“Unprecedented” was the term used by one of the few radio stations that were actually operational in San Diego yesterday afternoon to describe a power outage here that affected over 4 million people in the Southwest, mainly the San Diego region and into parts of Orange County, Riverside County, Arizona, and Mexico.
By 3:30 PM I was roasting in my booth. But I just finished recording AND SAVING the first chapter of an audiobook I’m working on.
I decided to do a quick audition for a friend, and all of a sudden the booth went black. I stepped outside, and saw my laptop was still on…battery now. Then I looked at the DSL router, and the LED’s on all the little devices in the studio office were out, including my external hard drive where all recordings are saved.
I looked at the house thermostat. It was 80 inside, and 96 outside.. I decided it was some temporary power issue due to the heat, perhaps a rolling blackout, and local problem, figuring things would be normal after I take care of some errands. I shut down my computer, and turned off the A/C unit to avoid a power surge, jumped into my car and the garage door wouldn’t open. Oh yea. I had to bypass the system and manually open the door.
By the time I reached the bank, they were just locking their doors early and turning away customers. The bank lady said this was a large outage and all of San Diego was out. One guy was really upset as he came to the bank to get cash for gas, or he couldn’t get home.
It took a long time for me to get home. All the light signals were out. Businesses and gas stations closed. People were leaving work and trying to get home. “Patience” I told myself. When I returned home I found a local radio station on my transistor radio with steady news about what was going on.
Back at home. No internet, my cell phone didn’t work, but the land line did. I drew some water, just in case. Then took a shower. By that time the family was home and we listened to the radio on the deck watching the sun go down. We collectively decided that any access to the refrigerator and or freezer would be done very judiciously. The reports were not indicating how long power would be out. Possibly into Friday or Saturday. We ate a cool dinner salad with some chicken breasts that were grilled on Labor Day, and my husband roasted some fresh corn in their husks on the gas grill. It was beginning to feel like camping.
I began to think…Man if we have no power, I’m non-operational. After all the disasters experienced in so many parts of our country and beyond in the last year; earthquakes, tornadoes, drought, heat waves, cold snaps, hurricanes, and snow storms, it really made me think about how the challenges make you more nimble, resourceful, and bring out strength and determination to get through the best you can.
I kept thinking about how thankful I was nightfall was coming. I knew it would cool off so we could sleep. Then I started worrying about how long the we had until the food in the refrigerator started to turn, and whether or not all those fresh groceries I shopped for the day before would have to be thrown away.
We pulled out flashlights and candles. My husband found the NFL football game on the radio in his car. We hung out there in his car for a while, cheering on our Packers while basking in the moonlight on a windless, starry night.
After the game, we decided it would be fun to play a board game of “Clue”. I think we all went to bed by 10, hoping for the best. We were awakened when power came back on about 2:30AM. I was glad and comforted, and fell back asleep.
Today I have a new found appreciation for energy and our dependence on it. I am also thinking more about emergency preparedness, and a cloud-based system backup for my voiceover business. While we did OK during almost 12 hours without power, I’ve recommitted to an action plan. What an adventure!
Bring up the lights. I’m going to be ready for anything.