Saturday, March 10, 2018

Improved Situation Update

Friday late afternoon when we checked the house there were lights on in both directions on Washington Road, except for half a dozen customers clustered right around us. It was about 48°F in the house and we gave up. Packed up the cats and overnight gear and drove to an on the market family property half an hour away—where we'd determined the electric service was on. We turned up the heat, coaxed the cats out of their travel boxes and set up to camp out. We were just settling in when we saw flashing lights in the driveway. A "helpful" country neighbor had called 911 because there were lights on in the house. After a pleasant conversation with the constabulary, we tried to get some sleep for practically the first time since Tuesday night. With limited success.

Before turning in, I got the utility company's phone/computer emergency reporting and response mechanism to let me laboriously enter data (and only if you have your account numbers! I'll have to place them in a file saved to iCloud, and maybe a slip of paper in my wallet! Who memorizes their electric account numbers because you might need them?). Along with obviously out of date responses, it confirmed that it was registering this report at eight-something Friday evening, and that the estimate for restoration was before six o'clock Sunday evening. Oh, great. Nothing about the system gave me any reassurance that they knew about the small island of special customers still with no service. We had, however, seen crews in the general area before making the transfer for the night, so we hoped they did know the details.

We drove back this morning and found nothing changed, drove to the senior/warming center and found it closed, making us think nobody knew about the little cluster of abandoned customers. After pulling my car up really close to the building we were able to catch their wifi signal and check email and the other now-essential things you have to be online to do. I got out the utility bill with the account number and went through the whole routine again on my iPhone, was again told that the report was being registered, but this time they said it would be fixed by six today—Saturday.

When the town library opened at ten, we moved there, got online, and did this and that, but couldn't stay awake. So back to the house—still cold but not frozen—then drove to our hideout with the heat turned on, where we spent the afternoon trying to catch up some sleep. With the stressed-out cats. When we returned to the house just before six, there were no signs of lights, but after parking the car in the small hand-cleared area and carefully walking the rest of the ice-covered drive, we could hear The Dragon. The high-powered burner of the state-off-the-art steam boiler that heats our antique house. It was toasty inside. An electric clock on the stove let me estimate the power had come back on about 4:30 PM, making the utility's prediction pretty accurate, and my suspicion that they'd been ignorant of our little pocket, a little unjust. We special few are just, for some unknown reason, at the extreme back of the line.

Being cold is debilitating. For anyone, but especially since we're not young anymore. I feel like I need a week off—from everything—to get back on keel. But we have to deal with insurance about the tree on the barn, and damage it did, sooner rather than later to make sure any damage doesn't get worse.

But not tonight.

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