Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tough week...

... and it's only Thursday. On Monday, we got whacked by the ubiquitous ice storm that's been plaguing the U.S. from Texas to up here. Power first shut down around 11:30 a.m. (shortly after I posted Monday's post, in fact), came back on around 1:00, and shut down again at around 1:30.

And stayed off.

And stayed off.

Finally coming back on late Tuesday around 4 p.m. as PSNH crews and crews from as far away as Connecticut worked to get the lights back on. We had a scare Wednesday morning circa 6 a.m. as the power went off again, but it was apparently planned, as it came back on around a half-hour later and (cross fingers, knock wood) so far has stayed on.

So, you go find the flashlights, and finally find one that has charged batteries, and you find the oil lamps, and go get the various ornamental candles given as gifts, and you light the fireplace and hunker down with the cats. And you go out to get a new portable (battery-driven) radio so you have some sounds. And you move the Old School phone from the bedroom downstairs because none of the wireless phones work.

Monday wasn't too bad. The temperature hunkered right around freezing, with the rain coming down and icing everything it touched. We lost a big branch on the old crab apple out front, and the work crews took out a bent birch that was blocking the road.

With the fireplace cranking since 11:30, the living room stayed around the high 60s. Rest of the house dropped down to mid 50s. We went to bed early, cranked up the bedroom fireplace, put on our woollies, and had a relatively easy night of it.

Tuesday was worse as the temperature outside and in plummeted, and we were making plans to take cats and ourselves over to Peggy's brother for the evening when, as I said, the power came back. And now we're back to normalcy, such as it is. According to reports, at the storm's height, over 50,000 NH customers had power out. That quickly dropped to around 30k, and stayed at that level through much of Tuesday. They're now saying "thousands," and report that all customers should have power on by end of day.

The thing you're not expecting when you lose power is how quiet everything gets. No furnace clicking. No compressors. No electrical hum which is the constant background of these Modern Times. I sat next to the fireplace, reading by kerosene light, and thought about what the noises must have been pre-electricity. Crackle of the fire. Creaking of the bones of the house. Wind rattling a window.

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