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Cold, cranky and disconnected
January 29, 2009 - Art Smith
I woke up this morning to the sound of dying electronic beeping near my bed, the distant sound of a generator told me all I needed to know. The power was off.
I knew when I left work on Tuesday that the weather may have prevented me from driving in on Wednesday. I pride my self in being able to work from anywhere. All I need is a Web connection and I can work away regardless of where I am physically. Of course no power means no web connection, well, almost none. I stumbled around in the dark looking for my cell phone. Once found I could not only use it as a flash light, I could also check basic stuff on the web. A visit to weather.com proved what I already knew. The weather was bad and was going to stay that way for a while. I checked the mobile version of our Web site. Another confirmation that the weather was terrible and that sadly two area people had lost their lives because of it. I could send and receive e-mail from my phone, so I took care of that. Then I sat, in the dark, like people 100 years ago, waiting for the sun to come up.
We have grown very dependent on the voltage that flows through the lines. It powers nearly everything we take for granted. The gas furnace of course will not run. The house is currently getting colder at a rate of about a degree and a half per hour. We have a fireplace, which is now lit, it looks nice, but for some reason the modern fireplace does very little to HEAT THE HOUSE, which is a function that would come in very handy now.
Electronics, of course, either die or start to die the second the power is cut. The laptop I am writing this blog on has exactly 3 hours and 26 minutes of juice left. That’s what we call in the business a deadline. In just over 3 hours this laptop will be dead. The televisions, most of our computers, our wireless network, our game systems, the refrigerator, are all dead for now. I can’t even get out of the garage without disconnecting the electric garage door openers. We have gone from six phones in the house to the one phone that we have that doesn’t have to be plugged in. It keeps ringing, and we have to get up to answer it because the handset actually has a wire attached to it. How did the pioneers, or families in the 1960s for that matter survive, I’ll never know.
The house is eerily quiet. My wife Lori is reading. She would normally be teaching a class at Marietta College, but classes there were canceled and the staff and students were notified by a high tech phone message system that even worked on my low tech “wired” phone. My daughter is playing a game, one that doesn’t have to be plugged in, and I sit here in a dark corner near the fireplace, writing a blog that will not see the light of day until the power and my wireless network spring back to life.
I took a walk outside. The driveway is literally a sheet of ice and the road is not much better. The only sound you hear is the rain hitting the ice and chainsaws cutting down limbs in the distance. There is a unique beauty to it all. The trees all coated in ice like some type of huge Christmas decoration. I think I can speak for the entire mid-Ohio Valley, we have seen enough of it. Bring on spring.
Postscript: 24 hours later, our home, and thousands of others in Ohio still had no electric or heat.
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