The storm came barreling through here a couple of nights ago. You probably read that it knocked 5 million people off the electric grid. For us this meant no air conditioning, although the AC had blown up earlier in the day, a new unit burned up by the 100+ temperatures of the past few days…we are truly having a heat wave.
Electricity Grid Schematic English (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The weather is odd, we almost never have a serious storm in our county. Storms go north and south of us because we live in an urban bubble. Lately, our rail barrels had almost run dry for lack of rain. We had plenty of tap water because mercifully, it rained upstream in the headwaters of the Potomac River which supplies our county water.
I told David to do his rain dance, which always produces rain, but I think he overdid it. No, I am not kidding, he prays to the rain god. When the thunder and lightning stuck, I recalled Mom’s tale of Donner and Blitzen, the two reindeer that pull Thor, the Norse God’s, chariot. Mom used to tell me about them when I was small and we had a bad storm. I suppose she thought it would get my mind off those Texas twisters.
OK, I am superstitious, I never gave up those gods of yore my ancestors knew. I mean heck, even the dogs respect them. They ran upstairs, jumped on the beds, crawled under the covers and buried their heads, poor little mites. One of our local reporters (a weather guy) who has lived here most of his adult life (like me), says for the first time, he took his family into the basement when the storm hit with a roar.
All day yesterday we heard the sound of saws cutting up the branches fallen from neighborhood trees. David drove all over looking for coffee and found none. He says the 7-11, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts and every other nearby location was closed. A few blocks away in north Arlington he found a grocery store open and bought ice and milk and other things we needed.
Meanwhile back at the house, I took the portable Duracel battery out of David’s shop and plugged in my reading lamp. Fortunately, he keeps it charged for the purpose of restarting his old cars.
The house was dark and warm. The parrots were quiet. They could not understand why they had no light, but being tropical birds, they liked the warmer temperatures.
As the day progressed, the house grew warmer and warmer. Sleeping has been a misery for two nights as our bedrooms are upstairs, and we will not see our air conditioner guy until tomorrow (if we are lucky).
I knew things were looking up yesterday when the New York Times downloaded on my Kindle around 3 PM. Amazon beat everyone in restoring the Whispernet ahead of the electricity grid and the telephone network. David’s junky $15 phone, purchased at the 7-11, worked before my more expensive smart phone which remains dark. This is my first attempt to use the Internet in a few days, so Verizon’s FIOS network must be operational.
The news media tell us workers from as far away as Texas have made the trek to northern Virginia to help restore our networks. Pretty scary when the nation’s capital is dark. This has never happened before, but hopefully, the Department of Homeland Defense took note.
The good news is that the city is empty as many government workers take vacations to coincide with the Congressional recess. The bad news is that the power outages reached the Eastern shore where many politicos are vacationing.
The misery we have suffered the past few days is nothing, compared to the fires out west burning acres of timber and homes by the score. Thus, I don’t feel at all sorry for us. I just wish some of this rain would go west.
I hope to get around to visit all of you in the next few days. Meantime, stay cool.