4/21/12

4/21 Frisco Texas

It has been over a week since the power went out and we haven't heard anything from anyone.  All food in the fridge is gone, and I'm sick of eating hard boiled eggs at every meal.  We haven't gotten into the freezer yet but I can already tell that most of the stuff in it is going to thaw out within the next few days.

The worst situation is the water and baby formula situation.  My two month old son has been eating and growing tremendously the last few days, and we are only down to a day, maybe two left of his formula.  The three gallon jug of water that we had left is running low as well.  I know I have to do something soon.

My wife and I considered moving in with her parents who live nearby, but we aren't ready to abandon our house yet.  A few days ago there was a gang of men with a generator on the back of a pick-up truck.  They went door to door in our neighborhood, offering use of their generator for any supplies.  I didn't appreciate the way the guy cased my house as he knocked on my door with the butt of his shotgun, and lately I have been keeping my own Louisville Slugger close by.  Every night we hope that the power comes back on, and every morning we are greeted with the same disappointment.

Tonight though I know that I have to do something.  Liam will be out of food tomorrow.  I grab the 5 gallon gas can that is half full, and put it in the trunk of my Jetta.  I put the baseball bat in the passenger seat and place a couple spare bricks that were in our garage on the seat next to me.  I drive with my lights off to the Kroger nearby.  Its pitch dark and my black Jetta.  I roll into the parking lot and see the same pickup truck from the other day is parked in front of the doors, several of the men with shotguns are sleeping inside the store and two others keep watch.  I park my car in the back, grab the bat and a brick to smash a window to get in.

"Hey! What the fuck are you doing man? You think you can roll up on us in the middle of the night?"

I swear to myself for being stupid and being discovered.  "I need in there.  I need food for my kid."

"What do you have to trade, we can't let you in for nothin' asshole."

I squeeze the handle of the bat.  "How about some gas, I grab a cart and load up and don't bother you again."

"How much gas?"

"At least 4 gallons." I lie, I know there is less than that in the can, i just gamble that this guy doesn't know what a full can feels like.

"Get it and we'll let you in."

I run back to the car, grab the gas can out of the trunk and walk back, I drop it at the guys feet and grab a cart.  I load up on formula and a couple jugs of water.  I load up the rest of the cart with canned food and pasta.  I make sure I'm quick and don't overstay my welcome here.  I walk quickly back to the car and throw everything in the trunk as quickly as I can.  I shut the trunk and quickly get in the car.  I notice a truck start to follow me on the way out.

I drive away from my house, and keep driving, staying on major streets as long as I can.  After about an hour he gives up and stops tailing me, and I take the long way back home.  The sun is rising as I pull in my driveway.  I pull out an old couch that was sitting in the garage and park my car inside of it.  I close the door behind me.  Last thing I need is those guys knowing where I live.


4/20/12

The lights are out but life moves on.

Not expecting this to go beyond the first night, we used our toilets without flushing. So grateful I had a "home ownership for dummies" lying around. Yay for flushing with a bucket of water! We have been trying to dig a hole to make a little outhouse but our soil is rocky. I guess I should have expected a completely inexplicable world wide power outage when I was selecting the grade of dirt to fill my yard with? After the first 6" or so, it's almost more productive to use a broom than a shovel. At least the broom already lived outside so we don't have to ruin a good one.

The lack of social media is driving me insane, I've been writing blogs on paper as if people actually want to read them. I keep opening my laptop expecting to check facebook and see how people are, then getting sad again when it doesn't work. The kids found an old mp3 player and blasted kid bop songs until the batteries ran out, then mostly cried to sleep because they wanted the TV back and I wouldn't turn it on. 

We ran out of the water dad gave me. This morning I filled some pans of water from the stream and boiled it over the fire pit but it's gross. I have no idea how sick this is going to make us if I cook with it. This water isn't exactly fresh, I think it's run off from a treatment plant or something so who knows what chemicals it's full of but it got our hair clean.

I usually see my brother and sisters or at least hear from them every couple of days. I feel so alone.

