Saturday, December 31, 2005

No Power

We woke up Saturday morning with no electrical power. That was not surprising after a very windy, rainy night. But what could we do until the power was restored?. I considered cleaning house with a dust cloth, broom and Swiffer mop, but it wasn't hard to resist the impulse. I'm too fond of my Roomba robot vac.

There was mail to process and there were checks to write. That was OK, and I even had enough power left on the laptop to enter the transactions into Quicken. I could cook, or at least heat water on the gas cook stove. It's an old model that doesn't have an electronic pilot light. But the gas furnace and the gas water heater depend on electric controls, so they were useless.

The analog clocks we still have are powered by batteries, so they were still accurate. Actually it would have been nice to have one, analog, plug in clock to we could tell when the power went off. Two simple phones, with cords, but without answering devices, still worked, so I spent an hour talking with my sister. I had been using the power cord on the radio, but this was the time to replace the long-dead batteries.

There was enough daylight to read by if we sat near the window, and I could have done some of the the hand-sewing I often wish I had time to do. But I was too unsettled. Couldn't catch up with ironing, but I cleaned out two drawers.

My husband finally decided he would go to the office to see if he could use his computer there. But the garage door opener would not operate, and with my weak back and his recent surgery, we didn't want to try to raise the very heavy door by hand.

At last, in mid-afternoon, the power came back on. Both of us headed immediately for our computers, and the day, which had seemed empty and lacking in things to do, now seemed over-full and demanding.

The latest issue of Wired magazine has an article about high-tech houses where heating and cooling, ventilation, air purification, security, lighting, communication and entertainment are all electronically controlled. There are even toilets with power flush.

No thanks! Too many of the devices that keep us comfortable and safe are dependent on electricity. If I were building a new house today, I'd want to be able to at least heat the house, open and close windows and doors, lock the house, cook, draw water, and flush the toilet, even when the power failed. Let's stay in control of the basic necessities!


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