Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Power Outage

Sunday night at 5:30 the power went out in St. Joseph, Collegeville, and Avon. It would have been more romantic if the temperature hadn't been 5 below and falling. Steve was over at Tim and Annie's and we were about 30 minutes from pulling a duck out of the oven. After 20 minutes, by candlelight, I wrapped the duck up and put it in the fridge, fearing Salmonella. After the five minutes that told me this was for real, I called Steve and he came home. His phone was already ringing, and when he answered it he said, "We're at Ground Zero, here!" His adrenaline had kicked in and he started finding things to do. He took candles downstairs to our renter. He talked about when we should think about draining the pipes and turning off the water.

A friend who is a more isolated also called. His parents are in Florida and asked Steve to watch out for him. He wanted to know if our power was out, too.

Steve's daughter called with information at the college-- the power would be out 6-7 hours, the students were being told. She was headed into town to study at a warm Barnes and Noble. That's when I put the duck away and we started thinking about going out for dinner.

I was on edge by then. The house was cooling down, and in a few hours it would be actually cold. We'd need to bring the renter up from the even colder basement. The back bedroom would stay a little warmer.

His brother called ("We're at Ground Zero, here!" said Steve) and that's how we knew Avon had no power either.

The friend whose parents are in Florida called again wondering if it was time to turn off the water-- now afraid of the freezing pipes. Steve reassured him that if it was really 7 hours, things would be fine.

Almost exactly an hour after we lost power, with the car heating up in the driveway, the lights went back on. I put the duck back in the oven, but it took a long time for it to cook.

It was about checking in, the phone calls, and I was moved, really, by the connections to Steve in his community. Today the renter left the candles outside our door with a note: "Thank you, Steve and Susan." A little light. A little warmth. A phone call.

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