4/19/12

Could be time to re-define FAMILY


It;s been an entire week without lights.  I have been sharing the meat out of the freezer because I don't really know how much longer turning on the generator for a couple of hours a day will work.  At the very least I know my neighbors have appreciated it.  It has also been an entire week since I last heard from my long haul truck driving boyfriend.  I hope he is ok but I am sure sleeping in a truck where he may or may not have food, water, and fuel isn't safe.  With no cash coming in and no real valuables with him he is probably finding it hard to get resources.  I did go into town on the four wheeler and get his mom.  She was scared because things in town are getting dicey and she is out of gas for her generator.  Some looting of the local grocery and drugstore for essentials.  She didn't want to leave her condo but I told her, "Any things you have here that get stolen we will replace when this is over and any property damage will be up to your landlord to replace.  You have insurance. It doesn't cover replacing your life, let's go!"  Promising her fresh water and food seemed to convince her.  While i was in town I went ahead and took all the cans of shortening from the grocery.  I figured it up and I owe them $35 when this is over.  That's fine.  Each can will make one 45 day candle with just a piece of string pushed down in it.  Oh and I also took two decks of cards to entertain us and a bag of dog food in case the boyfriend gets home with his dog.
Last night his sister, who hasn't spoken to us in over two years, walked back to the house while i was running the generator.  She asked for gas.  I lied and told her this was the last of it.  But I gave her a 5 gallon bucket of water I had filled from the well to water plants and 2 lbs of hamburger for dinner.  I also took all the hunting gear and ammo back to the pond house with me last night.  I am going to check tonight to see if she needs more water or meat.  Also give her one of the candles.  For the sake of her daughter still at home it is the least I can do.  
My son has been clearing the trees around the pond and cutting them up so we have wood.  I have a rocket furnace in this house so we won't have to burn much wood even in a cold snap other than for cooking.  I saw Officer Vacarro while I was in town.  He said the next city over is really a mess.  He said they have called in the National Guard.  Thankfully it hasn't spilled over to here much.  Vacarro asked how we were doing out here, while he eyed my massive supply of shortening.  I am fairly sure he knew where I got it and just didn't say anything.  Probably thinks I am nuts for taking something that most think has no value right now.  I told him we were hanging in and decided I should play up how awful it is so it wouldn't get around town that we have water and lights.  So far they are handling it ok, short of the looting. But town hasn't been without power for more than a week in a long long time and most are starting to get freaked out.  I guess I never really thought before how much we rely on electricity.  It entertains us, soothes us, gives us our imagined strength and power.  I am also thankful for reading those Foxfire books as a kid and having an interest in simplistic lifestyles because if this goes on for another week those will be the things that keep us going out here in the pond house.
I hope my friends and family are doing ok.  My worries for them take a lot of my time and thoughts.  I am going to start working on the summer's garden tomorrow if it doesn't rain just so I can distract myself.  I find working outside during the day helps wear me out so I can sleep at night.

4/18/12

Day 6 without power… We’re gonna have to get the fuck out of here.


Day 6 without power… We’re gonna have to get the fuck out of here.

Last night while sleeping my wife elbows me hard.

“What was that?” She asked.

I lay still listening and then I hear it. It’s some kind of scuffle and it seems to be coming from my patio. I go across the hall from the master bedroom to the office. The balcony there overlooks the patio and my neighbor’s patios as well. The patios are separated by a 6 foot privacy fence. I grab my 12 volt camping lantern and fill the adjoining patio with the white harsh light that only Coleman can produce.
I had only meant to look for a second.

I had expected to see a raccoon or perhaps a fox. The wildlife is kind of reclaiming everything since the power has been off.

I was stunned to see my neighbor Darren standing over a stranger with a baseball bat.

“Hey Darren! What the fuck?” I shouted.

This seems to break the spell, at least it has stopped the down-swing of the bat.

“I found this fucker rooting around on my patio; obviously trying to steal.”

The homeless guy stands up and his arm just kind of wiggles in an odd way. I realize with a sickening certainty that his arm is broken. I am just shocked. What the hell is happening to us? This is a good upscale neighborhood. Crime is pretty much Zero here in Santee. The homeless guy is filthy and dressed in layers. He kind of stares into the light as does Darren. Using his good arm he opens Darrens gate and shuffles off into the night.

I flash the light on Darren.

“Did you bust his arm with that fricking bat?” I asked.

“Hell yea I did.” He replied.

