Sunday, 16 October 2016
I woke at five AM to the beeping of the computer battery back up, signifying a power outage. I immediately grabbed my phone and looked on local Facebook groups to see who else had lost power. Odd, no one was reporting in. Perhaps no one else had been woken up. I then heard a humming noise that sounded like the Jessie’s fish processing plant and opened the curtain, to see that all the lights were on a block away along the port. A look out other windows showed the house to the north and the one to the east had lights. Uh oh.
Both Allan and I went outside with flashlights. He wisely went out the front door. I foolishly went out the back garage door under the power lines on the wet grass. I blame this on having only had 2.5 hours of sleep. I was looking for a fire or a downed power line, and it is a darned good thing I did not find the latter (or the former). Late that very evening, I saw this video about how a power line can charge the ground all around it with deadly electricity. I remembered then having seen a suspense show about a damp lawn completely charged by a fallen power line.
Fortunately, my foolishness was not rewarded with death because I found no downed line, and we ascertained that Alycia’s house next door also had no power. I felt a bit less lonely. I left a message on the local utility company’s emergency line.
Our community is a close knit one. When I posted my woe on Facebook, Butch and Terri from the CoHo Motel two blocks away offered us a room with hot water and television, and Salt Pub offered us a Sunday brunch. (When I had pictured making dinner on the wee camp stove, I had remembered that if we were the only ones without power, we could go out to dinner at the pub.)
I was able to go back to sleep and when I woke three trucks full of linemen had arrived and were already up at the top of the power pole.
They brought the transformer down to test it. The foreman said it might have been hit by lightning in the early hours (another storm I slept through). He told us we are the only ones on the block with underground power line to our house. (All the other houses are historic and have overhead lines; we have a manufactured home installed in 1979). It could be, he said, that something was wrong with just our own line underground. If the problem wasn’t the power pole, he said, he would have to disconnect us and he advised us to wait till Monday to seek help in order to avoid overtime charges.
That was suspenseful. It would have been embarrassing because a total of four houses were powerless. I did not want it to be our line’s fault.
I am so happy to report that the problem was in the transformer and it was quickly replaced and we were returned to the civilized life of the grid without having to run a long cord from Mary and Jeff’s two doors to the west to power our freezer. The entire Peninsula had been prepared to lose power in the big storm, and I think the four houses on our block were the only ones to do so, a day later.
The rain continued on and off all day, an almost perfect reading day. The only flaw was when the sun came out briefly and I would feel like I should do some gardening. I read a humor book, Housebroken by Laurie Notaro. (I’ve read all of her memoirs). I especially liked her takedown of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. “I want no part of it. Or your magically tidy house, which, by the way, I find lifeless, a shell, a corpse of something probably once vibrant and bursting with things to make, read, touch, feel, smell, and explore.” Laurie’s heartfelt letter from her fifty year old self to her twenty-five year old punk rock self also spoke to me. (I would advise myself to spend even more time reading books.)
Allan did leave the house today and returned with photos of the outside world.
In the garden:
Allan discovered one other possible storm damage: a sinking fence post by the southwest gate, throwing the door latch off, possibly as a result of saturated soil.
In the garage, I finally got the bulb sorting area ready. Do not do as I did and buy bulbs at Costco and then get too lazy and in denial to inspect them. I lost ten tulip bulbs and fifteen of one of my favourite narcissi (‘Actea’) to rot. If I had inspected the bulbs right away and removed any bad’uns, that would not have happened. Somehow, a month had slipped by during which it had just seemed too early to be dealing with bulbs.
Now all packages are open, each bulb touched to check that it is solid, and areas set up for tulips, narcissi, alliums, and mixed bulbs.
I expect the rest of the bulbs to arrive by the end of the week and then Bulb Hell, I mean Bulb Time, will officially commence.
To make room, Allan hung up all the empty kitty litter jugs that can be used to store water in summer.
On a trip to the grocery store, Allan did a bit of garden clean up at the Depot Restaurant.
He found a bit more storm damage in downtown Ilwaco.
In the late evening, I enjoyed a picture book about 97 Orchard Street.
I would like very much to visit the Tenement Museum in New York.
I’ll be following up with this:
1995 (age 71):
Oct 16: Mariners lost—the end of their magic season. Bought more pansies and some perennials at Gordons.
1997 (age 73):
Oct 16: 1:00-5:00 70+ degrees I trimmed back the ivy around the tree so I could plant bulbs there. I planted about 200 tulips and narcissus in that area and in the patio area. I was quite warm.
1998 (age 74):
Oct 16: Noon-4:30 I finished taking the begonias into the shop. Most of the time was spent on the upright ones. Last week I went through them and marked all I could by color. I took down the baskets from back porch that were pretty much ignored this year. Also 3 beautiful red baskets from front porch. There is one basket left that I couldn’t reach.