Monday, October 31, 2011

Power Outage Fun Time.

So the power went out for two days. This event, while not unusual for this time of year, served to highlight that fact that we were totally unprepared for winter to a ridicules level. The power went out at about 5am Saturday morning, meaning that it got every very cold inside, rather quickly. Upon waking up I also realized that there was 7 inches of snow outside, and it was still snowing. 

Now the day before, we had just learned that the storm was due to show up on Saturday night, instead of Monday like they had been thinking. So we basically constructed an entire furnace shed in one afternoon, having spent all morning feverishly buying materials at the Lowes. It was very cold outside, as the temp was dropping during the day, and once we got the framing up, it started to snow. Picture the two of us, outside, frantically cutting sheathing in the pouring snow, cursing at each other and dropping screws on the ground because ours hands were too cold to hold them anymore. We hadn't eaten anything since early morning, and it was 5pm. 

We quickly realized that we were not going to get the roof on with out help, and had to make an emergency call to my Uncle Dale, who is the go to person now, since my dad is dead. He told us he could come out, but that it would be after dark, since he had a few things to do himself before the snow got too bad. Long story short, he showed up, and I told him we had made some bad decisions, but that it was okay because he was here now. He laughed. I also told him that just like every other kid in his life, I only called him when I needed something. Well in the dark and the cold and the snow the three of us (did I mention my husband still has a broken rib?) Wrestled the roof in place and tacked it down. We covered the roof in plastic sheeting as a temp cover* A congratulatory home brewed beer was had, and my uncle departed, and we ate crappy oven baked pizza and went to bed, tired but happy. That shed was up god damned it. 

At around five am, I woke up to a pitch black mobile home, and the sound of my battery back up for my PC beeping incessantly. Usually when this happens the power will kick back on in a few minutes. I lay there listening to the beeping, waiting, and waiting. Nothing happened. 

We got up sometime the next morning, brewed some tea, and began to talk about ways to heat the trailer. I soon discovered that my Dad's back up generator was a 300 pound behemoth that neither of us could move out of shed or, indeed anywhere near the trailer and also hadn't been serviced in about two years. That's okay, we said, We'll just go over to the newer trailer (my Dad's trailer when he was alive, where the newly built furnace shed is residing) and use the back up propane heater. We came to conclusion, after about a good twenty minutes of fighting the controls, that A: we had no idea how this thing worked, and that B: it was out of fuel. Two Propane tanks sit out back and feed it, and they were both empty. 

Okay then. Our only option now, was to buy a generator to run the blowers on the wood stove.** This involved going to town, which meant that we first needed to shovel the driveway. Which we did. The snow was heavy and wet and my back and arm still hurt from heaving shovel full after shovel full over the bank. Finally we make it to town, and purchased a 200$ motherfucking generator. We bring it back, only to discover that we don't have any gas for it. Scott goes into town AGAIN while I built a platform for said generator from an old pallet and a few boards. He gets back, and we fire it up. 

We manage to fight the temperature inside back up to a balmy 60 degrees. However this involves getting up in the middle of the night at 3am to refill the wood stove and the generator. This meant that I spent the better part of an hour laying awake in bed, listing to the generator, terrified that it would die prematurely and the heat from the stove would melt the extension cord, which could totally really happen. I'm not kidding. 

Needless to say I didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. 

The next day was grim repetition of the first, keeping the generator going, and trying to get whatever chores we could get done accomplished. Finally the power came back on at exactly 4pm. YES! I could take a SHOWER. I had Internet! I could microwave shit! I could wash my clothes! 

Except now the fuel oil furnace isn't working, and we have to go to town AGAIN to blow money on a new magic gray box that will hopefully make it work. 

This, right here people, is life in country. This negates any idea I had every had about going out this Halloween either. Then my friend sent me a text Saturday night, unaware of my struggles to survive, about how she didn't feel like going to any parties that night, and I wanted to strangle her. I guess it was just cosmic payback for the time I called her because my pet rat was dead and she told me her sister had just died. 

I'm still sorry about that one, Heather. 

* Note: if you think you would like to live in the country and buy a place to build a house on and homestead, the second thing you should do is go out and buy a roll of thick plastic from the store. It is not a tarp, it will not last all winter, but by god when you need temporary cover for something RIGHT NOW this stuff in in-fucking-valuable.

** Now to explain, our furnace shed is located behind our mobile home, contains our wood stove and is fully functional. My Dad's trailer needed a furnace shed to house his wood stove, as the original shed he had built needed to be torn down. That is what we were building on Friday so we can move into his place, since his is the newer mobile home.

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