Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday morning we were into hour 12 of being without electricity. The previous night, the power flicked 3 times and then went off around 9pm, right in the middle of cookie baking. At least I had just finished baking one batch and hadn't started another.
We did the usual scramble for flashlights and candles and then decided we might as well turn in for the night.
I did pick up our corded phone to call in to WE Energies. Oops, we have VOIP, no phone! Got out the cell phone and made the call, only to hear a long explanation how 16,000 homes were out of power and they would be repairing as quickly as safely possible. I did not listen to the entire message because it seemed to just drone on about the crisis and didn't have an option to report an outage.
We slept OK because we keep our bedroom rather chilly anyway. The next morning I had to attend to the number one concern: COFFEE. Fortunately I had some ground already so I made a makeshift cup atop of our propane single burner rig. Ahhh, now I felt ready to face the day.
Called WE Energies again. This time I got a new message of 25,000 people out of power...they were calling in private contractors to help restore power... etc. etc. Again, I did not wait until the end, because cell phone battery life was a concern.
Second item of business was to make friends with the snow-blower. I got out my detailed instructions and prayed it would start easily for me on a slow pull start. It did! (It has electric start, but that was not an option.)
Called WE Energies after doing most of the driveway. This time they were down to 9,000 people out of power and estimates were restoration by noon for Milwaukee County and, gasp, midnight for Waukesha. Argh.
While I was searching for something to eat without opening the refrigerator, I noticed the dog was shivering in the house. Put his sweater on. Had an interesting lunch of walnuts, rye bread, and an apple.
Went back outside for shovel clean-up and hauled some wood in for a fire. The temperature was supposed to drop later; I figured I better be prepared.
Finished the snow clean up and came in. I happily found some ground decaf coffee for a second cup! Got the fire going and threw in 2 foil wrapped potatoes for supper.
After that, I called my sister, who volunteered to try to call WE Energies again for me. She actually listened to the entire message, this one included information about Kenosha County, and found there was an opportunity to report an outage at the very end of the message. She reported ours and then called me back to report they were now saying power might no be restored until noon Thursday!
Oh-oh, I better get more wood in, I thought, if we had another day to go without heat.
My other half came home around 6pm. He called WE Energies and on the first ring, got a live body!!! After relaying the events of our outage, which indicated a re-closer trip (like circuit breaker on the transformer) was the likely culprit. He told the worker that it probably only needed resetting. (Our neighborhood has had trouble with it before.)
Ate a dinner of canned beef stew and our fireplace baked potatoes amid a table full of lit candles. Not bad. (I am still in my coat, boots, and headband from shoveling. It was bulky but warm.)
Somewhere around 7:30pm, the lights came back on! Yippee!!! The furnace and refrigerator kicked in; we were back to business as usual. I promptly turned the oven on; the cookie marathon must go on!
There is nothing like a power outage to make one appreciate the conveniences we all take for granted. We live with more conveniences than Henry the 8th ever had!
I often think of Laura Ingalls in her book, The Long Winter (inspired by her life), when I start feeling sorry for myself when dealing with the cold and snow. In her book, Laura and her sister Mary had to twist up sticks of hay non-stop to keep the fire going, because they ran out of firewood. Food was also very short. They nearly died during that winter.
I also think of Abraham Lincoln, who read by firelight. You really have to want to read to do that. I couldn't manage it even with a table full of candles.
How about the wonders of hot, running water? A hot shower is a blessing I have appreciated ever since the specter of Y2K threatened that basic part of every day life in America.
Our 22 hours without power reminded me that I could be better prepared to deal with power outages. Keeping food that is ready to eat, or with minimal cooking, water, candles, lamp oil, fire wood or duraflame logs, and propane lanterns (they throw a fair amount of heat), stoves and heaters are things we all should have on hand.
We managed pretty well for our 22 hour ordeal, if you don't count all the times I flicked on the light switches to no avail. Can't say I want to repeat it though!