Friends and Neighbors

Big news in Western Washington during December was the massive windstorm that wiped out power for hundreds of thousands of residents. Fallen trees accounted for many of the outages. In the early morning hours of 15 December 2006, a tree from the house to our West completely uprooted and fell on our power, cable and telephone lines, barely missing direct impact with our car. As this was an isolated incident, not a blown transformer, it received low priority causing power to remain off until sometime on 20 December 2006. Initially, the car couldn’t be moved because it was surrounded by fallen power lines, further complicating the situation.
I was lucky enough to miss out on this power outage while working on a project in Mountain View, CA. My family was not so lucky, enduring several days of relying on a decorative fireplace as the primary source of heat. Hotels weren’t an option – the only one vacancy I could find online turned out to be a hotel that went out of business. Fortunately we have some great friends and neighbors who came to the rescue.
Shortly after the outage, my good friend Bre checked in on Robin to make sure she and Wyatt were okay. The neighbors to our East were kind enough to run a heavy duty extension cord from their house to ours, allowing Robin to use a space heater in addition to the largely useless fireplace. The neighbors also kindly accommodated with access to a warm shower. These were both welcomed gestures making things more manageable in an otherwise difficult time.
In checking in on a few of my Seattle friends, it seems that power was a hit or miss commodity around the city. Chris and Ponzi were both initially without power in Issaquah, but were lucky enough to have a gas stove and fireplaces that remained functional throughout. After they got their power back in Issaquah, Chris and Ponzi welcomed Robin and Wyatt into their home, providing the first warm night’s sleep in several days.
Now that power is restored, I’m looking at ways to have a better backup plan for the house, including a generator to power heat for the home when the utilities fail. Hopefully we won’t have another massive outage like this one anytime soon, but I’d rather be better prepared next time. Batteries of various kinds are great for short term solutions, but just aren’t up to the task. In the meantime, it’s great to have friends we can count on in a crisis.