I have the power!


Good news for me. I have electricity! Phew!


Yesterday, I was laying in my office at about 2:30 trying to think of something to do. I didn’t want to go shopping or anything (that’s saying a lot…just didn’t want more stuff to lug around). So I thought I would go for a drive, check on my house, get the mail. I have just been there 4 hours earlier but what the heck. I was going stir crazy in my office with the big inflatable air mattress propped against the wall. When I had driven home earlier in the day, I had noticed some of the traffic lights on a major road going toward my house were on, but not the one at the major intersection about a mile from my house. If you have been here before, you know that having lights on *near* your house could mean something or nothing. As I drove toward my house, I started to look for signs of light. There’s a porch light. They have Christmas lights on. I started to get really excited as I pulled onto my blog. The neighbors across the street had their tree lights on. Of course, you don’t know if you have power until you check your own house. I opened the door and it was a balmy 58 degrees inside. I could totally sleep in 58 degrees. Big huge sigh of relief. I brought Jonas in, grabbed the laundry out of my car and started a load. Then I went back to the office to get my camping, I mean living, supplies.


The people that sit down the hall from me probably didn’t know that I was living in my office for 3 days and 2 nights. I hope it never happens again. The worst of it was that I had to keep Jonas with me pretty much at all times as he barks when I leave him alone (I suspect he may stop at some point but hard to tell). The first day in the office, my friend Ann came to sit with Jonas while I went up to the third floor to shower (seems they may have delivered some extra towels to our little locker room up there just in case). The second day, I just made sure I woke up before people arrived for work to get up to 3 to shower…Jonas may have barked but hopefully nobody was around to hear.


Aside from my mental state, it was pretty comfy living in 100. I had the shower upstairs, I had a mini fridge in my office (as well as a bigger one in the kitchen), the iCups coffee maker, the microwave, the soda, the phone, etc. Aside from the weirdness of it, and the fact that I had my dog with me, I could see someone doing that for a while if they needed to. I don’t expect to again. I am buying a generator this summer.


As far as lessons I learned about coping in emergencies; I’d say I didn’t learn much I didn’t already know. Having the crank flashlights and radio, as well as plenty of fire wood for the first few days, were really key. If I get my fireplace wired for gas, I think I’ll be in great shape. Then I would hang blankets to block the heat into the living room and hunker down. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do next time.  


In the meantime, I have a ton of laundry and grocery shopping to do and I want to see if I can help out anyone. It’s weird how important laundry became to me during this. Also the showering. I suspect that when something like this happens, you try to cling to some simple routines/comforts. For me, it’s cleanliness. What a shock. I cleaned out the refrigerator fully last night. It’s so pretty and white inside. I swept out the fireplace. I should be back to normal tomorrow.


Unfortunately, I don’t think I can say the same for some other people in my neighborhood. As I write this, I can hear a generator running and I didn’t see lights on in the row of houses behind mine; the houses that the ones on my street share a backyard fence with. On the radio, they were telling people to stop burning a fire when they get heat…the air quality here is really bad. Well, the house behind mine is still burning a fire.


Just got word from my friend and co-worker, Greg, that they got power back last night at Snoqualmie Ridge. That’s good. According to the news, there are still about 180,000 customers without power.


Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I am back home and my attitude adjustment has already begun : ) In a few days, I’ll be back to my old normal self again. Thank you to everyone that said nice things while this was going on. For some reason, sympathy helped. I know this was not the worst thing that could ever happen to people but it was still an emergency and I really appreciate all the kindness.


 

Comments (19)

  1. Diana says:

    I think that’s pretty amazing that people down the hall from your office didn’t know that you were camping there for so long. Air mattresses and dogs must be pretty common place at Microsoft : )

  2. phil hugger says:

    Would you stop bitching and moaning already? Sorry to be blunt, but there are AIDS babies eating dust in Africa and YOU won’t stop complaining about a lack of clean underoos.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Diana- probably not comon place but I had my blinds closed and I didn’t make it obvious to other people. I didn’t want it to impact anyone else.

