Power out

Power out

Someone apparently stole a car and crashed into a power pole near our house last night. So we have been without power for about 10 hours. That obviously means that I won’t be doing as much online I normally do. Hopefully I will be back up soon and have normal operations.

Update: it wasn’t a car, it was a truck:


Here’s the story, and it will relate to this blog in some ways. 🙂

I was in the garage, taking clothes out of the dryer and folding them when I heard a bang and the electricity went out. My Significant Other in the other room heard it, too.

We both thought it was a transformer blowing at first.

This was around 7:00 last night.

My SO does insurance claims for a living (working for a broker…my SO often helps claimants get the money by finding coverage. It’s a “hero” job), and asked me to go outside to see if it was on fire. It was still light at this point.

When I stepped out there, I could see other neighbors coming out on the street…for blocks around.

A neighbor had some sort of police scanner, and said two people had stolen a truck and crashed it into a power pole (and knew the street).

My SO went up there to see if they could help the homeowners with any claim which might happen.

I heard later that there were police, fire, and PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) up there already…in fewer than ten minutes, I’d say. The people in the truck had run away, reportedly.

Okay, here’s how this story might help you: what were we going to do without electricity?

It means for us:

  • no lights, power to the refrigerator/freezer, stove, air conditioning (fortunately, it was a relatively cool night…it’s been quite hot lately)
  • no internet
  • no phones. We don’t have a landline, and we only get phone reception through a mini-cell tower AT&T gave us because the service is bad. We can go outside a half block or so and get reception

The bad thing is that a relative got me a back-up power supply (a UPS…uninterruptible power supply) so we wouldn’t lose phones…and I just had never set it up.

The good things…

I have a small Doc Savage worthy tiny hand-crank flashlight next to the bed. You would need Doc Savage’s muscles to use it for much, since you have to crank it a lot to get bright light for long. 😉 I was a conga drummer, though, so I can crank it for a while.

Using that, I retrieved a booklight from the library (we have it there for guests)…and got a charged power bank and cord from my laptop case. I keep it charged enough for emergencies: that means we could have used it for our phones the next day and then some. I strongly recommend having one in what we Californians call a “go bag” (for earthquakes and such).

I normally would have been using my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX, but I switched to reading my

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

only had about two-thirds of a charge, it could last weeks. My Fire would last a lot less.

It was interesting: we did get decent illumination from our Kindles for other uses. 🙂

So, the Paperwhite (or Voyage or Oasis) is great in a power outage. 🙂 If you don’t have a power bank, I’d recommend one.

By the way, we could also have charged things in the car,  if necessary. We could also have gone to our offices to charge things.

One other unrelated thing: I’m finally giving up on our Tivo. I think we’ve had it for ten years, and it’s been great. It’s been acting up for some time, not always switching to the right channel in an unpredictable manner.

For the past week, it hasn’t been recognizing that it has a network connector, although it does. That means it was running out of the ability to get program information.

Today, it basically said, “I was about to blow up, so I shut down instead.” 😉 Not exactly…but it did say it was overheating.

I’m going to give up on it altogether.

I recabled things a bit, but I’ve got more to go to restore control to everything. The TV ran through the Tivo first, so our

Logitech Harmony Home Control – 8 Devices (White) (at AmazonSmile*))

isn’t set up properly to control our TV…until I fix that, we’ll use the Harmony for controlling our

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

and the cable box TV for non-Fire TV content.

I was surprised that my SO thought just having the Fire TV would be fine. My SO isn’t super techie, so I thought “regular TV” would be more appealing.

We could cut the cable altogether…but it’s pretty much included with our internet, so  we’ll keep it.

The power came back on after at least ten hours (we were at the dog park when it happened).

One other nice thing: our Ikea refrigerator/freezer apparently has a good seal…we had just shopped for groceries that day, so it was great that everything appears to have stayed frozen for that whole period! We don’t have meat (we are vegetarians) and very little dairy, so we didn’t have to throw much out. We were careful not to open the freezer: keeping the refrigerator/freezer closed during a power outage is important!

An interesting adventure…

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


2 Responses to “Power out”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Glad you got the power back so quickly. The longest I have been without electricity was 4 ½ days. Even though the nearest ocean is over 600 miles away, the remnants of a hurricane blew through my state a few years back and knocked out power to about 80% of the state. I was lucky. One of my friends was without power for 2 weeks. Unfortunately, the weather guys were predicting heavy rains, so I was cleaning out gutters to prepare. Since I wasn’t expecting 80 MPH winds to last for half the day, I didn’t do the things one should do like make sure my gas tank was full and that I had plenty of batteries and food that did not require refrigeration and did not need to be cooked.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!


      We know we are fortunate to be in our area. Yes, earthquakes are a risk here, but ones that do a lot of damage are quite rare…much rarer than hurricanes and blizzards (although it sounds like yours was a fluke to be that far inland). We are not in a prime earthquake zone, but we do feel them here, and I’ve been in big ones. Yes, we have drought and we have flooding and rains that can last for weeks, but we aren’t likely to be without power for a whole day.

      One big recommendation I always have for people’s go bags: a listing of your allergies, your chronic conditions, and your current medications. Many doctors can give you that on demand, and you can even download it from at least Kaiser.

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