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  • Writer's pictureChristina


Last week, my friend was talking about the difficulty of getting her children ready for school when the electricity was out.  I realized that I hadn’t had a big power outage lately.  In fact, since most of this year’s outages were resolved in 8-10 hours, I hadn’t even had an excuse to defrost the fridge or drink the teas that taste better with tap water boiled over a stove. Little did I know how soon the blackout was coming.

It started at about sunset, when it was time to turn on the lights and we realized that the electricity was out.  We have some backup batteries attached to our lights, so we weren’t sitting in the dark before bed, but we definitely couldn’t turn on the security lights around our property, that would drain the batteries quickly and cause a screeching sound throughout the night.  I woke up the next morning expecting the power to be back on.  Usually scheduled blackouts are over in 12 hours, so a blackout lasting until morning meant there was likely a downed powerline somewhere.  Greg called the power company and reported the outage. Sure enough, it seemed like a fault, and they said they would send people out to fix it.  We weren’t too inconvenienced that day. We ate or tossed the food likely to go bad in the fridge and I enjoyed those teas I’d been putting off.  We took showers while we still had warm water – the water heater could last about 24 hours without electricity, and we didn’t know how long we were in for. I came out from the office to charge my computer every few hours, other than that, it was mostly business as usual.

By the second night, however, we were starting to feel the stress.  Our main fridge and freezer had come to room temperature, but our backup fridge was still defrosting its inches of ice built up from the last year.  Greg went outside and saw that the whole neighborhood was dark. Everyone’s backup lights were going out at this time.  By now my computer battery was pretty low, so I decided to finish work early and read.  I went to bed early, and dreamed 3 times that our power had come on during the night. They were pleasant dreams, but unfortunately, the power was still out when I woke up.  We did notice that one of our neighbors had light at one point.  It seemed that one fault had been fixed, but starting at our house, the rest of the neighborhood was still out.

We bought ice and emptied all the rest of our fridge into an ice chest.  It was a nice chance to get rid of some condiments we hadn’t eaten.  We decided we didn’t need to shop for groceries yet, since we didn’t know when power would come back.  Greg called the power company every 8 hours or so, they were getting tired of hearing that there was still a fault to fix.  But at 40 hours, we were ready for power to come back on, and wondering how long our backup lights and batteries would last. I did as much reading as I could outside.  I started subsisting on sandwiches made from bread that I had frozen several farmers’ markets ago.

I was at work when Greg messaged me that the power was back. It had been about 46 hours.  Oh, that felt nice to know that our time of stressing and wondering was over. I think I did a little dance right then. It was so nice to move items back into the fridge, to keep lights on at night without feeling bad, to plug in my computer. I wish I could say that I went to bed reassured and slept soundly, but I might have stayed up too late looking at my electronics, just because I could.

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