Friday, December 29, 2006

Power Outage

We returned from Christmas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, whereupon we discovered that the storm from Tuesday, with 60 mph winds, had caused a power outage in our rural domicile. Most recent estimates is that we might have power by Sunday. My computer battery is ancient, thus I can't post from home. I'm here at a coffee bar using wireless to write this.

We have no heat, no plumbing, no stereo, no stove, no nothing. We can read or play Scrabble. I bought a Coleman lantern for some cheerier night light other than my bluish headlamp, and one propane canister lasts the evening--even though it warns us not to burn it indoors, due to CO concerns. With the windows open, we woke up alive. Don't know if I should be disappointed in that or not, as I am still treading the cogwheels of depression on and off--clearly I need more to do, more with which to engage myself, so that I think about myself less. On the whole, what with the new antidepressant and the buoyant love of my family over Christmas, I am doing better, but I am wary of any temporary improvements given this year's history.

When we wake up it is butt-ass cold, forty or below. It's the same reading at night in bed. Kathleen is wearing my Arctic expedition weight polypropylene long underwear and dreads to get out of it in the morning. My hands are so cold she shrieks if I touch her skin. That hasn't prevented at least one episode of amorousness; many children are born in the Fall because of it. Luckily, we are past the age of conception, unless it be the conception of our own old age and doom.

Our oldest daughter, a single working mother, was delighted with her gift of a day at a spa. Our younger daughters sent us a number of thoughtful gifts. Kathleen baked a storm of cookies, including absolutely delicious truffles which would afflict my waistline with further excess.

As for our lack of power, there is no one to complain to, no one to sue--it is "an act of God." There were some 133 stations in our county alone that were knocked out; power has been restored to Mendocino Village but four miles out in the redwoods is a buck dancer's bet as to whether we'll have heat by New Year's. Still the human animal is phenomenally adaptable, even unto death. It's so cold in our house that the ice cubes in the freezer lasted two days before melting.

I suppose we could start a 12-Step program to cope with our powerlessness over power, but by the time we had our first meeting, people would likely be addicted to power again.

Unfortunately, unlike the two other units on our property, we have no wood stove or fireplace. Our new neighbor from farther south actually had the prescience to bring a generator with him, so we can here it puttering at night while his house is bright with light. We could ask him to borrow his toilet, but as he is connected to the same well pump, he likely has the same problem we do. (Before I realized our new limitations I unfortunately made a large deposit. Now I must attend to business exclusively outdoors.)

Love to all my poet/blogging acquaintances, from LKD to Twitches, from Sam Rasnake to Jim Zola, from anonymous to inconsequential, from Elisa to Chris, from Rob Mackenzie to Beau Blue, and to all I left off this short list.

I pray this new year will be better for me and my illness. I will be writing down some New Year's goals, but I won't share them here lest I be held to them by a disapproving and disappointed reading populace.

At some level of obsessive kilorats, bloody but unbowed,


Where's My MTV?

The power is out. Our butts are cold.
We don't add to global warming.
Despite this, if the truth be told
Daylight's only good for farming.


  1. I remember having no heat or hot water several years ago in a Scottish February. It was no joke. We had to wear three jumpers, gloves, coat and scarf inside the house. I hope things get fixed soon.

    There are of course endless metaphorical possibilities - you'll probably get some great poems out of this in time, but that won't be any consolation now!

  2. When the winds bend the redwoods and limbs take the power out in these mountains, I go out to my wood/tool/generator shed and push the button that starts my 8K generator. Uses about 10-15 bucks a day in gasoline. I think I paid $1200 for it a few years ago to replace the 5K generator that bit the dust. I'm a modern man, Mr. Emerson. -blue

  3. Ah, the solidarity of other males who have been climate-challenged. The only thing I ever used a generator for was a concert of my rock band up in the mountains above San Juan Capistrano. It was great. But we didn't need mittens to stroke our guitars. Now Scotland sounds frightening in February.

    Poems? What are those?

  4. :)
    I too know of cold and power loss.
    It sucks.
    And now i sit in a fully double glazed centrally heated house...
    not gonna go through that again, unless i must...

  5. Thank goodness for coffee houses with wireless. Your prose is as nice as your poetry. Thanks.


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