After the travel day from Hell (not the ninth level of Hell or anything, but I’d give it second or third), Kiddo’s and my visit with the grandparents was blissfully uneventful–We played in the snow. Kiddo helped Grampie pile wood. We watched movies. All in all, not much to stress about–For about five days.
That Friday night came with rain. Lots and lots of rain. And wind to rival the rain. Wait, ‘rival’ might not be the right word. It was more like an alliance of forces. But hey, we thought, it’s only regular rain. Not freezing rain, not total-whiteout-blizzard snow. No biggie.
My brother can be a bit of a worrier (a family trait). Ever since the infamous ice storm of 1998 (infamous to eastern Canadians, anyway) left us without power for three days, he fills buckets with water whenever there is any sign of inclement weather. We laughed at his over preparation. (See where I’m going with this? You’re so clever.)
Sometime between 7:30 and 8 Saturday morning, the baby monitor beeped. I rolled over, saw the power light was still on, listened to Kiddo singing to himself for a few minutes, and continued to doze for a few more minutes. When I finally dragged my ass out of bed, I realized what the beep meant: The battery power had taken over. The power was out. In fact, the power was out for somewhere in the ballpark of 8000 people in the Kennebecasis Valley alone.
Whenever possible, power companies tend to dispatch work crews such that the largest number of people get their power back in the shortest possible time. Therefore, when you live near a city center, power outages may last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours (short of near-apocalyptic conditions, at least). My parents do not live near a city center…unless you count when the ice road is open and they can drive straight across the river.
By 8:30, I was on the NB Power website looking for the estimated repair time for our area. It said between 10 am and 11 am. Not so bad.
Around 10:30, the estimate changed to between 3 pm and 4 pm.
By 3:45, they estimated 7 to 8 pm.
Keeping Kiddo entertained between sundown and bedtime was a challenge I have no interest in repeating. And changing a poopy diaper by flashlight? Once was enough, thank you.
The power came back on at 8:50 pm. I’ve never been so glad to see the Christmas tree lights blink on in all my life.
That’s 13 hours without power on January 13th. But it was a Saturday, not Friday, so I won’t let that make me superstitious. After all, thanks to my brother, we at least had water to flush the toilets. That was pretty lucky. (I will never doubt his intuition again.)
You might wonder if I felt some resentment towards NB Power after this experience. If anything, I tip my hat to the workers who spent hours in the pelting wind and rain (which did not let up until well into the afternoon and was probably the reason for the sliding repair times) to save us from going all night without power.
After the ice storm, my parents installed a wood stove. Twenty years after the ice storm (almost to the day), they’ve decided it’s time to buy a generator. As for me, I came home with a renewed appreciation for city living.