Marigold: Scared of the storms

The power just came back on so I can finally detail the events of the weekend.  Friday night we had a line of incredibly intense storms come through.  Marigold disappeared but we didn’t notice it.  I was playing a video game, Mike’s father and girlfriend had just arrived and were staying with us to go to a wedding down in the district.  The storm was raging outside at about 10:30pm and I went looking for Marigold.  I found Mike standing on the back porch as every manner of loose stuff from the yard was spinning around the house.  I fussed at him and told him to come inside and he said that he had never seen a storm like this one.

I largely disregarded that comment but did say that the storm from about 4 weeks ago in which our house was in the eye of a small tornado was a bit more intense.  But he wasn’t here for that storm so he had no idea how powerful that was.

But tonight, it was late and dark so you couldn’t see the nature of the storm from the ground.  I returned to playing a game on my computer and at about 11pm the lights browned out and came back on.  Then about 2 minutes later they did the same.  This repeated 3 times and I knew that power would go out.  3 brown outs throws all 3 of the fuses on the power distribution station which then results in loss of power till someone can go to the station to reset the fuses.

Indeed… in a couple of minutes, the power went out completely.  I shut down my computer and started looking around for the hurricane lamps.  I then started searching for the dogs.  After looking everywhere in the house, Mike found Marigold… in the bathtub upstairs behind the shower curtain.  When Mike approached her, she started panting and breathing heavy.  But if we left her alone, she just relaxed.

The actual storm only lasted about 30 minutes and was gone.  But the power was gone with it. In the area that we live, power is rarely out for very long.  Too many important people live in Middleburg for our power to stay out long.  But, this one was different.  Power for Middleburg didn’t come on Friday, and then Saturday either.  Something big failed.  But we are in a modern society in which phone service still works when the power is out.

We all went to bed figuring that the power would come on in the morning.  But at 6am Saturday morning there was no power.  Marigold had come down and was fast asleep on the bed beside my bed.  Everything seemed normal except for the lack of power.  So, I got up and hooked the generator up to the essentials…. which is just the refrigerator.

The refrigerator has a digital readout for the upper compartment and the freezer part.  The temp was sitting at 58 for the upper area and 28 for the freezer.  I set the freezer to go to -14 (the lowest it would go) and the frigerator to 38.  The temperature reached the desired goal in less than an hour and I turned off the generator to conserve fuel.  We may have plenty of fuel, but if the power has been out for 8 hours, it is likely to be a while before it comes on.

The house was closed up but had no AC running and the temp slowly rose up to about 80 degrees F.  When the sun went down, I lit the lamps.  Mike’s father and girlfriend left the house around 4pm to go to the reception and so Mike and I sat around the house doing nothing.  At about 11pm Mike’s father called and said they were heading home.  They got home just after midnight and reported that lights were mostly out all the way between us and DC.

Just as they were arriving, another set of storms started coming through.  Marigold once again disappeared but this time we knew where she would be.  We all went to bed but I couldn’t sleep with the house being so warm.  So, I went to the basement and Marigold slept in the basement on the bed with me.  We spent the day Sunday cycling the generator on for an hour, then off for 2 hours.  Reports on the phone messages indicated that it might be a week before power was restored.

But now the house was really getting humid and hot.  Papers were beginning to wrinkle and curl up.  Mike went to the near creed and filled buckets of water so that we could flush toilets without running the well on the generator.  We have 100 gallons of water in reserve so we were comfortable about having fresh water but we still needed to conserve as much as we could.

But the dogs had enough of the heat.  And so did Mike’s father.  So, his father packed up and left at about 10am and then the dogs disappeared.  it didn’t take long to find them.  They were all in the basement laying on the concrete panting and cooling themselves off.  I spent as much time as I could in the basement and just didn’t do much of anything.  I took Kira out to the garden and repaired the tomato cages that were blown over.  I had 2 upgrades that had to be done that night and my phone had sufficient coverage for me to be able to remote into the systems to do the upgrade.  At about 2pm Mike got a text from friends that are near that have a pool and so he left to go swim in their pool while I did my upgrades.

When my upgrades were done, I decided that I could put the house network on the emergency power circuits so I took the flashlight and rewired the basement to put the essentials on the emergency power.  I got everything turned on but the telco circuit was down.  So, it didn’t matter that I had power when Verizon didn’t.

Mike came home at about 8pm when it started getting dark and brought fresh water.  The people with the pool had power again so he got city water in jugs and brought it to the house.

I went to bed at about 10pm in the basement and I was pleasantly surprised to be awakened at just after 1am to the sound of alarms and the lights coming on.  The dogs were all in the basement with me and all were accounted for.


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