“Dude, you can’t just beat people down with a fricking ball bat, you could have killed him. You were still swinging when I turned the light on.”

“Yea… I was pissed. What would you have done?”

“Man I don’t know; but probably not that.”

“I’m gonna tell you something as your neighbor and your friend. You need to wake the fuck up and see what’s going on here.” said, Darren.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“It means we are fucked. The lights are out, and who knows when of if they are coming back on. Remember when you saw that cop that was recommending we don’t travel? Well I was up there yesterday and he’s gone. Guess what's there now?  A fucking armored personnel carrier with a 50 cal mounted on top. And you know what else? I don’t think anyone is even inside of it. There’s a camera on the fucking gun. There is about 50 people camped around it; if you can call a 100 foot wide circle with an APC in the center, and a ring of people around that, around it.

I guess every other day a fuel truck filled with soldiers not wearing insignia shows up and pumps diesel in the APC, and then drives away. The soldiers don’t talk to anyone and if they even move a little closer shots are fired above their heads and a tape plays telling them these are the final warning shots.

Now if it’s still not clear to you all the resources in the world for us are in this circle that the military has created since the lights went out. Once they are gone people will start dying. So you’re worried about some thief getting his ass kicked for trying to steal? You better wake the fuck up. We need to band together, so someone can keep watch because as soon as people start getting hungry and thirsty they will start stealing.

I’m going to call a meeting tomorrow and see who’s in and who’s out; but I’ll ask you now. Are you in or out?”

“I guess I’ll let you know in the morning at the meeting.” I answered as I closed the patio door and turned out the light.

I stand looking at my wife, while she stares back at me, and mentally taking inventory. He’s right; everything has changed and I need to decide what I’m going to do.



4/17/12

My whole home was almost Taken Over - Lights Out!


Animals can sense trouble. Unfortunately people are also animals- which means once I started to worry, the kids started to freak the f#@!  out. Nobody is sleeping, meals involve sitting quietly near a table while we all pick at food and games involve a million interruptions for "what was that noise?" The upside is if I tell them to do something, they rush about doing it like their lives depend on it.


As refreshing as it was to use the shower and have working lights for a day, coming home again was a disaster.
For starters, the old man next door was camped on my front porch with a rifle. Apparently, he had decided that my house was safer on account of the huge glass windows he has on every wall of his. <Insert long rant about impending looters> Pointing out that taking over my house was a lot like looting seemed to be the route to go. After a couple hours of cautious reasoning with him he moved on. I also gave him a case of beer and helped him into the abandoned home next door. Water is a crisis situation right now. Before coming back home, I moved some storage bins into the back of my car and filled them with the hose. We moved the van into the garage and we've been walking to the car and getting it as needed at this point but I'm afraid to let anybody know we have it there.


This weekend left me wondering why I never bothered meet my neighbors. I live by some neat people, who I'm sure wouldn't seem terrifying if there wasn't this looming truth that we are suddenly competing for the same resources. It's been informal so far, but we've had a few small meetings just discussing pooling together to help each other out. I volunteered my back yard as a giant garden- a large area right by a stream with no trees to block the light. I have never felt so sore in my life from digging up sod and trying to till rocky dirt. So far, I think we will all be able to eat all the summer squash and tomatoes we want by mid-summer. I am going to feel like such an idiot when the power comes back on. At least I will be an idiot with a lot of pasta sauce.   As nervous as I am about them, I'm glad the people living right here seem to be coping well. We started to drive to downtown and saw people looting the Target Saturday morning. It took less than two days for some people to go crazy, I am trying not to think about what is going on down there today, three days later. 


It was my daughter's birthday today. I feel terrible that she didn't get a cake. All of our ice cream melted. The chest freezer smells- while digging the garden I actually dug a hole and started to bury some old food so we wouldn't have to deal with it. I wish I could take her out somewhere, go to the movies or just let her pick out a new toy at the store... but I don't think there are any safe stores right now. I wanted to lie to her about the date and hope we will wake up with power tomorrow, but what if we don't?








5 Days Still in the dark! If I rob the condo next door and no one see is it still looting?


I decided to do a Video Blog after 5 days in the dark. I want to encourage any and all participants in the Lights Out Project to create Video's post them to YouTube and send me the link and they too will be added to the lights out project.





