Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Heart of Darkness: Day 8 Without Power in Paducah

Greetings from Thunderdome. The bad news? Yah. Still no power at my house. My little street (a suburban dead end) has been passed over by the miracle of light. Tucked between the bright lights of the mall and "The Pines" one of the largest subdivisions in Paducah, now also re-lit for a full three days, it's hard not to feel discouraged by the relief evident all around us.

Still, there have been bright spots. While the first night with the Huskey (generator) we contented ourselves with a few lights and space heaters, last night we branched out. There was much rejoicing when my Mom's television sprang to life as did mine shortly thereafter. Now both on satellite service, we were, for once, less effected than those around us, many of whom have Comcast cable that is still not back in service. For all my talk of not needing the TV, the image you see above assuring me that, indeed, the TV was in the process of reacquiring a signal, was nearly on an emotional par with "It's a boy" and "It's benign", I'm a little embarrassed to report.

One of the first shows to be broadcast on the newly re-working TV was ABC Nightly news, where Peter Jennings introduced a report on the situation right here in Paducah. Of course, anyone watching the report anywhere else in the country would have had to assume Paducah is a city of trailer parks, since those were the only residences ABC felt it necessary to show. Please note, America (because I'm sure you're all reading), there are many MANY folks in Paducah, and even in all of Kentucky, who DO NOT live in trailers, I promise.

After settling down from the excitement of TV, I broke out my new griddle. Though it sucked a massive 1,400 watts of power from the Husky, I still managed to fry my own self a hamburger, plus three more. Also, there has been blow drying of hair and lit make-up mirrors, also cause for celebration.

I am beginning to get used to falling asleep to the lawn mower like hum of the Husky and the other generators around us. It's taken me a week to retrieve the memory from childhood associated with this sound. It finally hit me yesterday: The Fair. That's the place in my past where this sound normally lives.

The Husky will run nearly twelve hours at a time. For the last two mornings it has stopped at right around 6:00 a.m. The sudden silence wakes me with a start, and I immediately become conscious to the sudden cold and darkness and, at first, a little panicky. At these times, Tallulah's small body feels almost glowing with warmth--she has taken to stretching out on me--and she snuggles nearer to me to share more vital body heat. I can no longer share the bed with Isabelle as I've taken to bedding down on the couch and there is not adequate room to accommodate her. I conserve and concentrate heat by only heating one large area (the main living space). I stay on the couch in the dawn light as long as I can stand it before steeling my resolve and throwing off the covers, donning my warmest coat (a long wool dress coat) and setting about refueling the Husky in the chill of the January morning. Few sounds are more relieving than the sound of the generator restarting for another long run of heat, light, and television. It should be noted, however, that one cannot check the oil in a generator while said generator is running. Yah.

Today during an eight minute wait for chicken strips at Kentucky Fried Chicken, some guy from Ledbetter in line ahead of me tried to lure me to his bed with the promise of the newly restored electricity flowing back at his place [cue "Deliverance" bango solo]. Color me particular, but somehow, the whole prospect just wasn't too tempting.

We are bracing for temperatures back in the teens tonight, the coldest it has been since the frigid days following the ice storm. Winds up to twenty miles an hour are also predicted. Thanks to the Husky, and Mom's Kerosene heater, we should be able to ride it out in relative comfort until the predicted weekend warm-up. Still, we long for electricity.


Rhonda said...

Top off Husky's tank before you turn in for the night. You can stop him, give him a bedtime snack, crank him back up and sleep until a reasonable hour. A little something we figured out Storm '09 Day 3.

Suzanne said...

Once, I tried giving Husky a little snack (while running). I don't think I sloshed in as much as I thought though. Thanks for passing on your hard knocks wisdom.