Sunday, February 19, 2006

No excuse

I slept plenty. No excuse to go take a nap, except as a symbolic protest: when I woke up at 7 (that, also, is unfair) it was 1.5 degrees F. With a wind fit to take your hair off, except that it had already been removed on Friday.

It was warm enough to rain, then, quite warm, when I went to work. Then it rained very hard, the wind came, it turned even blacker, it poured, the wind came again, and it was sunny and thirty or so. The wind in the parking lot blew the door open a few times. Just as I was getting ready to leave, the power blinked and my computer turned off, causing me to lose the moderately accurate note I was composing to tell my boss all I had got done that day. It was strange having a power failure, even a short one, in full sunlight.

So I went to the mall to get some stitch markers to give Sarah in return for the ones I had been lent last week, and the power had been off there, too. I did a little shopping and went home, full of eagerness to Pay Bills and get Things done,

only to find, despite the brilliant sunlight (and impressive winds) that the only power in Henniker were the usual supernatural forces and primal motives like 'food' and 'tea.' Which I had to make tea on the ( fortunately gas) stove, instead of with the electric kettle, and I could not microwave it once it got cold. Everyone had warned me the power was off several times a year in rural New Hampshire, but the first year I was here the electrcity was uninterrupted. We had a blackout of a couple of hours sometime last summer, but this was the first one that was really long enough to be incovenient and I was inadequately prepared.

The woodstove still worked, so it was pleasantly warm; there was pressure in the water system for several hours and I had some bottled water. Doug also brought a few gallons how from work. But I was out of radio batteries, so the comfortable (despite what they usually have to say) voices of All Things Considered were not there to keep me company, and I only had about a pint of spare lamp oil. Mostly I use the railroad lanterns for reading in the hot tub at night (and by nightfall, the hot tub was down several degrees to 'warm'). The high number of flashlights had the usual proportion of dead batteries.

Doug I and found the lamp oil and ate leftovers and I managed to knit by lanternlight. My parents in Boston had heard there were over 100,00 people without power in New Hampshire; the next morning, when we did find batteries, NPR was saying only about 30,000 were still out. This included us. We called to cancel a proposed day dyeing wool with Sarah as the water had finally petered out. She invited us to Canterbury, where they had power, so after a trip to the hardware store we went there and enjoyed her company and that of her cats (and her shower). Around four, Doug called his phone and the machine answered, so we knew there would be electricity when we got home. This was fairly late, since Sarah and we decided to have dinner in Concord and a Pretty Wild Time. By then the air temperature was way down (the air-speed was still up) and they were saying that 40,00 people were without power. We have the use of light and computer and microwave again, and I think we are more than slightly lucky.

This afternoon they are saying only 10,000 people are still out of power; their freezer goods must be suffering by now, and I feel for them and the crews who are trying to fix wires in the bitter cold and still noticeable wind.

I think I will have to rip off the neck and do it again on smaller needles, but the sweater is looking better, sewn together, and I have started one sleeve.

(NB -- We decided that it might be an idea to change the water in the hot tub, since we had lost all the warm already. So far we have emptied, scrubbed the edges with bicarb, and refilled it. The water here, ever since I got the pump replaced last summer, has tended toward a very faint clayey sediment, which in quantities of 350 looks like hell; and the pump has frozen. Doug is out there playing the hairdryer upon the power panel innards, since he worships the hot tub, and I am helping by muttering dull curses.)

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