Monday, February 7, 2011

The Great Blackout of 2011

You may have been wondering where I have been this past week.

Well, it's like this.

Arizona got hit with a terrific cold spell.

I mean really cold.

Take a look at the fountain in the courtyard.

Now before all you Northeners start saying that you feel no pity for us because you had all that snow, listen up.

There was a huge power surge from everyone cranking up their furnaces trying to stay warm and then...


Transformers were blowing left and right. It started OUTSIDE of our park, but once the problem hit this park's antiquated electric lines, it was a nightmare.

We were without electricity for over 48 hours. We have no generator. Our battery was so low that it couldn't start our propane furnace. Thus, no heat.

We woke up the other morning to 40 degrees in our trailer!

On Wednesday morning when we first lost the electricity, Jim thought WE blew a whole line in our trailer. Because we were getting some electricity.

My friend Judy called and said, "Do you have electricity? This may sound funny, but we have a 'wee bit' of electricity."

So we figured it was a Brown Out.

But then soon it turned into a complete Black Out.

Okay, I admit, the first day it was kind of fun without electricity.

Due to the loss of electricity, the Watering Hole (dance from 4 to 6 pm) was canceled. One of our friends has a motor coach with a generator, so they had heat. We decided to bring the Watering Hole to their place! We brought our own booze and snacks and partied hard. We ended up ordering pizzas and went back to our collective cold houses.

Jim and I crawled under 5 blankets and snuggled up. It was quite toasty except when it was time to sit on that cold toilet seat in the middle of the night!

Thursday morning and we still didn't have any heat. A lot of us bundled up and sat around outside my trailer in the sunshine to grab some heat. Here Kathy and Judy are trying to get a suntan on their legs. Note their hands in gloves!

We noticed the electric company working on a nearby transformer. We called them the "Val Vista Village People."

Which then lead me to think about the Village People.

And the song "YMCA".

And it didn't take much prodding for my husband and friends to spell it out.

The park provided food for those people without electricity. Here are volunteers Lynn and Nelda telling people about the free lunch.

We hitched a ride with them to the ballroom to grab our free food.

People waiting for their free lunch.

Lynn handing out the food.

A free lunch.

Into the second day of no electricity it started to lose its sense of adventure. The park was doing what it could by providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner to those who did not have power, but people who DID have power were also grabbing food because, hey, waving a free food sign in front of a senior and you're just asking for trouble.

The park had SOME electricity and were alternating the power grid throughout the park; but where WE were there was NO electricity from Wednesday morning till Friday morning. Then it was on for a few hours, then off, and finally we've had power since Friday night. Not at FULL power, but power none-the-less.

This is what I've learned from this experience.

  1. My friends have all be great and gathered together to help each other out in times of need. We've passed propane heaters around to each other, and those who HAD electricity offered their small cramped spaces to those of us who were cold.
  2. I don't appreciate enough what I have, and I don't have a lot. But heat is a good thing.
  3. People get grouchy pretty quick when they don't have the basic necessities of life.
  4. Saying, "It's REALLY COLD HERE!" is all relative depending on who you are saying it TO!

 It was a real slap in the face the other day to get our electric bill in the mail! I just may wait a few days to pay that baby!

I am way behind in reading everyone's posts. I do apologize. I will  be reading, but may not comment on all of them. My son came in for a visit the other day and is here for a week. So we will be taking him around and showing him the sites.


Anonymous said...

only you could make a electric outage

I was gone for a bit too...glad we are both back :)

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

glad you are back on the road to warmth!

take your time getting around and enjoy your time with your son.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. sounds like you WEATHERED it well...always great to have good company to keep you warm inside...and free food...that is a wicked pic of the fountain...

Bonnie said...

So many basic things that we take forgranted, UNTIL we don't have them! It's been a really crazy weather everywhere this year. Keep on snuggling!

Valerie said...

Oooh PaT, I did wonder where you were. As I've discovered this year there is NOTHING as bad as feeling cold. Tough luck to be without electricity for so long, I've only ever done a couple of hours and that was awful. Don't laugh! Anyway, it's good to see you back and in such fine spirits. Hugs from me.

Cheeseboy said...

I had a friend head down there to play golf and he was ticked that it was so stinkin' cold. He might as well have stayed here and played. However, he would be far less likely to do the YMCA dance here.

Nice post. I laughed all the way through. I'd still trade you weather though.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

We got slammed, but never lost power. The interstate closed down and we just kept stoking the fire ......... til we ran out of wood. Not actually out, just couldn't get to it under two feet of snow. But we had power and we even had water!!!

Mary said...

now you know how our ancestors felt during the ENTIRE winter! Be glad you didn't live back in the 1700-1800s

becky said...

Hey Pat,
I was wondering where you were. Yes, that was a COLD snap! It is odd to see a frozen fountain in AZ (well unless you're in Flagstaff or something, which you're not!)
We had temps as low as -15 at night, - 22 w/ the wind chill. Thank goodness I didn't lose power, but up in Taos, they are STILL without gas- which means, for a lot of people, no heat, no showers. Our schools & state offices were closed for days to save natural gas. Now, we're back to normal, though I hear we have some sub- zero temps headed our way again.
Looks like you made the most of it & it looks like you have lots of fun people to hang out with. Free food?! nice!

Country Gal said...

Pat your a hoot ! Glad you made it through ok. Years ago there was a power outage , the whole eastern sea board was with out power it lasted for a week and it was in August our hottest month it was up to 80 degrees with out the humidex with it it was close to 100 and no fans or air conditioners had to use cars for cool air or a cool bath or swimming pool it was tuff but we used our BBQ'S alot to cook on unless you had a gas stove, we had alot of camping gear so we were all right. I wouldnt like a black out this time of year its minus 15 below zero with out the wind chill with it it makes feel like minus 20 below zero all though we have a woodstove so wouldnt be that bad ! Try to have a good day !

Eva Gallant said...

Glad you got the power back. We once had an ice storm and were 10 days without power!

Gail said...

It renews your faith to have people pull together in times of crisis. Stay warm.

WhisperingWriter said...

Yay for your power being back.

That free lunch looks pretty tasty.

SquirrelQueen said...

Hi Pat, I was wondering what had happened since I hadn't seen a post from you in awhile. I had heard from another blogging buddy about the cold snap down your way.

Glad to hear your power is back, not having heat when it is that cold can be a real problem.

Rae said...

We forget how dependent we are on electricity until we don't have it. It's definitely better with. It's nice you have such good friends to help out when the situation is bad. And like you said cold is a relative term - we are expecting 40 degree temps this weekend and I am looking forward to the "warm up" - I'll be shedding my coat and gloves.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Pat, glad everything turned out OK, but what an experience. Thank goodness for friends and free food. Blog reading can always wait.