Tuesday, September 6, 2022

My Power Failure Adventure

As you may know, a big thunderstorm blew through Southeast Michigan last Monday evening. The 70 mph hours winds knocked out power for thousands of people. At my place, it went out last Monday at 6:30 pm and came on Wednesday at 9 pm. This was one of the longest times the power has been out for me. It reminded me of the rolling blackout in 2003. Then there was another time in 1991 a tree fell during a storm and ripped the power line off the house. My mom kind of panicked and kept yelling "Live wire! Live wire!" We all already knew better. However, it wasn't live because the power was out in the area as well. It seems ever since my family moved out into a somewhat rural area, we've been dealing with power failures in all kinds of weather. However, this does have happen all over SE Michigan. 

I have a generator, and some might think, "You have a generator, so what's the big deal?" First, we have one because we need one. Without power, the basement could flood (since the sump pump needs power to run) and we have a well. Without power, the pump for the well doesn't run and therefore no water. This is a problem when you can't flush a toilet. Also, the generator is extremely loud, even with all the doors and windows shut. There is a constant roar in the background that I still hear for a while even with it's off. It just gets into my head. It runs everything, except the stove and the AC. By the time the power came back on, I spent over $150 filling it back up. 

Monday night, I kind of slept in the heat with the generator roaring in the background. Tuesday morning, I got up early because I planned on going to work. This was important because my coworker was off. I turned off the generator and filled it with more gas. It's the kind you have to pull start, and normally I can start it no problem. However, this time it was really hard to start. Finally, it started, and even though it was running, it wouldn't power the house.  This led me to go back and forth from the generator to the switch box in the basement several times. Up and down the stairs several times. I couldn't figure it out.  

I don't like to call people at 6 am, but now I was starting to panic because it looked like it might rain. First, I called my brother, but there was no answer. It went right to voice mail. (Later I found he also lost power.) Then I called my son, and it went right to voice mail. I called my son's girlfriend. It rang, but no answer. So, then I called into work and told them what was going on. My Dad is 86 years old and dependent on me for care, so I couldn't leave. I pretty much didn't know when or if I was going to be able to come in to work. Also, I felt drops of rain when I went out to the barn to get some power cords. My Dad does have a caregiver, but I wasn't going to have him come in when we don't have power. The only other way to get the water out of the pit would be to take it up in a bucket, which would quickly exhaust a person. 

In the middle of all this, my daughter tells me she needs to get gas, but the local gas station has no power, and she's afraid she will run out of gas before making it to college. "How many times have I told you not to let it get that low?" 

I kept trying with the generator, and nothing was working. Finally, my son calls me, and I tell him what's going on. He lives about an hour away but hurries up and gets on his way. Then my dog, Loki started pacing around and squeaking between the hallway and the living room. I wondered why, and I discover that my Dad was calling for me. I go into his room and he's in bed facing the opposite way. He complains that it's pitch black in there and he can't see. Somehow, he had tried to get up, and I was so busy with the generator that I hadn't even thought much about him. With the shade down, his room is dark, but I have a small lamp in his room.  So of course, the lamp was out. I keep the door shut too when he's sleeping, so he's not disturbed. 

I go into the room and Loki jumps into bed with my Dad. Loki is very verbal and sensitive, and he's still upset and squeaking. I never realized that Loki was so protective of my Dad. I put some candles in my Dad's room and he was able to go back to sleep.

Here he is on my Yoga mat. As you can see, he's not a small dog. 

Anyway, I work at a hospital. This meant nobody was really there to run the office area of our rehab department. Therapists have to assign their own patients, when normally I do a schedule for everyone. They just randomly check the phone when nobody is there. This was adding to my stress. 

My son came and in less than a minute, he got the generator working properly. Yep, just like that. I felt terrible for calling him over, but he wasn't upset or mad over it at all. He's been working on engines since he's been 12, and he just loves engines of any kind. Over at least 3 years, I've never had a problem starting it. Then he just comes a long, starts it and it powers the house like nothing happened. I'm like why? WHY? He thinks maybe it wasn't fully plugged in. I felt bad for bringing him out just to pull a cord. Although, he was glad it wasn't more complicated. 

Then we went to a McDonalds/Gas station. This place was busy for gas and the drive thru, but at least the lines were moving. We filled up a gas container. He had an egg McMuffin and coffee before we left. He also told me that I gave him a "heart attack" when I called that early.  

Once home, I got my Dad dressed and up in the chair in the living room. My daughter ended up staying home and took care of my Dad. I finally got to work at 9:30 a.m. Let's just say it was a good thing I came in. 

When I look back on these memorable moments they always seem like an adventure, rather than a lot of stress. I also think them over, and I try to figure out ways things could've gone better. How can I prevent debacles when the power is out? I'm considering a different generator if I can afford it. My son showed me a generator that is electric start and much quieter. Then there is the type of generator that comes on and off automatically as needed. This will even increase the value of the house. However, last I checked they are very expensive. Maybe they have a payment plan? 

Have a great week! 

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you should get some solar panels on the house. That too would probably be expensive. My power came back on Tuesday evening so other than losing some stuff in the fridge/freezer it wasn't as bad. But I can't really get a generator for my apartment so I'm out of luck the next time the power goes--and there always is a next time.