingles from a couple of squares that a contractor had put on the neighbor’s roof, then never finished the job. Mostly (some were pieces of shingles that had blown off the house).
I got up, brewed a pot of tea, and started doing the quick version of social media browsing. Another vow I’d taken was that I would do limited social media, AFTER I wrote out a to-do list for the day to be affixed to the side of the iMac. Part of this ambitious publication and production schedule–including time for craft work–is that I need to get stuff done, which means The List. No sooner had I started breakfast than we started worrying about the bird feeders. The wind was blowing too hard for the husband to safely climb on the ladder, so he’d brought it in through the house–the wind had blown the snow into drifts blocking the garage door. I pulled on clothing and was ready to go out with him during a lull when they blew down.
And then–the power went off.
Welp, that meant a quick call to the power company to inform them. After thirty years living in Portland, and dealing with Portland General Electric, I quickly learned that the more reports an outage gets, the sooner it gets managed. It’s not quite the same here, but all the same, reaching for the phone to make an outage report is second nature anymore.
Next, I had to save my work and shut down the iMac. I started using a power supply rather than a surge protector when I bought my first iMac in 2009, because the Portland house had frequent issues (often due to suicidal squirrels electrocuting themselves on powerlines), and it’s awfully nice to have those few minutes to save my work. Then I had to turn off the power supply so it wouldn’t keep cheeping at me. Hubby took care of the rest of the electronics/breaker stuff.
Then we took stock. The estimate for power returning was 5:30 pm–after dark. It’s a lot better to round up all the stuff needed for power outages in daylight than after dark. So it became Quest for Flashlights, pulling everything out. We do have a decent supply of flashlights because of a lot of outdoor activity. Even when you go out to the woods during the day, it’s best to be prepared with flashlights in case trouble happens. So Flashlight Check happened, making sure that we had working batteries, etc, etc, and had them stationed where appropriate. Then he brought up our big battery-powered lantern. It’s cranky, so we fiddled with it until we got it to work. I pulled out a TV tray to set between our recliners, and went downstairs to bring up my PartyLite candle holders and the supply of tealights, happily discovering that I still had another three-wick candle as well.
We discussed refrigerator/freezer issues, and decided to treat the refrigerator like a camp cooler during a hot summer weekend–that is, don’t open it very often, plan what we were going to eat. The most problematic stuff was leftover pizza, which we ended up eating for lunch and dinner. There was an uncooked frozen whole chicken still thawing and it was definitely still frozen.
The wood stove was already burning, and we put the teakettle on to keep warm water available to make tea and cocoa.
Preparation done, we settled in to read. A recorded update call pushed back the power restoration to a couple of hours later. I occasionally surfed the local travel group on Facebook and learned the cause of our outage–a big tree in town had taken down a power pole with a lot of lines on it. Meanwhile, the county and state authorities were all saying STAY HOME. The wind was running about 40 mph steadily, with occasional 80-90 mph gusts. There were people already trapped in snowdrifts, and the county and state was struggling to keep the roads plowed.
We stayed home. I finished Jane Howard’s biography of Margaret Mead (a reread), and another anthropology text–both fodder for future worldbuilding ideas. The wind died down around 1 pm, so we started digging out of the drifts. The wind managed to blow most of the snow off of the roof and drift by the garage door. It was packed pretty hard as well. We wanted to get it out because there was a forecast for more snow coming in the evening–better to dig smaller amounts more frequently than one big pile all at once.
The power didn’t come back on by 5:30 pm. Not by 7:30 pm. The battery lantern worked well for reading. I lit the candles. By 10:30, it was clear that power coming back wasn’t going to happen right away. Snow was falling outside, and there was enough reflection from it on the ground and the lights from the part of town that still had power to see reasonably well. We went to bed, leaving the hallway light on to alert us when the power came back.
It came back at 4 am. We snuggled for fifteen minutes more, waiting to ensure it wasn’t a fluke, then got up. The other piece was not overloading the grid as it powered up (hubby and I both have childhood/youth experience with older power grids in rural areas), so we staggered the plugging in of major appliances. After taking care of things, and checking the refrigerator temperature–it had remained below 40 degrees, so yay! Safe food!–I went back to bed while hubby stayed up (he is a morning person, I am NOT).
The only victim of the outage was a long-life lamp bulb. We shoveled more snow today.
This is the only writing I’ve gotten done today, but hey, I shoveled more snow, hosted the monthly Soroptimist Zoom meeting, and spent time trying to catch up with emails and other things I’d fallen behind on due to the outage.
Normal schedule resumes tomorrow. I think.