Reflections on entering day 4 without power.

If my math is right as I write this we’re coming up on 80 hours without
power after the windstorm that partied on the Seattle area Thursday night.

Various thoughts in no particular order…

  • I love my RV. Seriously, I’m in it, warm and with power as the generator
    churns in the background. Even published a podcast
    about it
    last night.

  • That being said, I’m very fortunate that the (80 gal) gas tank was
    half full – the generator fuels from it, though in a stunningly smart design
    move, cannot actually drain it dry. (Note to self #1: keep the tank relatively

  • Ditto the propane tank – a little over half full. (Note to self #2:

  • I love my Treo. 4 days without power is one thing. 4 days without
    connectivity? Oh. My. I shudder at the thought.

  • You can never have too many “D” batteries at the ready. Our portable AM
    radio takes 6. Our portable TV takes 6. Not to mention various and sundry flash
    lights. We did visit a couple of stores yesterday and the day before; AA, AAA
    no problem — D’s (and C’s) are long, long gone.

  • Some dogs can be trained to act as heating pads. Others cannot. As in other
    areas of life, choose your bed partners wisely.

  • A below-ground basement stays cooler in the summer and warmer in winter when
    there’s no other source of heat. Our downstairs cats say “Thank you” to the
    laws of thermodynamics.

  • This light
    has proven amazingly useful. Coupled with two rechargeable battery packs, it
    throws a lot of light. My typical first job in the morning after
    getting the RV warmed up is to charge those packs. Next up: the matching radio
    that runs off of those same batteries.

  • People that send 15 megabyte emails with photos in them will get a polite
    reminder that not everyone can download that much that quickly – like via my
    cell phone after a windstorm.

  • The good news about having a house “in the open” is that there are no trees
    to fall on you. The bad news about having a house “in the open” is that there
    are no trees to protect you. Full-force winds are “fun”. Glad we had the roof
    a couple of years ago. (No damage.)

  • Fireplaces that are more “ornamental” than functional are frustrating.

  • UPS’s that don’t turn back on when the power resumes are frustrating.
    (Kathy’s doll shop has
    power, and one of the two computers is back up. The wrong one. The one not on
    the UPS.) [Update: ok, this was user error. The PC was not configured to boot
    automatically on power on. Whoops. Just as frustrating, but for a different reason.]

  • Some dogs can snore loudly as they sleep through a windstorm.

  • Too many people don’t understand that CO kills.

  • It brings out the worst. Too many people bitch about not getting their power
    back fast enough. Apparently it’s not enough that this is the most massive
    outage in our history and that our utility has crews from around the country
    here working 24/7 to restore everyone’s power. I had to turn off the radio
    because of all the callers bitching and bitching and bitching. “My” power is,
    apparently, more important than “their” power. Sigh.

  • It brings out the best. There are plenty of stories also, though not as
    widely reported, of people helping others in a variety of ways from small to
    large. That’s not getting the press it deserves.

More thoughts later as they occur.


We have power!

At 9AM Tuesday, nearly four and a half days after it went out, power’s been restored. The RV’s been packed away again, and life is returning to normal (whatever that is).

I’m still one of the lucky ones. My particular town, Woodinville, was hit very hard, and there are folks who won’t get their power back until this weekend. And a friend from a town even further out may be coming to stay with us as her’s isn’t promised until Christmas, at best.

We’re very fortunate, indeed.

For those so inclined, I was on The David Lawrence Show on the radio on 12/19 in the second hour, discussing a little of what it means to try and run an on-line business in the dark.

8 thoughts on “Reflections on entering day 4 without power.”

  1. My experience after the big California quake a few years ago is that the media loves the fear, the panic, the increase in viewership / listenership, so they kept hyping up the danger and the risks. Meanwhile, we were all working very well together and having some level of fun as we partied with our otherwise unknown neighbors.
    Keep plugging away. I’ll mail you some D batteries if you need it!

  2. We turned off Kiro 710 ‘The Outrage Station’ – They were outraged about:
    1. Puget Sound Energy being run as a business (not a private club for mostly idle linemen needed maybe twice a year)
    2. The Seattle Mayor not helping everyone who hadn’t planned
    3. The emergency numbers being blocked – they knew this because they were calling them constantly (thus helping block the lines)
    4. No-one from government was there to help those who had no idea this was coming and had no heat, light or food.
    5. The fact that people with special needs hadn’t thought that living in the middle of no-where might mean that you get your power back on last.
    We had fun, ate well, played games, read using my infinite life lantern (at least 5 years out of a set of batteries) and kept safe and warm.

  3. Hang in there, Leo!
    I always wondered if our dogs cared if the power was on or off.
    Three pieces on my all time wish list: a sweet windmill, lots of solar panels, and a whopping home UPS capable of powering ranchero indebto for days on end.

  4. The most important lesson I learned. NEVER decide your comforter is “dry enough” eight hours before your power goes out for three days. (grin)

  5. Good for you that you are living with the inconvenience, counting all the things you’ve learned and making a list of what needs to be ready for next time. Hope that your local authorities realize from this event that the time to make sure that emergency information is published in all languages and everybody has supplies for 3 days is way before it is needed.

  6. leo,
    i am glad that you are feeling better.
    i certainly would miss your columns if you died.
    seriously, i have recommended you to many of my friends and universally they agree with my assesment:
    “two thumbs up”.
    all except the one with polydactyly who said “3 thumbs up”

  7. Another RV tank you might consider keeping full (at least in warmer weather), is your water tank.
    Living in a remote area, posibly with a water well and septic tank, leaves you with a problem of what to do for toilet facilities.
    The RV fills that need very well, especially true for anyone with flu-like symptoms.
    I speak from experience.

  8. Yes, but… we had freezing temperatures (mid 20’s F), and thus I actually had to *drain* the water system to keep it from freezing. Normally, with electricity, I leave the heat on in the RV enough to keep things from freezing, but with no power that wasn’t an option.
    We DO keep bottled water inside, in areas less exposed to the bitter cold.

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