Update April 16th, 2012 4:21pm Hartford County CT USA

OK this is quite crazy No Power & we haven't yet been told why & the past 2 days it's been Summer Heat instead of Spring 
Sunday it was in the low 80s & today it was projected to possibly a record breaking 90? This late in the day & it's 89 84 in the shade according to the thermometer - Thank Goodness I went & purchased these "silly waste of money" dodads cooling neckties - yes they laughed at me when I decide to pick up stuff like that they see no need for; but today we're wearing them & they do at least help in this heat with no fans or even air conditioning

Living the "primitive life" without power is both tiring & rewarding as I try to find ways to do things that we've always done with power - living on the farm growing up helps me here because we used to lose power at any storm so I draw on those memories but HubbyMan is a city boy & the children grew up in cities & suburbs so they aren't thrilled with the ideas I've set before them.

Using the sunlight to get things done requires for us to get up earlier in the day - since Daughter is a nurse she's still got to go in for work but she's not liking the fact that her job is right in the middle of the ghetto with it's drug users walking all around. HubbyMan has to go into work as well since the utilities are all on standby & as soon as the power is back up they'll be playing catch up in addition to checking all of their systems. They're under a lot of pressure so I am holding down the home front with Baby Genius & just staying home avoiding going out as much as possible. No need to risk running into road rage or those acting crazy because there isn't enough of something in the store so they want to fight over stuff.

Plane traffic is way down with all of this, not certain but it seems only one or 2 a day coming into the airport from our direction. I did hear the radio say that the trains will be running on a Sunday/Holiday schedule until further notice. That makes sense without power many offices are closed anyway.

The Home Depot has had to call in police to break up a fight over generators.
Target is once again using generators to light up a few lights & the registers so people can shop for those items in the store. All of their foods in the cooler section are again being tossed out so they do not get sued for selling food that wasn't kept in the extreme cold. Everything that is BBQ related is pretty much SOLD OUT. Batteries & candles are long gone at this point. They do not know when a shipment is coming next with the power out the reordering system is also down

The governor's office has had twice daily updates but they do not seem to know much more about the cause of the problems except to say that this is a nation wide problem & the National Guard has been called up to assist the local & state police departments. 
Our emergency center has been in operation ever since the 12th when they realized it was a state wide problem. Might not agree with the politics of those up on capital hill but at least our state has a decent emergency center not the best but they are always trying to improve it & do call up those who are needed to run it quite quickly.

Many schools were out for spring break this week & those that weren't already off were off last week. So the schools are once again being used for showering centers for the residents who do not have running water or generator backup for their water pumps. Who would guess that in April they would be talking about opening the schools for cooling centers? The students will most likely have later dates for getting out this year. In the cities they are doing lunches & dinners because the people do not have power at some of the schools or senior centers I've heard on the radio.





Notes From Sweeden...

(notes from Sweden, 8:30 a.m. Saturday)

Lights are intermittent. Even with water and wind for electricity,
there's still some problem with getting power around the country. I
wouldn't know this if it weren't for neighbors and friends who are
well-versed in this stuff.

We sat on the terrace most of yesterday with the neighbors. Lights
would blink for a while, then go back off. John and I did go back
inside for a bit to make sure most of our major items were unplugged
to avoid surges. We went to bed with just the LEDs next to my side of
the bed still on. They don't pull much power.

We're getting such limited news. The radio doesn't seem to pick up
much more than static most of the time. I'm wondering now if I should
have joined Mom back when I was a teenager and taken Ham radio
classes. I don't even think I can remember most of the Morse code I
once knew, but a radio with actual news would be a good thing about
now.

The hardest thing for me at the moment is the lack of communication
with my family in the states. Mom lives alone. Has my brother gone to
check on her?  My kids and grandkids are all in different homes – only
a few miles apart, but how are they all coping? Without the internet
or telephones, I'm truly cut off from them. How did Mom and Dad manage
when I went on my cross-country jaunt as a teenager and didn't call
home every day? I think I understand her frustration now.

Because we seem to have what I know as a brown-out – limited
electricity, lights not quite as bright -  we are not using the
microwave, stove or television all that much.. just trying to make
sure we keep our laptops and phones charged. I don't know how many
batteries we still have though. Maybe we can get back to shopping
later on. The trains are running now and then. It's about a quarter of
the normal activity for a Saturday. The buses seem to be on a regular
schedule, though. And they've added a few as replacements for trains.

