It happened shortly after 6AM Friday morning after a long day and night of sleet and freezing rain.
The power went off.
In less than a second we were removed from the 21st Century and placed in the 19th. Or at least it seemed that way.
We still had a couple of portable radios and our cell phones (which remained in service, thank goodness).
Listening to one of the radios we discovered BeezleBub didn't have to trouble himself with getting ready for school. Like many towns in New Hampshire, schools were closed for the day due to the heavy ice coating the roads, loss of electrical power, or both. However, that did not absolve me from heading in to work. At least with BeezleBub not having school, I was able to put off my departure for another couple of hours. At one point I called work to see if the voice mail system was still operational, which would let me know if there was power there. My first check at 7AM proved the system was still up, and hence, our engineering lab still had electricity. At the urging of Deb, I called again a little before 8AM and the phone just rang and rang and rang. No voice mail. No power. No work.
A quick call to one of my co-workers, she who is the keeper of the phone list, confirmed our place of employment was closed for the day for two reasons – the treacherous roads/ice laden trees, and no electricity. I didn't need to be told twice.
Because we had no power, we also had no phone, being one of those households receiving phone service via our cable company. That's where the cell phones came in handy.
A call to the WP Parents later in the day elicited no response other than connection to voice mail. It took me a moment to remember all they had at their home were wireless phones, so no power meant no phones. (It also meant no heat, something people in their 70's shouldn't have to endure.) I finally reached them by calling their cell phone and, after confirming they had no power, invited them to join us here at The Manse since we had heat, hot water, and company.
BeezleBub did his grill master wizardry for dinner, doing a pork roast on the grill, cooking it to perfection.
Unlike so many others here in New Hampshire, our power came back on just a few minutes before 10PM Friday night. However, there were still over 350,000 households and businesses without power as of Saturday morning, and many of those will not have it restored any time soon. As New Hampshire Governor John Lynch stated, this ice storm affected almost 10 times as many residents as the last big ice storm in 1998, and it took work crews 7 days to restore power to everyone back then. Utilities crews are coming in from as far away as Michigan and Ohio as well as Canada in an effort to get power restored.
The long term power outages will certainly have a negative effect on retail sales for Christmas, with many shops and business unable to operate until power is restored. That can make for an even bleaker economic picture than had originally been predicted.
NOTE: This post was long delayed due to the lack of a connection to the 'net. My service provider, the local cable company, had quite a bit of damage to their outside plant equipment and service was restored to The Manse but moments ago.