16 March 2016

Four Days in the Dark

You know your life has gone sideways when a memorial service is the best part of your weekend.

The ever so lovely Pacific Northwest had a March storm that took out our power.  We were without for almost four days. While this is the headline, it is way not the story.

I came home a little late on Thursday afternoon because it was storming and I wanted to take photos of the bay. When I pulled onto our road, I noticed what I thought was a branch had fallen and caught in the trees.  I stopped to look and thought "Well, it's a little sketchy but I'll hurry underneath."

Once I was on the other side, I stopped and got out to take a better look.  So, so much worse from that angle.  The top of a tree had snapped off and caught in the other trees and the end was resting on our power lines.  It was about a twenty foot section of tree.

So, I phoned Kevin to tell him what happened so he could get off a little early and see it in the daylight and do any clean up that needed to happen.

I went home, let Lucy outside to do her thing, and stood on the deck for a minute looking at the tree and wondering when Kevin was going to get home.  Returning into the house, I finally realize that it's really quiet.  Our power is out.  *bad words*  Oh, and of course it is because Tree on the Wires.

I phoned the power company and reported the outage. She said that two others had reported it earlier but gave no further information.  "It should be restored by the end of the day."  Okay, so that sucks and we'll have to go out to dinner but we're fine.

Then I phone Kevin's parents.  His mom tells me in a completely unconcerned tone  "Oh yeah, well, the tree fell on the power line and our power went out." 
"Did you phone the power company?"
"Oh no, we didn't have to.  The fire department did it when they came because the tree caught fire."

The. Tree. Caught. Fire.

And they didn't call their kids.  When there was a FIRE.

When did this happen?  I ask, rubbing my forehead and actively thinking about not strangling them.

"Oh, I don't know, about 10:30 this morning.  We just went to  town."

Head.Desk.Head.Desk.Head.Desk.  Are you kidding me.

They drove under the dangerous, formerly on fire, tree to go to town.  And didn't call their kids.

*Deep breath*

I hung up with her and phoned  the power company back.  I gave her all the details and included that my mother-in-law was in poor health and often needed the ambulance and oxygen.  The power company again stated  that it would probably be on in the evening.  She even mentioned that it was important to mention things like my mother-in-law's poor health.

Kevin came home and cleaned up the tree a little bit then came home.  We decided to go to dinner and wait it out.  While we were at dinner, Kevin phoned his parents to give them the update.  "You know, next time there is a power outage you might give one of your kids a call."
"We knew they had been contacted so we just didn't think about it."
"How about next time there is fire, you CALL YOUR KIDS."

They actually had the nerve to sound insulted. This is not something we would think would need to be said but apparently it is.

So, we came home and we still didn't have power.  I phoned the power company again to get an update.  Now it was pushed to by midnight that night.  I was annoyed but really, at this point the house was still warm and all we were missing was television. And water.  And toilets.  But it was temporary. It was quaint.

We set up the generator so we could have lights and his parents could have lights then we went to bed.  It wasn't super cozy but we were fine.  Also, Kevin helped his brother set up his generator because his brother is a big effing baby when it comes to these situations and that's all I have to say about that.

The next morning we awoke to still no power.  I sent Kevin off to work and called the power company again.  Oh, now  the power will be on around noon, the evening at the latest.  I expressed disappointment and just a tinge of annoyance.

The helpful customer service rep told me that they were on site.  I told them they were very much not on site.  "You may not be able to SEE them."
*throat clearing*  Um, yeah, I CAN actually but THANKS.  Oh, and everyone else in a two mile radius has power so um, SHUT UP.

About 10:00 am, Kevin phoned to tell me that he was on his way home.  He had talked to his parents and they were getting cold enough that it was starting to affect his mother's health.  He was coming home to reconfigure the generator so they could have heat.

So, he hooked up their little electric fireplace and all was good again.  Because this was temporary, the power will be back on in the evening.  No worries.

He and I went down to where the tree fell and cleaned up the rest of the branches, leaves, and mess that the tree had left.  He had bought lunch on the way home for he and his parents so we were set until dinner.  We just hadn't showered.  The fun had dwindled and we were beginning to get irritable.

Dinnertime started approaching and I phoned the power company again.  Now it wasn't due to be on until midnight.  This time I did express displeasure at being over 24 hours without power.  "Well, ma'am, there are only five meters on that road so you are not a priority."

Cue: Head Explosion.

"There are SIX HOUSES on this road, SIX.  Three of the people are elderly, one in poor health, and two small children under the age of five so PLEASE explain to me how we are not a priority." 

Yeah, that went over well.  About as well as (spoiler alert)  four hours later when it was Kevin's turn to call the power company, only to hear very similar to the above.  He has this sarcastic giggle when he's at the edge of losing his sh*t and I heard him do it.  "Well, Ma'am, I think the point that might be missing is  that all SIX of these families PAY THEIR ELECTRIC BILL and deserve to have timely service.  I'm sure we would be a priority if WE didn't pay our bills."

*Slow Clap*

Now knowing that we weren't going to have power anytime soon, Kevin talked to his parents and his brother about moving his parents down to their house.  Because we live in a tiny house and they have a pellet stove that was keeping their house warm, it made more sense for them to go there.  No, the parents want to just stay where they were.  Kevin started getting wound up about this and somehow I stayed in my mature space and said "No, let them be.  Let it be a consequence."  He was so tired and frustrated that he did let it go.

We went to bed grouchy, unshowered, and cold.  We actually let the puppy sleep with us so she would be warm and frankly, to help keep us warm.  I kept telling myself that this was going to give us a good story to tell when it was all over.

6:00 am on Saturday and Kevin's alarm goes off.  Still no power.  And this is where I end this chapter.  Stay tuned for the next post.  :)