I still don't know what's wrong with the internet – but if there's no
electricity in the US, the backbones are probably affected.

I can't shake this “something's wrong” feeling, though. Seriously.





(notes from Sweden, 10:30 Sunday morning)

I'm very annoyed that I can't reach my family in the states. We have
no real news aside from there is a power outage covering North and
South America and parts of Europe having problems. Where we sit, it's
somewhat okay. But we have turned off everything that isn't needed for
now.

The weather's been nice enough for us to sit outside and chatter with
the neighbors. I'm not the only one in a bit of a state over not
reaching family. No phones and no television and radio is
intermittent, so everyone here in on the terrace is a little worried.
Nothing serious yet, just concern. Those with elderly parents (like
me) might show it a bit more than the others, but generally we are
keeping up good faces. There are two children in this building, and
especially for them, nobody is really sounding  upset.

I'm glad we went to the store, though. Food is in good shape, but with
the trains running so oddly, we can't guarantee good delivery. A few
people have reported that the gas stations aren't always open –
evidently the pumps run on electric, and the card readers need phone
lines, so unless you are sitting on cash, there's no way to get gas. I
hadn't thought of that, either. We do keep a bit of cash on hand.
Tracy and I discussed that several years ago, when I first moved to
Sweden. As Americans, we were used to cash, credit cards, debit cards
and checks. But Swedes were already going away from cash, checks were
rare things anyway – what happens when the card readers go down?
Swedes are not used to dealing in cash all the time. We'd get stuck
someplace and not be able to get home. So she and I vowed early on
that our households would always keep some spare cash. Enough for at
least a couple of days. Now I'm wishing I had enough for a week.

And that's another thing. She only lives a couple of hours by train
from me, but I can't even reach my best friend to find out if she's
okay. Without the internet, without telephones...

Yeah, something is bad wrong. What's happened? And where?
Sunspots? Attack? What took down the satellite communications so
harshly that we don't even have television or satellite radios?
Kicking myself seriously now for not going ahead with the Ham radio
course when I had the chance. At least I would be able to reach Mom.





Lights out for 75 hrs...

It's been three days.... 75 and a half hours to be exact.  Or close to exact.  Funny how dependent I am on my cell phone for time and now knowing it hasn't gotten a signal in 3 days I don't trust it to be right but I don't trust the battery run clock that I never use.  Of course I suppose if they haven't lifted the travel emergency by tomorrow it won't matter what time it is anyway since I can't get to work.  I did sneak out for a little bit earlier today.  the benefit of living on the county line. The next county over doesn't seem to be restricting travel like my country.  Anyway, I took the old blue truck up to the truck stop to see if I could fill my gas cans and put some in the bed tank so I can keep running my generator until whatever this is passes.  It wasn't until I got up there that I brilliantly realized that I rarely carry cash and no ATMS or pay at the pumps would be working with the banks without power. Thankfully the little service station around the corner from the truck stop still had fuel to sell me and since they knew me were willing to take a check for fuel.  I also was able to get a diet coke there.... ahhh it was so wonderful.  I started on the windmill today.  I actually did fairly well with my son and his friends helping.  I just hope that not have cement to anchor it with won't be too big a deal since I couldn't find a hardware store open.  I went ahead and took several pounds of hamburger out of the freezer from the cow we  had butchered this fall.  I cooked it up for the boys as payment for helping.  They all seemed grateful to have a big meal.  Thank goodness for the firepit so I could cook several burgers at once.  Now to see if I can get the connections on the windmill with the supplies I have on hand.  Then I won't have to wait for sun to have electricity at the pond house.  I did run the generator extra long today. We had to have some laundry done and I wasn't sure I would have time for it to line dry if I hand washed.  Although if this happens again at least I know that the wash board I had hanging on the wall of my laundry room for decoration works for functional use.  The neighbor came back today and wanted to charge some rechargable batteries.  Again, something inside me said don't get this started but I had no real reason to be selfish so I obliged him.  Although without sun yesterday and if I recall the forecast I saw Thursday correctly it is supposed to rain again tomorrow I am not sure I had the power to spare.  I think I will tell him no if this situation continues and he comes back again.  He also mentioned that he told some one in town that I have solar power out here.... Why would he do that? I can see that if this whole thing kept up for too long this would be a problem.  I mean really, how long can it go on before they do something about it?  While I was up at the main house I tried the satellite TV, nothing.  I tried to use just the Antennae and I only found one station.  All it was was a recorded message playing about this being a temporary situation, the powers that be are working to resolve the issue, please remain calm and stay off the roads.  Just that over and over again... yeah that's the way to keep people calm, tell them to be.  Yeah, right.  I did get the laptop fully charged so I think I will watch a movie tonight just to break the monotony for me and my son.  If nothing else I guess this is giving everyone time to clean up their yards and I saw a lot of rugs being shook today.  Maybe we will look back on it like it was a nice break from the rush rush rush that our lives usually are.  Then again, my gut says this isn't as temporary as they say.  Why aren't they letting us move about freely?  Why isn't the Sheriff going house to house to reassure us?  If this is a power problem why haven't I seen the utility trucks out?  I know where the weak point is in our local grid.  They haven't even tried to open 8th St where it always fails.  I am going to sort thru this box of leftover wiring to find what I need to finish the windmill and watch a movie with the boy.  Hopefully that will distract the doom and gloom thoughts.




