An Electrifying Experience

A few days ago we woke up to a very dark house. Not only was the sun not up yet, but none of the twinkling little lights inside – on the microwave, on the smoke alarms, on the stove – were twinkling.

We looked outside and saw that several houses on the street had no lights either. A call to hydro confirmed our fears: our immediate neighbouhood would be without power until at least 1:00 pm. This was a shocker! We had experienced a few power outages when we lived in the country but honestly, we thought that city living would be immune from power loss. How naive we were!

The first order of business was COFFEE. Not having easy access to our cars that were locked in the garage with an electric garage door opener, we put our masks and sneakers on and almost jogged to the nearest Tim Horton’s. As we sat eating our breakfast bagels, we thought about how our morning would be different now. My plans had included baking muffins and making squash soup – not possible without a stove. Peter usually spends his mornings checking his email messages and watching business shows on TV. But he wasn’t going to be doing that either. It was beginning to feel like the early days of the pandemic. We were being held hostage, not only by germs but also by hydro.

We walked home from Timmy’s slowly, because what was the point of rushing? We read the morning paper cover to cover. We wandered around the garden pulling out a few weeds and finding some ripe tomatoes. Then we went inside and made tomato sandwiches for lunch, being careful not to open the fridge door too often. Next we called the hydro help line again, using our cell phone which was getting a little low on battery juice. We discovered that the restoration time had been moved to 6:00 pm. We got out the board games.

After a few rounds of Sequence, we put our sneakers back on and went searching for the cause of the outage. Two streets over we found 5 hydro trucks and a crew of workers. The scene was bustling with energy. We spoke to a homeowner who was near tears. She told us about how a huge branch from a neighbour’s tree had snapped off and landed on her new car. Both the car and the branch had been hauled away. But all the electric wires, that used to be overhead, were now lying in heaps and coils on the road and nearby lawns. This was a big job; several more hours at least.

We wandered back home again and found books and magazines to read. The weather was pleasant so we were able to sit outside on the swing – pushing ourselves – no electricity required. But no kettle either so we couldn’t make tea.

After a while we called the hydro help line again and were told the restoration time would now be 9:00 pm. We thawed some pork chops to cook on the BBQ, and made a salad. There was still enough warmth and light to eat outside. After dinner we piled the dishes in the sink, hoping the dishwasher could be used before we ran out of plates. We checked our watches – only 7:00 pm! It was getting darker now and hard to read outside. Would this day never end? We went inside and found candles.

Just as we were ready to give up and go to bed, there was a hum…the fridge? Some clicks and buzzes…the computer! Blinking lights…the microwave!! Life had returned. Not quite the life we had had last year, but good enough for now.


2 thoughts on “An Electrifying Experience

  1. Quite the adventure! How nice city life that one can walk away from most problems…

    One existential experience befell me during the Great Ice Storm a few years ago when the power went off and stayed off for 4 days and 5 nights. Since my long winding uphill driveway was covered in ice, there was no chance of anyone driving out – nor in, in case of emergency. I had no generator, nor woodstove; no BBQ to make tea on the porch. The cats and I huddled up during the long, dark nights. Luckily freezing rain has a curious warmth. By day 3, the salt had done its wonders, my neighbour (on the same farm), George, stopped by and invited me to Tim Hortons. On the fourth night, I vowed to hotel it if any hotel (which was not filled with Hydro workers) charged less than $100 was available. The Voyageur at Davis and Yonge had not boosted their rates, and I abandoned the cats to their caves of comforters and the houseplants to Fate, and joined the Hydro men for $80 of blissful heat in a civilized room with warm imported food. Just as you described it, the miracle event took place the next day back at home, and my gratitude to the little gods of light – the Hydro men and women – knew no bounds thereafter.

    Thank-you for sharing the whole story that binds our sisterhood of struggles, aka adventures.


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