Counting Monday, even though we lost power only at 9 p.m., this is Day 6 of The Big Mess. This morning, the electric co. revised its estimate for when we’ll have power back. It’s now end of Nov. 9, rather than Nov. 11. I’m hoping we gain two days each morning, which would get us all square by Monday.
We decided to pay a visit to my dad, who lives about 10 miles from us. He lost power from early Monday afternoon until Wednesday morning, but has been cruising along since. We figured we’d take care of a week’s worth of laundry, charge up our devices, visit his local supermarket (which never lost power and has stayed in stock with a lot of stuff) and generally take a little break from the house. I love my home and the new library, but I’m going kinda nuts hanging out in the same room or two day after day.
Since the wood-burning stove has been going non-stop since Monday night, I figured it would die out while we were gone, giving me the opportunity to clean out all the ashes and start over with a new fire. I never had a fireplace or a stove growing up, so I have no idea about how one manages these things.
Amy drove us to Dad’s around 11 a.m., since we’re conserving gas in the Subaru for when we have to make The Big Escape. On the way, we passed a Lukoil that had dozens of cars lined up to get gas. Today’s the first day of NJ’s even/odd gas rationing system, but it didn’t look like it made much of a difference. I can’t report on much of the scene, since I’m not wasting gas waiting on line for hours to gas up my car. Funny how that works.
Anyway, Dad was doing fine. He had a EPL match to watch on his giant TV, a huge computer for me to move down to his car, so he could deliver it to a client, and all sorts of things that I could only consider The Luxuries of Electricity, like working lights and a microwave. We plugged our chargers in, started the laundry and showered. Amy pointed out that it’s great to not walk out of a hot shower into a 58° house. I concurred.
I talked with Dad while Amy got in touch with her folks in Louisiana and then read in another room. Dad mentioned that the lights had flickered right before we arrived, but laughed it off. We hadn’t talked during the week, so it was good to catch up. He was amazed that we had no phone or data at all for that 40-hour stretch Tuesday/Wednesday. I told him, “If you’d had a heart attack or something, there’s literally no way you could have gotten a message to me during that time.” I suppose it could just have easily been Verizon’s tower as AT&T’s, but grrr.
Once the first load of wash was in the dryer, we hit the supermarket and picked up some ingredients for Amy’s beef stew, as well as a “red velvet muffin” because why the hell not? On the way back to Dad’s, we noticed that the Lukoil line had diminished, probably because of a police officer at the end telling newbies that they were too late to get on line. The weather turned colder today (around 48°) and I felt bad for the people standing on line carrying gas tanks. On balance, still happy not to have bought a generator.
In Dad’s dining room, I took out my Air and started working on the last article for the November/December ish of my magazine, so I can get that out the door once we set up our new office Monday morning. I have almost enough material in, but it would be a much better piece if I’d been able to hit up more people for quotes. I’m just glad I got some requests out on the Friday before the storm.
And that’s when the power went out at my dad’s house.
Seriously. This is now two days in a row that power has gone down in the place where I’m working on the magazine. Either it’s me, or it’s a sign that I’m not meant to finish this ish.
We helped Dad hook up his critical electric stuff to the line that his neighbor strung over earlier in the week. He lives in an upscale neighborhood, and his wealthy next-door neighbor apparently has an immense generator.
I was bummed to find out that the first load of wash hadn’t finished drying. The second, of course, was all wet. We hauled all that to the car, along with our electronics and some large water bottles that we refilled during our visit. On the way home, we noticed that the power was still on by that Lukoil and the supermarket, so we hoped that Dad’s outage was a passing, local blip.
Once we got home, Amy got started on the stew while I got to work on the laundry, figuring out what had dried and what needed to be hung up by the stove. Speaking of which, the stove managed not to die out completely, so I cleared a ton of ashes, soaked ‘em in the backyard, and got the fire restarted pretty quickly.
Half an hour later, Dad texted to let me know that the power had come back on, and that we should come back over. I told him we’re saving gas, but that we’ll come by and kill his power again in the next few days.
(But seriously, we’ll move into his guest room with the dogs if this outage keeps up for a few more days.)