picked over generator supplies
Tuesday, August 30 2011
This morning marked the end of Gretchen's long summer vacation, but not the post-Hurricane-Irene power outage. She had to go to work, leaving me in a house that could operate only haltingly beyond the 19th Century. I had a big noisy generator that guzzled gasoline and belched fumes, and it could be made to charge batteries, run the freezer and refrigerator, and cycle the hydronic collector. But it was an annoying enough presence that I could only operate it for about an hour at a time. Mostly I did 19th Century things like chisel-based carpentry and masturbation.
When Gretchen came home in the late afternoon, I drove into town to look for a 240 volt plug compatible with the 240 volt socket in our borrowed generator. I'D already tried to improvise a connection but had failed. But then it turned out that just about everything generator-related at both Home Depot and Lowes had been picked clean from the shelves, and they hadn't actually stocked the part I needed in any case. One man shopping for something generator-related in the Lowes was talking to a cranky older employee when he momentarily forgot which store he was in. "Is this Home Depot or Lowes?" he asked. The cranky older employee pointed to his uniform and said, "Look, it's red and blue, not orange. This is Lowes!" In the end I bought a replacement cord for an electric clothes dryer that looked like it might have the same plug (but of course it soon turned out that it didn't). Additionally, I bought a set of black iron fittings with which to make a base for a second kerosene lamp (whose base has been leaking).
This evening Gretchen and I went over to Ray and Nancy's for a dinner of chili, polenta, corn on the cob, and corn bread. Gretchen made the corn bread, mixing the ingredients at home and then baking it in Ray and Nancy's oven. Down in old Hurley, they've actually had power since Sunday night, though they just recently got their Time Warner cable (and internet) back. Ray has been tooling around the neighborhood on a street bicycle surveying the damage, though he'd yet to make it up to the washed-out bridge on Hurley Mountain Road.
We ate our exceptionally delicious dinner out on the front porch, which is spacious and screened-in. Later I plunked down in front of the television and watched the last ten minutes of a live episode of Take the Money and Run (as usual, the guys looking for the hidden money managed to find it). Later we watched the last half hour or so of Superbad, though it was interrupted by commercials.
On the drive home, we saw that the vast hurricane power blackout zone began with the second cornfield housing development on Wynkoop (the one nearer Hurley Mountain Road). From there, it was inky blackness all the way home.
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