Everything is back to normal

On Tuesday of last week I was sick when I heard three loud explosions.  After that the power went out.  This was around 2 pm.  I turned on the gas fireplace and went up to my room where I watch a DVD on my laptop until the power ran out and then I just crawled into bed and slept since I was sick.  When I woke up it was dark enough that I fumbled around until I found a flash light and then put out some candles.  I remembered that some where I had “portable” black and white television with a three inch screen and when I went looking for it I also found a phone that I could plug in since every other phone in the house was wireless but I guess I also had my cell phone.  The TV takes nine D size batteries so it is really not that small.  By about 8 pm the power came back on.  This had me set up for the storm that I did not know was coming later in the week.  At that point the power had been out from after 23rd (I live on 28th) and almost all the way to Lake Washington.

Thursday I left work at 5 pm.  The freeway was fairly backed up so I decided to take side streets until I got near the 520 bridge.  I do not think I can ever recall the rain coming down as hard as it was – ever in my life and I have lived in the Seattle area all of it.  Roads that I would not think would have standing water did and that just slowed traffic down.  The wind was blowing hard at times but I just kept myself busy listening to the Seahawks game on the radio and thinking about the fact that I was going to see the Broadway show “All Shock Up” at the Paramount later that night.  Traffic was so bad and at a standstill that I left the beaten path and drove through some residential neighborhoods on the Eastside.  Once I got across the 520 bridge I found out that the arboretum road was close in what I found out later was trees across the road so I got diverted to driving south on 23rd street which run parallel to Capitol Hill.  Traffic was again slow moving.  When I got new Aloha St the police were blocking the road to I had to detour yet again to make it the next few blocks to Madison and then down the hill to get to my place.  At home the lights were flickering a bit and just to be on the safe side I cranked up the heat.  It took me two hours to get home and after I quick change I barely made my show downtown.  After the show I was back at home and the lights were still flickering and the cable TV was out.  The DVR part was still working and because of the lack of recorded shows it looked like it went out around 9 pm.  At 1:30 am as I was getting ready to go to bed the power went out.  Between 10 pm and the time I went to bed the wind was really crazy.  I couple of times I seriously thought that the large windows in my house might break because they were rattling so hard.  Fire trucks came by in front of the house around that time and I found out the next day that an older women less than a few blocks away drown in of all places her basement.  Saturday morning I bumped into a friend who said that she left work (and she works one building away from me and lives three blocks from me) at 3:30 pm, took 520 from Redmond and it took her three hours to get home.

Friday morning I woke up early because I wanted to try and get a doctor’s appointment in.  After getting a constant busy signal for hour of dialing I gave up and decided to go to work.  Without power I did not want to try and see just how much hot water was in the tank so I planned out to take a shower at the gym near work or in the showers in my building at work.  Since I have only been in this place a year I had never had the need to disable the garage door from the opener.  I was worried that the door might be too heavy to open by myself (as it had been the last place I had lived) but this one opened just fine and actually locked shut which was a bit of a surprise.  I left the house and headed for the arboretum.  The road was still closed so I backtracked and noticed a big tree about three blocks from my house across the road.  Ironically less than a block away on the same street the street itself was closed for repair so people already knew not to drive down it.  I saw a couple other places where trees had been cut up and removed from the street.  Using 23rd to head to 520 I saw why the road had been closed the night before.  A mass of trees with a tree root as big as a VW bug had fallen over but at this point it was clear.  When I got down to the freeway there was a sign saying that 520 had been closed.  At this point I just gave up and turned around and went home.  Just like on Tuesday they had power on 23rd so I stopped into a Safeway for a warm lunch and some D size batteries for the little TV.  The noon news was showing down trees all over the Puget Sound, many on houses.  Bellsquare Mall had no power.  Seattle City Light’s message said to not call until after 6 pm if you did not have power.  At around 7:30 pm the power came back on for me.  Just two blocks more to the east they still did not have power however.  When it did come back on out on 28th there was a short in the power line.  At first I thought someone was lighting off fireworks, perhaps in celebration of the power coming back on but then I pinpointed where the flashing was and then just watch for the next seven minutes as the flashing and explosions just went down the line.  I tried to call the power company but the line was busy.  A fire truck showed up just at it seem to finish and other than people being without power on that part of the block every thing was fine.

Saturday morning I still had power but the cable was still out.  This also meant no internet.  When I first bought my big screen it was HD ready but it does not have a built in tuner.  It was about a year before cable had an HD box so I bought a HD tuner that worked with an over the air antennae.  With the rabbit ears I was able to pick up a few channels – in high def, mind you but it was not ABC, NBC, or CBS.  I left the house for most of the day and still many places around where I live did not have power.  At some point my house lost power again but I think it was out for less than an hour.  Still no cable/internet when I went to bed around mid-night.  My little brother had taken the rabbit ears and put them on another TV in the house and with a fuzzy picture he was watching Saturday Night Live.  The Seattle Times on Saturday pointed out that most people did not receive the paper on Friday.  That was the first time in 53 years that had happened because the power had been out at the plant and also to produce the content to some degree although they pointed out that they did do a web edition and also noted that that would not really have worked for people without power.  The Saturday paper itself was much smaller than normal and even ran a few stories again from the Friday edition.  

I woke at 10 am on Sunday morning to find the cable was back.  Finally checking email I found out that my building at work was without power for most of Friday and Saturday.  Everything was back to normal!  Of course people a few blocks away still are without power.


About Aaron Bregel

Just trying to get by
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