Saturday, July 24, 2010

So, Dija Hear The One About The Power Outage?

Around about 1600, Roseholme* Cottage Standard Time, I was starting to feel dizzy again and commenced to hit $LOCAL DRUGSTORE for Bonine and Benadryl, then stopped at the market for breakfast fixin's and cat food. About the time I was loading up my car at the grocers, we -- and the entire rest of Broad Ripple, with very few exceptions -- were well and truly disAMORCed, with nary a fizzle to warn us. Call it 1650.

I didn't know 'til I got home, realized I had left my garage door opener, and called Tam (see why I have the Olde Time Telephones?), for an exercise in frustration:

RX: "Tam, I'm locked out. I left the--"

Tam: "You're locked out 'cos the power is out!"

RX: "What? Look, I left the opener--"

Tam: "It wouldn't do you any good."

RX: "Unh, okay. Could you unlock the gate, then?"

Tam: "I'll be right out!"

...She then proceeded to open the garage door instead of the big double gate. I was sooo confused. As it happened, Tam had errands of her own to run, so I ended up closing the overhead door after her. Amazing how lightly it moves with both springs intact!

[sarcasm]Always prepared for emergencies[/sarcasm], I bicycled down to Locally Grown Gardens to buy ice for the fridge and other goodies (the Asian coleslaw is back! Hooray!). Power was still out when I got back, so I ate about half my coleslaw. Still no juice, so I sharpened knives; all that takes are stones, hones and a decent light source (sunlight's free). (A Sharpie helps for difficult edges; sure, it's cheating, but so what?)

(Handy Tip: Fridges and freezers work better mostly full -- leaving room for air to circulate -- than mostly empty. Fill the empty freezer space with bags of ice! Empty boxes will do for the fridge. Then, if the power conks out, move some ice to the fridge [replacing the space-filling boxes] for the duration).

Power stayed off 'til 1815 -- quarter after six! It was fixin' to get warm and I was about ready to bunk in the basement.

According to IPL, the unzapped region was a big area -- 52nd to 62nd Streets, Keystone Avenue to Northwestern/Michigan Rd. And why? They've got nothin'. Linesman's trucks were nosing around down alleyways and dead-end drives like cats searching when there's fresh fish in the house, hidden. I am less than encouraged by this. Power grids, like CATV and even telephone wiring, are not the tightly-managed things you might imagine; sure, there's a map on paper or even on a computer somewhere, but any resemblance between that map and the actual territory is more a matter of luck than a triumph of technology.
* Readers, this is not a reference to the famous nearby university, but to my family's one claim at nobility, a grant of arms during the Wars of The Roses consisting of a "naturally-colored" rose on a gray (silver, really) shield, plus the usual small plot of land, etc. A "holme" is a small island, "land that is liable to flooding," which both ties back into my family name and aptly describes the basement here....


Shermlock Shomes said...

We may have Third World-quality power and water but thank Vishnu the Capital Improvement Board found a touch over 30 million dollars to give the Pacers to keep them here in Indy! Go Pacers! I'd watch you on my TeeWee but the dang power is out again.

Montie said...

The same thing happened in Tulsa, Wednesday morning. No storm and no warning, just poof the lights went off and the ceiling fans coasted to a stop as I was in the process of getting ready for work. It was about 0715 and plenty light enough to get ready by window light , but it started to get a little warm in the house before it came back on about 0900. Since I called in to report it, I got an automated callback after service was restored, explaining the mistake that left 10,000 customers w/o service.

I'm beginning to think that the generator I bought during the outage following our massive ice storm of December 2007 might have been a better longterm investment than I anticipated.

Drang said...

Same thing our first night in Kona. I know, what are you complaining about, you were in Kona! Actually, didn't effect us hardly at all, even as early as it gets dark that far south, because we were so tired after the flight that we went right to bed anyway. Got to test the Surefire Z2LED flashlight I had just bought, while brushing my teeth, hardly what they advertise the things for...

The Freeholder said...

Roberta, if the folks I read are correct, we'd all better get used to this. The big utilities have not invested in their distribution systems in the amounts necessary to keep up with wear, tear and increasing demand. The SCADA systems are being targeted by a new worm directed at them. (Yeah, hoking them up to the Internet was a wizard idea. Ever wonder why the Pentagon keeps the really important things disconnected, Sparky?) Etc., etc.

I'm just happy it didn't happen here today, with a heat index of 110 or thereabouts.

Anonymous said...

We had an outage for a few hours a day or two back. We got out of work two hours early because of it. So... fair trade. That generator surely sounds like a good idea though.


Roberta X said...

...During the runup to Y2K, I made the comment at a planning meeting that we were "entering a time of less-reliable power than we were accustomed to" and got blank looks. Subsequent events have proven me right; but I was "predicting" the present, for anyone who'd been paying attention.

It turned out my big boss either was already of like opinion or was soon convinced; he has gone for bigger, better gensets at every opportunity and it has paid off.

Anonymous said...

Harbor freight: portable generator $89.99 can't go wrong enough to run a refrigerator. Handy item to have and won't break the bank.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Power outages never happen at convenient times...Three years ago I was in the throes of my first attack of diverticulitis when the power went out for the weekend. Ended up in the emergency room presenting with a 101° fever and about half out of my mind (well, the other half) after sitting in the stuffy house for nearly a day not realizing what I had...

Ken said...

I just spent the morning locked out of my garage because the transformer behind us blew at 6:10 am*. Back up now, but I am ordering a new keyed manual release today.

*At 6 am, Best Wife in the World says, "Is there a bee in here?" We figured out it was the teevee and unplugged it. I went into the head and the lights flickered a couple of times. I says to myself, "Self, here it comes." Sure enough, about two minutes later, flashPOW!