    Phil- If you don’t like it, then move right along, friend. I realize there are worse things going on in the world. This blog is about what’s going on in my life. And this is what was going on in my life this week. If you have a problem with that then feel free to read someone else’s blog.

  4. Patrick says:

    That story is priceless Heather, I’m lucky, I was only out of power for about 24 hours.

    (although my favorite part of the story is when you got excited as you "pulled into your blog" 🙂

  5. Michael says:

    Uh, Heather, you’re definitely at that weird intersection where real life meets blog life.

    "I started to get really excited as I pulled onto my blog."

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Patrick and Michael – Oops. Perhaps I am still a bit tired. I could fix that but let’s just consider it a charming aspect of my personality. Yeah, that’s it. It’s charming. : )

  7. --Lisa says:

    Congrats.  Go crawl into your WARM bed with your puppy and get some well-deserved rest. 🙂

  8. Avid_Supporter says:

    Hi Heather!  Glad to hear your life is getting back to "normal."  I’ve been reading your blog throughout this whole thing and I’m amazed you slept you in the office.  It’s weird, as already pointed out, that nobody noticed you (even with the blinds drawn).  During the day, did you maintain your normal work routine, or were you still on "vacation?"  Just curious.  

    I also laughed out loud when I read "…pulled into my blog."  Charming!  🙂

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Lisa- thanks!

    Avid_Supporter – I’d say somewhere in between. I was technically on vacation time, but was blogging and answering e-mail. Felt like I had to give something back to Microsoft under the circumstances ; ) I even have to stop by the office tonight to drop some stuff off.

    Just ordered some groceries online to start to re-stock. We are getting a much lesser storm tonight…hoping the power grid holds up!

  10. patblue says:

    I am glad you could pull your car into your blog Heather, that must mean it is fixed from your curb mishap.  I am also glad you got power at your house and that you also could make do living at Microsoft for that time…I know others that had no options w/ babies and such that have hefty hotel bills.  I support the generator buying decision, just read up on the directions of ventilation and use before the lights go out :-).  I have been astounded at all the reports of Co2 poisoning going on with all of this.  I hope you are getting caught up and being warm!

    Our house became a refuge of warmth and charge spots (cell and laptops) and hot showers for more than a few unfortunate people during all of this.  I am glad the lights and heat are all coming back on.

    Pat

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, it’s a drive up blog. I set it up that way. I was definitely trying to not have a big hotel bill (esp since I already went through that with the snow storm). Given how long the power outages lasted, the hotel bill could have been a thousand bucks. No thanks!

    The CO2 reports have been very sad. I think it was people not thinking straight and desperate to get warm. And that poor woman that drowned in her basement. So horrible. I read that 3 or 4 people also died in their cars from trees falling on them. I definitely felt fortunate that I had the option of sleeping somewhere warm. If a storm like this comes through in the future though, I am getting out of town. Hear that mother nature? 100 mph winds and I am out of here!

  12. Graham says:

    Glad to hear you are back at home with power and getting back to some semblance or normalcy. Looking forward to hearing your comments on the blog-tag from Charline Li. http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/2006/12/blog_tag_and_fi.html.

  13. Christine says:

    I am so glad things are getting back to normal!  When I am not home for long periods of time I start getting really crabby; it’s like I have no outlet for my love of nesting.

    And the fact that Microsoft let you stay there I think really says a lot about how much they care about their employees.  A lot of companies wouldn’t do that for fear something would go wrong–or in my office, simply because it’s not considered "professional" by someone’s standards.  But it’s clear that Microsoft cares about its employees as people in addition to workers!

    And I wonder why someone who cares so much about AIDS victims was browsing blogs instead of getting out and doing something about it?  I have friends who help run AIDS orphanages in South Africa and they have very little time to write mean things on blogs–they’re too busy contributing to the solution.  That is just my two cents though.

