Thursday, August 16, 2007

When a Tree Falls--what to do in a Power Outage

Late yesterday afternoon a tree fell in my neighborhood, disrupting power for nearly 1000 homes. While we didn't actually hear the tree fall, it's effect was certainly felt. We did hear the peculiar booms that transformers make when they close, not sounds one wants to hear.

My dear friend L came over to check on me and caught me on the phone to the power company, so we were able to learn a bit more and give the power people a bit more information. She pulled the plug on my computer. She came back when she said she would and replugged my computer. I had power, but she did not. As it turned out she lives on the street where the tree fell.

I was one of the most fortunate people for my power was restored in a little under two hours. I found myself knitting without the accompaniment of television news, not my usual mode and I was reminded that knitting is, after all, a beautifully solitary and silent activity. Solitude and silence are rare in our lives. While I have, perhaps, too much solitude, I can never overestimate the beauty of silence.

Once I realized that the power was out, I wanted a cold drink from the refrigerator more than anything else! In the interest of keeping the food cold, I settled for lukewarm bottled water and waited. The cold diet Vernor's ginger ale tasted wonderful when the power was restored and the refrigerator had been running for a bit. Never open the refrigerator in a power outage.

In this summer outage, I didn't need to worry about lights, but in the winter that is an issue. So I am reminded to check the flashlight batteries before winter sets in. I also have a camping lantern and need to find its battery set. Candles are a traditional resource, but must be used carefully around piles of paper and should not be left burning if one leaves the room. Placing the candle on a metal tray is a good idea.

Going out for a walk to meet the neighbors and find out where the power outage is and where the power company trucks are, is one way to while away the time. I can't do this, but from the emails on our neighborhood list this morning, I could see that quite a few people did.

Keeping one's sense of humor is useful. It always is!

Having a stock of blankets ready for a winter outage is survival oriented. Having games or cards or a puzzle that can be done in minimal light is a good idea too. I wonder if anyone has come up with a battery powered craft light for people who embroider?

After I assured myself that the computer was fine, I went to bed early and read some more of Harry Potter. Am I the only person in the universe, reading Deathly Hallows this late? Quite a few people that I know haven't read these books at all. They seem to be doing just fine. I do wish that I had a magic bag like the one that Hermione is using though. It would be so useful for just cleaning up the clutter quickly. Imagine, you could just make a pass through the house, stuffing in all the items you wanted out of the way, and presto clean house!

Overall I am grateful and looking forward to having company for dinner tonight. More decluttering first!

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