I guess that winter is here. In a previous blog, I wrote that winter should be two months before December 21 and two months after. Well the day before yesterday (Nov. 3rd) we had snow. Not much, but snow. Now it is thirty-four degrees outside. It is dark and cloudy and they predict three inches of snow tonight. It is early for us to have snow, but not the earliest. The earliest was Halloween when the kids wondered about amidst the snowflakes to collect their annual haul of too much sugar. These days, we don’t have any trick or treaters. Haven’t now for several years and we haven’t had much early snow either.
When we woke up yesterday morning, the internet was out. Was it just my computer being its recalcitrant self, or was the system down? After several tries at fixes, I called a couple of neighbors and found out theirs were down as well. Couldn’t get through to the people who provide the service so assumed that they already knew that they had had a failure.
While eating breakfast, I hear the friendly beep, beep, beep and know that we are finally back on line and that emails are arriving. Five minutes later the power goes out. This IS winter. Typical.
I had already made breakfast so that wasn’t an issue. We were eating when everything went black. We live in the woods, so it is dark without lights in our house.
What to do. We went for a two mile walk, visiting with friends along the way to be sure they were warm and could cook food, if needed. It was much lighter outside down the road than in the house. Though the temperature was cold, we spent about an hour and a half outside enjoying the crisp weather and the neighbors, except for the racket of generators chugging away to keep their houses lit.
We do not have a generator. We have lived through almost fifty years of power outages. This is nothing new. We have a small set up for the evening of a large LED light bulb in a small receptacle hooked to an inverter and then to a battery. Works great and it is a very bright light by which to read. Works for us and we usually read in the evenings anyway. We don’t own a television, so we don’t feel withdrawal .
After our morning walk, in the freezing weather, we came home to have tea. Why is it the power goes out when the weather is the coldest? Anyway, my husband filled a saucepan with water (we normally use an electric teakettle), put it on the wood cookstove to boil. I asked if he wanted his tea more quickly he might want to use the stove in the kitchen which is gas. He tried to start the burner with the clicker on the stove, but since there was no electricity, he needed to use a match. Habit is a hard thing to break.
Shortly after lunch, the power came back on. It was on for a while when we had a brown out. I called it in to the power company, but didn’t see any response. Yet again in the next morning it was still browning out. I called again as low voltage is not good for many appliances.
The brown out did merit some phone calls to us from neighbors, some of which I hadn’t heard from in years, to see if we were affected. At ten thirty this morning, about twenty minutes after a call the power company, the brown out was over. The lights are bright again and the motors are humming at their usual levels.
Now life is back to normal and it is snowing. It started the day before yesterday, just a few flakes, nothing significant. It started again this morning and some of the roofs were white. Fortunately, most of our neighbors now have some alternative for heat besides electricity or they have a generator to run fans on propane furnaces and stoves. Back in the beginning, forty or fifty years ago, many did not have a way to heat when the power went off so now in our community there are “warming stations,” back then we just all got together at a warm house and had a neighborhood gathering. I sort of miss those.