Power Outage – Or the Day from Hell.

A full report of our power outage for my friends.

Our power went off at 7:30pm on Wednesday night, about 3 hours after huge clumps of wet snow started descending from the sky. We just got power back at 8pm on Thursday. It took Mark 8 hours to go from just past the White House to home, a route that normally takes about 45 minutes. He considered ditching his car multiple times and walking; he was so frustrated with going 1 car length every 15 minutes. At one point he called me basically asking for permission. I asked him to stick it out, which he heroically did.

And then there were the 4-wheel-drive people that bought their trucks because they looked cool and they didn’t really know how to handle 4-wheel-drive. But it didn’t matter if they could have plowed through a 5-foot snow drift because traffic was just not moving. Some people on the George Washington Parkway were stuck there all night long.

The cops were nowhere to be seen. They certainly weren’t out trying to direct traffic through the intersections that were dark. Let me tell you something about DC traffic, people. It’s survival of the fittest. There is nothing polite or cordial about driving in DC. You either go or you get out of the way. And if you miss your “turn” you will be sitting there until some schmoe goes just a little to slow and you get the chance to dart out in front of him, leading the charge for the people honking behind you.

We lost power at 7:30pm in a spectacular display of blue light that lit up the ENTIRE night sky for about 2 minutes. I believe that some of the lightening that was going on (yes, lightening during a blizzard) hit a big transformer in our neighborhood. I was just putting the kids to bed, so they didn’t really notice the power outage until the next morning.

Seeing the writing on the wall earlier in the afternoon, I had gotten the lantern and flashlight and extra blankets out of the basement for everyone. I stayed up with the lantern until DH got home at 1am. The temp indoors at that time was 60 degrees.

Thank God we have a gas stove. We were able to boil water in the morning and make coffee – I dutifully called our neighbors and had them come over for a cup or 3. Then I made everyone oatmeal and started a huge kettle of water boiling on the stove to help heat the house. That pot of water managed to get the house temp up to 67F degrees by 2pm. It didn’t get much higher than that. We had our neighbors over for lunch as they did not have a gas stove or any heat whatsoever. Their house temperature was 55F on Thursday night. Thank goodness the power came back on. Pepco says everyone should have power by 11pm Friday.

The kids did great. It was all a grand adventure to them. Including the huge branch that fell off one of the trees in the front yard and came inches from taking out our other neighbor’s car. They were also impressed that I was taking the food out of the fridge and moving it outside where it would stay cold.

Amazingly, the roads were plowed in record time. They took front loaders off of construction job sites and had them push snow out of the way. This was the quickest our block had EVER gotten cleared. In the big blizzard last year we didn’t see a plow for days. The block dug our way out with our snow shovels on Day 3 because we were all out of food. (I believe the plow showed up on Day 5.)

Schools are closed today (Friday). The temperature will be in the 30s and I will be taking the kids outside to run off some of this energy they have stored up. We are expecting another inch of snow today, but I can cope with that.   The worst part of having the power off was no heat for the kids.  I can cope with no heat and I can cook a full meal with just a stove top, but having the kids have to sleep in a room that is 60 degrees just made me feel horrible.  H has a cough now, even though he was bundled up with many layers and insulated pants for the whole day.  When he woke up on Thursday morning his hands and cheeks were so cold.   E insisted he was warm enough and refused to put on a sweatshirt until I said he couldn’t play in his room until he put one on.  (He escapes from H’s “love and adoration” – i.e. interference and pushing – by going to his room for periods of alone time.)

Thanks for your good wishes and kind thoughts.  I have determined that I would not have survived as a pioneer woman.   I am buying a generator.


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