Well here we are in the midst of our second day without power. Irene did not have the predicted high winds but she did pack a lot of rain. Enough to drown our town’s major substation.
Morning’s first light is greeted by the sound of generators and pumps lighting lights and emptying cellars. We walk among the leaf strewn streets to view houses and cars crushed by trees. The merry rivers and streams of our town frolic through the streets leaving wide swaths of soaked sticks, leaves and mud when they finally go back to their homes.
Mostly we wait for the power company to make a pronouncement more valuable than “extended period.” we are better off than most on our street. We have white fuel lanterns for light, and a generator to keep the refrigerators going. However, so far we can’t use it to master the house’s Achilles heel, the poop pump.
I have nothing but praise for my off the shelf Costco generator. $350 well spent for 3500 watts. The power it turns out isn’t good enough for a computer or other equipment that demands pharmaceutical grade power, but that kind of generator requires an extra zero in the price. For the cost it’s been a lifesaver. Starts on the second pull every time and runs as long as you put gas in it. It bravely delivers both 120 and 240 at a moments notice, even in weather as cold as 10 below.
So we have the power, but not the connection. About 10 years ago our septic failed. All the houses on our side of the street were built at the same time and all the deprive failed one after another. We were one of the last to go. The town decreed that no more private septics shall be built and we had to connect to the sewer. At first that was a good thing, blue water in the toilets and no more ominous bubbling in the basement bathroom.
However, since we are downhill from the sewer, all our drain waste (to be polite) gets pumped up to the street. Except when there’s no power, that’s when the countdown begins. How long does it take a family of 5 to fill a 500 gallon holding tank?
When the poop pump sleeps fear reigns in our house. On this our second day we are considering our options. It’s amazing how well my three sons took the “no showers” news. It’s almost like the didn’t care. My wife is another story. ”Deal with it” she said, “that’s why I married you.”. While three’s never been a technical challenge I’ve shirked, hot-wiring a 240 volt, $2500 poop pump from a Chinese generator is a daunting task. I’ll need courage and nerves of steel, it will make the landing softer when I’m blown into the neighbors yard covered in, well, you know what I’ll be covered in.
Ah but I have the power of the Internet, with that a the possibility of an open hardware store for a 240 volt plug, success and a long happy marriage may be at hand. Or not.
What I find I miss most in our current situation is video, moving pictures to pass the time. That and information, with everyone hitting the cell towers a minute long conversation is a rarity. Which makes getting on the Internet a very long process. It’s odd that the best and most local information is only available by the most advanced electronic means. Our local radio station went Pre-recorded about 7 years ago, and our governor decided he didn’t want to be “in the television and radio business” so now we listen to New York and hope for a mention.
Ah well, two days and counting.