  14. phil hugger says:

    Christine, as far as you know, I volunteer nonstop.

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    And he keeps coming back!

  16. David Morris says:

    It’s good to hear that you’ve got power again. It takes something like that to make us realise how much we rely on electricity!

    Also, when I saw the title of the blog post, I couldn’t help but think of the song done by ‘Snap’ in the early ’90s!

  17. Wine-Oh says:

    Glad to hear things are slowly getting back to the way they were. I was without power for 24 hours in a highrise NYC apt a couple of summers ago. Felt like an eternity, so I cant even fathom a few days without it. Im sure some good stories will come out of it, and maybe some marriage proposals down the road. There were a few in the NY Times after the 2004 blackout.

    How did Jonas do during all this? (other than sleeping at the office)

  18. DCMT says:

    Glad you’re back

    From Reuter’s News:

    By Bernie Woodall

    Wed Dec 20, 10:41 PM ET

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The coastal Pacific Northwest prepared on Wednesday for another treacherous windstorm and a possible repeat of the power outages that have caused havoc in the already soggy region for the past week.

    Got that generator yet?  

  19. HeatherLeigh says:

    David Morris – that is so true! Especially in the winter. If it had been warmer out, I definitely would have stayed at home and made a go of it with candles and my gas grill. Re: the song…I knew that phrase, but didn’t recall where I knew it from. That’s it…that Snap song! Thanks for solving the mystery for me…I would have kept wondering : )

    Wine-Oh, well I can tell you for sure that no marriage proposals will come out of my situation. I guess people deal with stress in different ways. The first 2 days I was fine and spent time with neighbors (I am very fortunate to live next door the people I do). After that, my inner Heather came out and I just really needed to be alone (you know that whole introvert thing). Some people deal with stuff by locking arms and talking about it. Me, I just want to curl up alone with a magazine or something. I have to say though, I don’t generally have a high stress life. I really don’t.

    As for Jonas, I’m sure he was wondering what the heck was going on. I do think he enjoyed the cuddle time. When else will his mom let him snuggle up on the floor (the answer is not often…he sheds like a maniac). For 5 days, I basically took him everywhere I went and he got accustomed to the getting-into-the-car routine. He also found his own little spot under my desk in the office. If anything, I think he reacted to me. I’m such a "planner" and a "doer" and this was a situation I couldn’t plan or do my way out of. I think Jonas’ reaction to the whole thing was something along the lines of "Mom, you don’t seem happy. Here, let me put my head on your lap so you can scratch it. That should make you feel better!". Yeah, that’s my dog.

    DCMT – that story was "overblown"…hah! We did have a little wind but nothing compared to last week. They made me all nervous about losing power again, but we are just fine. As of the news broadcast this AM, there are still about 80,000 homes in the area wihtout power. I’ve reached out to my friends and everyone seems to have been restored. This morning, I noticed someone unloading laundry into my neighbors house.

    This morning, I finished emtpying the freezer in my garage. Yesterday, I did some grocery shopping and things are starting to seem as they were. Obviously, this was not the worst thing that could have happened (though 12 people have died and I suspect we will find out about more after the fact) but it’s been very "unpleasant" for those that lost power…that’s my new word for it…"unpleasant". The governor declared a state of emergency the other day so we could get some federal funds to the area. Also, the news says their are 500 crews (many flown in from other areas) working on just the Puget Sound Energy customers (PSE basically servers ther east side and parts of other counties besides King and Seattle City Light serves King County).

    Anyway, DCMT, I am probably going to wait on getting the generator until this summer. The storm really brought to light some other things I need toget fixed around here that I can’t ignore anymore.

    Yesterday, I was online and on our intranet page, there was a poll of employees asking how long their power was out (if at all) and whether it had been restored. The poll is gone today from the site, but as of yesterday, 24% of respondents still did not have power. Just a little info for those interested in what is going on.

    Also, yesterday, I got my Puget Sound Energy gas bill. I happily paid it!

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