Wednesday, 23 January 2013

It's Too Dark!

"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -- Terry Pratchett

My husband and I were awakened at just before 5 AM by yells from our 6-year-old's room: "It's too dark in here! I can't find Willow! (her so-named Hello Kitty plushie) My night-light is off!"  With a few grumbles we both hauled ourselves out of a comfortable bed to discover that we had no electricity - hence the absence of light.  A quick look out the window showed dark houses in at least a three-block radius.  The room was still warm, which meant we hadn't been without power for long.  But with a frigid temperature of -30C outside and the fact that our building is of 1950s stock with little insulation in the walls, we would not stay warm without power to the furnace.

With Missy awake, going back to bed wasn't an option.  So flashlights, candles, and emergency supplies were organized.  Hubby departed for work much earlier than normal, anticipating transit slowdowns.  Missy and I bundled up to await the outcome.  The pre-dawn neighbourhood was quite eerie, backlit by the ever-present glow from the city.

Not surprisingly, school was cancelled for the day since the building was located in the blackout area.  By 8:20 AM the temperature in the house had dropped to 15C and we were preparing to depart for the mall (which was unaffected).  But to our surprise and relief, the power was restored.  So we've been relaxing together, coloring pictures and watching videos, and hoping the power will remain stable (we've had a brownout or two but haven't lost it completely).

Blackouts of this nature are, unfortunately, expected when temperatures plummet and everyone needs heat for their homes.  More than 3/4 of homes in Quebec are heated by electricity.  Ours is heated by a natural-gas furnace but it still needs power to start.  Whenever we move, one of my criteria for a home is to have a propane/pellet/wood-fired stove as a backup in case of events like this.  I can handle no electricity, but I like to be WARM.

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