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Losing Power in The Blackout
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Oh Yes, the Blackout! Just is case you're not tired of talking about it, Let's Chat.

From the stories I've heard, my experiences were very low key. Mind you I did not say comfortable, just not the adventure many of you had.

We were at Church when it happened for the vigil Mass before the feast of the Assumption. The lights dimmed and our Priest made the joke that the pastor had better pay the light bill. A few seconds later the church went dark and we could no longer hear him. Everyone stayed till the end and joked coming out of church thinking this was isolated to our area.

As we drove we saw that all traffic lights were off. Cars nodded to one another (Boy I hope it didn't hit our area). We put the radio on and heard the devastating news. Dear God not terrorists!

The things you take for granted weren't there. We can't pull the car in the garage - no electric opener. How do I heat the left over spaghetti with no microwave? Remember when we had to heat things on the stove and keep stirring so they wouldn't burn. Where's a match?

Don't open the refrigerator unless really necessary even though being such a large outage they won't let it go on for long, will they?

I remember only too well several years ago when Cleveland was hit with a terrible storm. Our small area was without power for 7 days and 5 minutes (Yes, I remember it down to the minute!) All the neighbors went out and cheered the utility men as they marched down the street -"our liberators"!

But this time they can't ignore us. I called a daughter, but we both had to talk on phones connected to walls instead of the usual porrtables (how primitive) and decided we better keep the lines free unless necessary.

My family always complains that I am too cautious. But I was ready, well as ready as could be. I got out the flashlights, tap lights, candles and boombox.

I decided without much thought that doing my exercise would be above and beyond without a fan. (I guess there were some positives, too). Plans for the evening were cancelled.

We did all we thought we'd have to before it got dark. Then out to the porch to read. I couldn't concentrate and knew I was annoying the others but how often do you have a captive arena where family, work and world affairs could be discussed?

The word passed from neighbor to neighbor that some areas were experience water shortages so into the houses to fill pots, buckets and pans. "Mom you're overdoing this thing" (I did have a couple of gallons on hand in the basement).

Back to the porch, everyone was out and so friendly. People were walking their dogs at 8 o'clock not 11:00 like usual when the streets would be dark. So many baby buggies, bikes and ball games! Where did everyone come from?

Everyone who passed wanted to talk, after all we were all in the same boat. It seems like we weren't alone in having ice cream for dinner - we couldn't let it melt, could we?

Every hour I'd turn on the radio for updates. There weren't many though. Where was the electric company - why haven't they had anything to say? Communities were concerned about possible looting. My son had been asked to lock the Church this afternoon and hoped he had locked it properly. Was it Canada's fault, darn them! New York, well they better not get power before us!

A neighbor said she had 6 gallons of water left from a camping trip and would share with us if we needed it. How nice. Another neighbor went out to find batteries. I had to ask for praise from my family for being so ready. "Yeah, Yeah". Sure but if I hadn't been...

As it started getting dark people were looking for a reason to stay outside. It was too dark to read. When the discussions got to "are they called lightning bugs or fire flies?" we decided it was time for us to retreat inside.

I realized there were some things I should have done while it was still light. We did our best and then with many many batteries we listened to a book on tape, going back to the radio every half hour looking for a ray of hope or information.

When we finally went to bed, I could not believe the stillness and darkness. I brought up a small battery clock from the living room and the ticking (that I never heard before) was deafening.

I lay there thinking maybe we shouldn't have filled the pots with water - maybe we were adding to the shortage. About 11:30 we heard our water in the toilet go down. (I did the right thing)

I took a cold washcloth to bed to put on my forehead in case it got too hot. I lay there anticipating the joy of the cool breeze when the fan came on. It must have taken all of 5 minutes to fall asleep.

Come morning "are you kidding still no power?" This is ridiculous! We called neighbors near the office - surely they had fixed downtown. No, everything was closed. We got electricity about 8:30 at home and about noon at the office.

My son went to the office. My daughter went to the grocery store to replace necessary items we had to throw out. She called on her cell to say some people were experiencing new black outs so "don't dump the water".

The shelves were bare of the very things we needed (of course they were, everyone else needed them too) and so it went, waiting and wondering if the power would go off again.

Till the bewitching hour 11:58, 11:59, 12 noon Sunday and the dumping of the water. They wouldn't dare, not again or would they?

What happened with you? I sincerely hope you weren't in an elevator.

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