This weekend a windstorm blasted through the Vancouver area and ended up knocking out power to over half a million households. It wasn’t a terribly bad storm from my perspective (I’ve been in a hell of a lot worse ones before!), but this one was vicious on the power lines.
Here’s how it went down for me:
It’s currently 8:04pm on Saturday night and I’ve been without power or running water (we’re on a well system, so when the power goes, so does our water) since 11:30am. We had a fairly big storm blow through the area for most of the morning, so I wasn’t surprised when the power first went out. I thought it would last a few hours, but now that I’m going on almost 9 hours with no power, I’m getting a bit annoyed.
I’ve read a lot today, which has been great. I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read, so I made some real progress on one of them (Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough).
For most of the day I had 3G access, so I could occasionally check Twitter and Facebook on my phone, and attempt to look at the BC Hydro site (which was down for most of the weekend, frustratingly) in the hopes of getting some kind of an update on when the power would be back. One local business that I follow said that they heard it would be noon tomorrow before it would be back, and I hoped that that was just a cruel joke.
At about 7pm my 3G access quit on me, so now I have no connection to the outside world. I know I take all of that for granted, but it’s still frustrating and discombobulating when it’s taken away from you without warning. It’s aggravating not knowing what’s going on, and whether or not we’ll actually get power back tonight or not.
I haven’t opened my fridge since before the power went off, and I’m praying and crossing everything that I don’t have to end up throwing most of my food away. I have no idea how long food lasts in a fridge and freezer without power, but I’m imagining that a full day without power will be disastrous. What’s especially annoying is that I went on a huge grocery shop last night, so I just stocked up on a whole bunch of things that I needed. ARGH! What a potentially huge waste of money! :(
I had a very large brunch this morning, but since I don’t want to open up my fridge, I’ve subsisted on Sour Cream & Onion pringles, flour tortillas with peanut butter and apple strudels this afternoon and evening. Blech. I mean, those things are fine in moderation, but when it’s all you have to eat that doesn’t require a fridge, stove/oven, microwave or any other appliance to prepare, it’s not so fun.
My phone battery was at about 20% not that long ago, but thankfully I have a portable charger so I’m now almost back at full strength. I’m glad I thought to recharge that a few days ago.
With the light of my computer and also the multitude of candles that I’ve lit in my living room, plus the faint light coming in through the windows, it’s very peaceful in here, but I’m definitely getting antsy. I know the hydro crews are probably working their asses off (last I heard there were over 300,000 homes without power), but I hope it doesn’t take them too much longer to restore power in my neighbourhood. If it doesn’t come on in the next hour, it’s going to be a very early night for me. I’m definitely not cut out for primitive living! ;)
It’s now 2:38pm on Sunday afternoon, and we’re still without power. I had a fairly early night and anticipated waking up in the middle of the night when the power came back on, but that didn’t happen. I checked things online right after I woke up at about 9:45am, and they were still saying 12pm. Fine. I could wait that long. 12pm came and went. Finally there were updates that said 12:30am Monday morning. GRRR. There have been so many conflicting reports from BC Hydro that I don’t believe any of them. I know they’re working overtime, but this whole thing is a huge mess.
I’m preparing myself for another evening without power. No stores or restaurants nearby have been open, so I haven’t been able to get any food, but that’s okay.
Thankfully my landlords showed me where the rain barrels are, so at least I have some water and can flush my toilet. That was getting QUITE disgusting. They also gave me a number of water bottles, so I’m grateful to have liquids to drink. They have a gas stove and have invited me to cook on it, but everything in my fridge and freezer is now ruined. I don’t have anything that doesn’t require some kind of other refrigerated or frozen ingredients to cook, so I’m not left with much to eat. I would normally decline their invitations to join them for a meal, but if they invite me for dinner tonight, I’m taking them up on it.
At this point, all I’m hoping for is that we have power back by the time I wake up tomorrow morning so that I can have a shower. Going to work after 2 days without bathing would be horrible. Fingers crossed!
It’s now 8:08pm. The ETA for power is still 12:30am. I’m glad that hasn’t shifted. I did indeed get invited upstairs for an afternoon coffee and then dinner, which I tried to gracefully refrain from shoving in my face like a starved person. I’ve never been more excited for grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Best. Meal. EVER.
I have a feeling it’s going to be another quiet and early night for me. Even with multitudes of candles lit, it’s extremely hard to read, plus I have no more matches and all my lighters have no more fuel, so when these candles burn out, I’m pretty much done for the night.
Here’s to hoping their estimate of 12:30am is right, so that I’ll have running water by the time I wake up in the morning. I’m in desperate need of a shower.
My computer battery is now at death’s door, so that’s all for now.
The power came back on at about 12:15am on Monday morning, so I woke up to lights blazing (I forgot to turn them off when the power first went off) and electronics and appliances powering back on.
I opened my fridge to check on the contents and miraculously the food was still somewhat cool. However, it smelled like something had died in there, as did the freezer, so I knew I was going to have to throw out the majority of the food, especially the fresh stuff.
The total power outage time at my house was 37 hours. One of my friends STILL had no power as of this morning, which is ridiculous. I can’t imagine how furious they and the others still without power are feeling right about now.
All this is just proof of how totally unprepared we are for a natural disaster. I need to stock up on canned goods and buy myself some form of cooktop that can be used without electricity. If it weren’t for my landlords, I would have been without food or water for almost two days. Not good at all.
I had a fabulously long shower on Monday morning and it was probably in the top 10 of the best showers I’ve ever had. The small things in life sure can be glorious!