Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Power Restored!

The day after my last handwritten entry was Thursday, Jan. 10th. We woke up to find that the power was still out.

We turned on the radio and heard the following news: that there were still little pockets of settlements in Nevada County without power, especially in the Sierras where it was difficult for PG&E crews to repair the lines. Yep, that's us.

For the first time all week, our actual TOWN was mentioned by name as one of the last spots to get power restored -- projected for Saturday.

SATURDAY??? A total of eight days without power, except for that brief respite on Day #2.

James and I had hoped that the electricity would be back on by Friday at the latest; we could have held out at our place In The Woods until then -- but just barely.

The trailer batteries were nearly dead by Thursday morning, which we could tell by the very dim interior lights. This meant that we soon wouldn't be able to pump water out of the tanks.

Wood and heating was not a problem, at least, after James had figured out how to split the logs "the old-fashioned way". But the water situation was critical, and we couldn't imagine being without it for two more days.

Besides, we hadn't showered in nearly a week, and our food supply was running short.

On Wednesday, I chatted with my sister-in-law in Sacramento and mentioned the possibility of needing to come down and stay with the family if the power wasn't on soon. So she wasn't surprised when I called the next day to say we were about to pay them a visit.

We just didn't think we could make it until Saturday afternoon. Rats!

James said he felt like we were "giving up" and I knew exactly what he meant. For five days we had hung in there and dealt successfully with the power outage, and expected to make it until it was back on. All week, the local news reports had led us to believe this, but the repairs were slower than anticipated. We weren't surprised; that's just the way it goes sometimes.

We were definitely in an altered state-of-mind as we threw a few things together (including a big bag of dirty laundry!) and loaded them into the snow-bound car parked in front of the barn.

James put the cable chains on the front wheels and I swept off at least a foot of snow off the car.

Oh boy, we were going to have us some FUN getting out of the driveway and up the snowy little road, around a serious curve, followed by a section with a huge rut which was difficult in the best of conditions, then onto a slightly larger dirt road leading down to town! But once we gained this road, we would be home-free.

With cat Rupert sitting rather calmly in my lap, we set out.

I'm proud of James' driving. He first learned how to negotiate the backwoods trails of central Florida in a jeep when he was only eight years old! So he handled our bumpy, rutted, snowy and now muddy little roads (more like trails) with expert aplomb.

We were amazed at the amount of snow along the main road on the way to Nevada City. Then suddenly it vanished just above town, at about 3000 feet elevation.

This is interesting, because our place is at approximately 2700 feet. But since we're in our own little "micro-climate" nestled in a canyon by the river, we got quite a bit of snow.

We made a brief stop at In&Out Burger in Auburn and then we arrived at my childhood home in Sacramento, now occupied by my brother and his family, by late Thursday afternoon.

Not only did it feel STRANGE to be in civilization again -- after being totally immersed in our rustic woods lifestyle -- it was a shock to see bright lights and hear the hum of electric appliances and the blaring of the television.

The two grizzled, smelly mountain men coming down the hill to the Big City!

When James toted the huge sack of dirty laundry into the service porch, my brother remarked, "Who's the dead body?"

James and I usually stay in the bungalow (called "Yonder House") which my parents had occupied during their last years behind the main house in which I grew up.

This place is so airtight that when the doors or windows are opened and closed, there's a "vapor-lock" sucking sound. It's like the USS Enterprise on Star Trek.

Talk about being diametrically opposed to our usual living space in the leaky, not-quite-completely insulated Music Room out In The Woods! There, we can see cracks of daylight through small gaps in the boards at one end of the room near the ceiling, with tendrils of insulation hanging down.

Our floor is concrete, while Yonder House has mostly wall-to-wall carpeting.

A large television is in an imposing console on one wall of the livingroom. We haven't owned a TV since 2002, although we fall into its dubious charms whenever we have access to one.

There are two bathrooms with shower stalls. One of the first things we did after bringing in our stuff and greeting the family was to take warm showers. Ahhhh!

Then I felt a bit more normal; the shock of being back in civilization was starting to fade a bit.

This was helped along by a much-deserved cocktail. Or two.

James and I always seem to find ourselves regaling the family with our stories of living In The Woods. Hopefully they are not bored; they don't appear to be whenever we sit down at the round kitchen table to describe our lives up here.

We sure had a lot to tell them this time.

We've finally gotten them to understand that winter is NOT the time to come visit us. They haven't seen our little "slice of heaven" yet. James jokes that when they finally do experience it, they'll say that we're even more crazy than they already think we are!

James and I enjoyed several pleasant days with the family. We were very lucky to see my niece and her friend on college break, who just happened to be staying at the house for a few days before flying off to Boston.

We attended my nephew's district honor band concert on Saturday afternoon (he plays string bass), which was quite enjoyable. The kids played impressively; the guest conductor got a lot out of them. It was an amazing performance.

On Friday and Saturday we ran errands and pumped money into the local Sacramento economy; new tires for the car; new (real!) chains which are much easier to deal with than cables; a stylish and functional Hoover vacuum which matches our decor (very important!) and a wonderfully quiet GENERATOR for those future power outage moments!

We would have been fine up In The Woods if we'd had a generator.

We came back up the hill on Sunday afternoon, after stopping at the grocery store in Nevada City to stock up.

The power was ON at home - thank god!

We learned a great deal over this challenging week, and will be much better-prepared the next time the electricity goes out.

OH! Here's the video I promised you. I took it on Wednesday, Jan. 9th which was Day #5 of the power outage. It's funny that I didn't mention it even once; I just focused on enjoying the beautiful snowy scenes all around us.

It really was gorgeous.


  1. Anonymous6:18 AM

    Incredible....glad you got the generator and a little life of luxury for a bit.

    Take care and stay warm

  2. Anonymous10:32 AM

    I got the Tom Cruise vid fixed….just a FYI.....also are you switching to wordpress????

  3. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Bartender: Thanks for letting me know the vid is fixed.

    My blogging history is a bit confusing. I started with Blogger in '05, then switched to WordPress in '06. The latter has more posts and visitors.

    I revived the blog on Blogger recently to take advantage of the javascript features in the side-bar, as well as broaden my audience.

    But really, I think I'm going to start posting just to WordPress from now on. Duplicate postings on two different blogs is twice the work!

    So please do change your link for my blog to: