Zeta Power Outage Report

For The Record

Awareness of the outside world. Hurricane Zeta relief. Not everyone had it as easy as we did. The American Red Cross of Alabama and Mississippi: Ways to Donate. New Orleans & Louisiana, NOLA Ready.
Hurricane Zeta had spun down to a Tropical Storm by the time it blew past us early Thursday morning, October 29, 2020. We had no power from the wee smalls on Thursday until the following Sunday afternoon.

What was it like to live without power for almost four days? Mostly a cross between an adventure & an inconvenience.

Pluses & Non-minuses
Local. Our part of the county was hit hard by outages. The nearest town was completely dark for several days. North of us had power the entire time, or got it back quickly. Plenty of places to get food or recharge our devices.

Local. Our nextdoor neighbors lost power for an hour. They are linked to the power line on the cross street. We heard the the power company was prioritizing polling places. Our polling station is on the cross street. May or may not be why neighbor had power.

Weather. No need for heat or AC. Since it was slightly chilly, we could exercise without ending up a sweaty mess. A shower would have been lovely, but you could at least stand to be in the same room with yourself.

Internet. We had. Reading. Surfing. Crossword Puzzles. Checking power outage page. Connection to the world. Charged by driving about or by visiting places with power.

Flashlights. I am the uptight sort that has emergency supplies on hand as a matter of course. This includes a rechargeable flashlight with enough power to illuminate barn chores. Charged as above.

Food. Charcuterie. Fruit. Bread. I’m good. Splurged on horse show cookies for morale. [Cookies]

Grill for hot meals. Although it took us longer to think of this than I care to admit.

Cooler with ice to keep cold things cold. Restocked daily. Not all that different from life in a horse trailer. [Primitive Camping]

Lights. Magnetic, battery-operated units from horse trailer.

Chores. A time out of time. No electricity for laundry. No hot water for dishes. Enough to deal with that randomized guilt background noise was on mute. Sweet.

News. The news was easier to take as text on my phone than the sound, light, and motion of television, even if the content was identical. I had not realized how much the delivery method affected the impact.

Duration. Once they started predicting Monday evening for return to power, we knew we were in for it. Our location seems to fall to the bottom of any triage list.

Daytime. We had reasonable daylight the entire time. By the time DST brought on early darkness, we had power.

Overall. Really we don’t do that much. If we can fuss with the horses and go for a bike ride, we good. A rainy day messes with our plans more than a power outage, or a global pandemic for that matter. We did our thing during the day. When it got dark, we went to bed.

First thing we did when the lights came on? Stopped running about trying to get all the chores done before dark.

I don’t think the horses noticed. Overhead light? Flashlight? Whatever. Where’s my dinner?

Minuses & Weirdnesses
Lights. The big one. Being in the dark. Remembering to take a light with you when you went into another room. Reaching for the light switch. Over and over.

Appliances. Fridge. Sneaked cold soda on days one and two. Day three, onwards, left it shut. Tossed anything spoilable.

Appliances. Cooking. Since I do not understand the mysteries of producing food, I can only assume this was a problem.

Cell phone. Battery ran down faster from accessing a more distant tower. I did not know this was a thing. Makes sense. Usage rate back to normal. As a side effect, phone is now unencumbered by many passive uses of battery life.

Hot coffee. A daily quest. Since I like my caffeine cold, I’m easy, see cooler. House coffee drinker switched to iced coffee. Not perfect but better than convenience store hot coffee.

Hot water. I use hot showers to get clean, to get warm, and/or as as heat therapy. Missed me some showers.

Hot food. Hot chocolate on Saturday morning was my first hot food in two days. Blissful to ingest heat, independent of caloric requirements.

Surprise. In the lead up, all the weather folks were predicting minor tree damage, no expected problems. The suddenly they were saying, ‘Holy hurricane, Batman!’ and we had trees down everywhere. I don’t know that we would have done anything differently. Maybe replaced the batteries in one of the temporary lights, if there had been any batteries left in the state.

Duration. Would have been nice to know that we where in for the long haul. You behave differently if you expect power later in the day versus days from now.

Conversations with self. I’ll sit down to watch … no, I won’t. I’ll turn on the … no, I won’t. I’ll do … no, I won’t. Over and over.

Desktop. Shut down. Had to blog from phone. I’ve whined about covered that already. [Card]

Conversations with self, the aftermath. Walk into room. Reach for switch. Remind yourself it’s a no go. Then remind yourself that the power is back on and you can turn on a light. Wait? What? Over and over.

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

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