power back on Dug Hill Road
Sunday, September 4 2011
Gretchen made her famous rise-overnight pancakes this morning, and the six of us all out on the east deck. I had a pretty good appetite until the 21 month old smacked his vegan-yogurt-slathered hands together, spraying the table with cumlike spatters. Hilarious! Also this: I know in our culture a kid with food on his face is widely regarded as adorable, but I find myself having to avert my eyes. Is there something wrong with me? (I actually do find a similarly-besmirched dog cute, however.)
We saw some guys in yellow hardhats walking by, looking at our utility poles, and this gave us some hope that perhaps our power would be restored soon. Gretchen ran out to talk to them and found that they'd been brought in from Maine and Vermont to deal with the remaining parts of Ulster County. Of the 180,000 Central Hudson customers who had lost power, Dug Hill Road represented part of only 8000 customers still in the dark. Interestingly, the utility guys mentioned that looting has actually been hampering the power restoration project. It seems that people have been driving around collecting downed copper wire to resell for its value as scrap. (I actually remember seeing that beautiful stranded cable and thinking, "Wow, that's some nice wire." But I'm no longer sociopathic enough to actually steal it.)
It took a long time for our houseguests to pack all their bits (beds, strollers, diapers, and a feeding station) and get back on the road, and it was afternoon by the time they left. Given all the paraphalia necessary for modern portable child rearing, it's not surprising that SUVs are so popular (though Dina and Gilaud drive a Honda CR-V, which is sort of an underpowered station wagon).
At some point his afternoon I noticed that the generator belonging to our across-the-street neighbors had fallen silent (it's a fairly quiet auto-starting model that runs on household LP gas). At first I took this to mean that our power had been restored, but it hadn't been. Evidently their generator had run out of fuel; for the first time ever I couldn't find their WiFi access point in a site survey.
Later, though, while talking to Gretchen in the kitchen I happened to look up and see that the clock on our microwave was reading 12:00 in glowing green numerals. I told her to look, and for a moment she didn't want to believe, if only to keep her hopes from being dashed should it have proved to be a mirage. But when the numbers stayed lit, she got excited, asking, "We have power? Really?"
The power proved real and reliable. While Gretchen set the clocks on the revived kitchen equipment, I went down to the basement and unhooked the cables from the generator and reattached the bypassed circuits to grid power. Then I gathered up and put away all the cords that had been providing us power for the last week.
Carrie and Michæl came by shortly thereafter and picked up the stuff they'd left in our freezer. Down in greater Accord, their power had been on since Friday.
Gretchen had been in serious teevee withdrawal and needed an immediate fix. Luckily, a women's basketball game began recording on our DVR at 5pm, and she started watching it soon thereafter. As for me, I used bittorrent to download a number of shows we'd missed during the blackout, including an episode of Breaking Bad and one of Take the Money and Run.
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