walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Power Outage Update

As you have probably heard (if you aren't reading this at a distant point in the future), there was recently a substantial Northeaster in the, er, Northeast. The effect was to dump a bunch of snow and blow a lot of wind, thus, predictably, cause a lot of power outages. While some people are _really_ screwed here in Acton (notably, there's apparently still something blocking the only entry/exit to a couple streets), some of us were only slightly screwed when a tree fell over and took out service to a single house. This happened -- separately -- to us and to my walking partner's house. They got the really bad news: they need a transformer. All we needed was a new service line, but it required a lot of people to be involved. First, someone had to come repair the damage (at our cost) to our side of the meter (conduit got pulled down). Second, someone with trucks had to come remove the 1/3rd of a tree that had fallen and become entangled in the power lines across the street. Third, someone with different kinds of trucks had to come and put a new line from the lines across the street to our house.

We had an electrician come out on Sunday. They got the tree this morning. They got the service truck out tonight. I have never before been _happy_ to be able to do laundry. We were lucky, though. We're on town water and sewer, so our toilets flush and our faucets ran. Because it was a single house outage, our neighbor had power, and we were able to run an extension cord over and mooch power from their outside outlets. Because our heat AND our hot water heater are gas, they do require electricity (condensate pump and blower on the furnace; I'm unclear what it is on the water), but not very much. We were able to get one furnace, the water heater, the fridge and a little additional for a charging station for small electronics without flipping a breaker. This was probably at least marginally illegal (don't try this at home?), but it kept us in our house at a time when it was tremendously difficult to get a hotel room and would have been spectacularly inconvenient to be away. We have the BEST neighbors in the whole world. In addition to sharing their power with us, they let me borrow their oven last night to make blondies, and they opened up their network for us as well.

Our temporary and possibly illegal stopgap has now been undone and we have lights etc. I was happy to see my mother-in-law in Connecticut, who was expecting a five day outage, got power back within a couple hours of us getting our power back. R. is talking about getting a generator and I'm seriously thinking about making a week long reservation 2 bedroom at the Westford Residence Inn based on the next storm _forecast_, on the premise that it's easy and cheap to undo, but virtually impossible to get after the storm hits. I'm wondering if other people already do this.

Once again, we can all give thanks to the fine people who bring us cellular data service, so we can not only call all our friends (even when we're all out of power) -- but email and facebook them as well. Also, our special needs 3 and 6 year old were very tolerant of "TV not working", "lights not working" and "need power" (especially when I pointed out the downed line and the tree stuck in the other line) -- as long as they had access to iPads.

Our old house up in Mayberry got power back before we did, but only by a few hours. Of course, it has a backup generator, so it had power all along, more or less. I was never as worried about having a generator here in Acton (town water/sewer and a functioning gas cooktop -- assuming you have a way to light the burners -- added up in my mind to Enough), but after this experience, I'm all over getting one anyway. I would hate to bet on the neighbor having power when we didn't a second time.
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