On Monday evening "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I traveled north to the mountains. "She" drove, I hacked and sneezed and snuffled and dripped mucus and tried with limited success to stay awake. Finally we got to our place. It was completely dark, the garage door didn't open..., uh oh!
The power was off. It had been off for five days! The temperature inside the house was right around freezing. The flashlight in the car picked just that moment to go out. We stumbled inside into pitch dark.
"She" found a flashlight that worked and we called the power company to report the outage. Naturally we got a recorded message. It said that the report was noted and would be processed within three hours. Nothing to do but wait.
Being experienced rural dwellers we were used to power outages. They usually only last for a couple of hours and are easily dealt with. We have some emergency lights, battery powered, that go on when the power is off, but after five days the batteries were drained. We also have several candles easily at hand, or at least we used to. A couple of months ago we had counters and floors replaced in the kitchen, living room, and dining room, and at that time we had piled a lot of stuff into temporary storage. Most of it was still there, including the candles. We blundered around for a while and finally found them in the sun room.
So now we had candle light. It could have been a romantic interlude except for the fact that it was frickin freezing and I was hacking and sneezing and dripping, and "She" kept muttering about fire hazards. We could have started a fire in the fireplace, but that would have meant dragging wood in from outside, finding where we had stashed the implements, etc. Not an option.
After two hours "She" called the power company and again got a machine that said the call was noted and would be dealt with in three hours.
I was fading fast, so I went upstairs and crashed. I was well aware of the dangers of falling asleep in freezing temperatures, but I didn't care. I was well protected. Thermal socks, thermal underwear, jeans, an Icelandic sweater, and over it all a heavy robe. I crawled under covers -- a thin blanket and a thermal blanket and a down quilt seemed to be enough. But then "She" appeared with two more thermal blankets and a large fur coat that she spread over the quivering, snuffling, dripping mass of misery I had become. For the next couple of hours I drifted in and out of consciousness while dreaming of being pressed to death [that fur coat was heavy].
Around midnight "She" called the power company again. The message had changed. A crew would be sent out around 1:00 ayem. Great!
1:00 am came and went -- no crew. Hmmm. Then, about fifteen minutes later two PPL trucks came up our driveway, parked, and the crew drove away in a third vehicle. Huh?
Well, at least we now had two abandoned trucks. Better than nothing, I suppose.
After about half an hour the crew returned and got to work. Finally, about 2:30 am, the house shuddered and lights started blinking on all the appliances. Yay!!! We were back in business..., sort of.
"She" bustled around the house resetting clocks and timers. I continued to drip. Finally, around 3:00 she came to bed and got a few hours sleep. I continued to drip and drift into and out of consciousness.
And did so for the next three days. That's why I haven't blogged or done much of anything else for that matter.
Last night I woke up with a full body sweat. The fever had broken. I was actually hungry. I got up, ate a bit, then lay down to the first full night's sleep this week. Woke up today feeling OK! No drips, no hacking or wheezing, no delirium [well, no more than usual].
I spoke too soon. "She" and I returned to the Harbor this evening and the trip wore me out so that I went to bed early. I woke in the middle of the night sneezing and hacking and... well..., you know the rest.
It seems Lileks got the same thing I had -- his just didn't last as long, and he describes it much, much better than I.
Here's how he describes the end of the ordeal:
Went to bed, retiring to the guest room so my thrashings and fevered moans disturbed no one. The room was hot; the heat was on. I lacked the strength to rise and change my situation, so I laid there and basted. A large portion of the night concerned itself with questions of heat and discomfort, but they didn’t have the ripe throbbing characteristics of fever dreams. Nevertheless, I awoke at 3 with a sense of purpose and clarity: I knew that whatever I’d been fighting, I’d won.Read it here.
Why can't I write like that?