stumbling in from the 19th Century
Wednesday, February 24 2010
The power outage continued throughout much of the day, which meant that I spent it very differently from how I spend most days. After getting up, feeding the fire, and doing the dishes, I went back to bed on the pretense that might read, but I ended up falling asleep. After I got up, I walked the dogs in the forest, though the soupy snow covering the ground wasn't much fun to walk in for me or Eleanor. (Sally, on the other hand, delighted in it, occasionally rolling around on her back to make doggy snow angels.)
Gretchen had been at work, and when she returned home, she'd brought foods suitable for eating in a power outage: Asian dumplings and falafel. But then I reminded her that we could still cook on the gas stove or even the woodstove.
I went into town to get my tuberculosis test read (I passed!), and while I was in town, I went to Hannaford to get more provisions. There were surprisingly few people out shopping given the threat of the weather, though nearly everyone was talking about power outages, which had affected 75 to 90 thousand residences in the area.
I was puzzled to find that the Hannaford ethnic food aisle (where I'd gone to get black beans) smelled strongly of mothballs. But then I figured out the smell was actually coming from an elderly shopper. I can't imagine it's healthy to constantly be breathing whatever that mothball substance is.
In Herzog's, I asked for "kerosene" suitable for our oil lamp, and their oldest employee (who looks to be about 80) looked at me like I'd just stumbled out of the 19th Century and said, "we don't call it that." She also said that the lamp oil aisle was their "busiest" today.
I needed to contact a colleague via email, so I went to a coffee shop called Dreamweavers in Uptown Kingston and handled a little email. I would have ordered a bagel and cream cheese, but they don't stock non-dairy cream cheese, so I had a cup of coffee and an inedible day-old muffin instead (which I didn't even attempt to eat).
Gretchen made us a pot of chili on the woodstove as darkness began to gather. We lit candles and read from actual printed books while the woodstove raged. The 19th Century didn't seem all that unpleasant.
And then the power suddenly came on. It was so unexpected it was a little unwelcome, and Gretchen persisted as if the power was out for a good 20 minutes.
Later our friend Jenny (from the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary) came over to watch American Idol with us. The power in Willow was still out, and though she had access to a generator, it was needed for more pressing demands than entertainment.
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