4/14/12

Lights Out at the Plant....

4/13/12 9pm PST

Shit. The power has been out for a little over 27 hours now... starting to get a bit worried.

Guess I better journal whats happened so far, keep a record JIC.

So I was at work, half way through my shift, when the power went out and we damn near had a level Three toxic event at the plant. Two of the emergency generators didn't power up and almost caused chlorination to dump chlorine gas straight into the air. Of course, I was driving around in my golf cart making my patrols when it happened and I got the call on the radio to go check in with the folks in the command center... Utter bullshit. These fucks wanted me to strap on my emergency respirator and head over to the generators and try to manually power them up. That meant passing through chlorination to get there. Thankfully, by some miracle, as I'm putting the respirator on, the second one that powers chlorination fired up on it's own, followed a few seconds later by the third one and they told me via radio that I didn't need to try and power them on anymore. Shit yeah! Crisis avoided! I so fucking hate this place....
The rest of my shift was easy, I was tasked with the ever important job of sitting in the north 40, with a flood light, making sure we had nobody trespassing since all the cameras are down. Easy money! Tried to call Moms cell, fucking thing isin't even connecting.

Driving home was a fucking pain in the ass though, took me three hours to go seven miles. Got in at 2am, mom and Syd were soundly asleep upstairs and I figured I better try to get some sleep too. I wind my alarm clock up and head to bed. 

5am. I'm wide awake. Can't sleep. This insomnia is seriously annoying me. Fuck it, I wanted cereal so I headed downstairs to the kitchen.
Mom was already awake and had a cup of coffee, she looked scared.
I told her I had heard that all of Vegas and Henderson had no power and that once the Sun came up, I will hook up my CB and Linear and try to see if I could get any information.

930am I finally get the CB and amp hooked up to my car and fire it up. Nothing. Fuck. 
After about 25 minutes of twisting dials searching side bands I finally get something, but it's weak, just a message to stay calm and stay in our homes. And to stay tuned for further information.
I notice now that there is no air traffic and it's eerily quiet. It feels the same way the strip felt on 9/11, dead. People walking around like zombies, no air traffic allowed so people had no way of leaving. They just wandered around aimlessly. Yeah, now I'm creeped out. 

4pm, still no power or word on the CB about the power outage. Guess I better fire up the Bar-B-Que and cook all the meats we have, try my best to preserve them.

6pm, I apparently passed out on the couch while cooking the meats. Mom took over though so we have fresh food, for now. Really thanking the universe for last weeks sale on Arrowhead, we should have enough water for a week or so.

10pm. I think I'm going to try and sleep on the couch tonight, I have a bat and all the doors and windows are locked. Mom and Sydney are asleep upstairs.

Will try to write tomorrow.





Coping without Power - Lights out In Michigan

We were trying to move our garage door to get my car out when mom and dad stopped by. He has no idea what is going on, but said it will be back within a couple hours. That was last night, and it's still pretty quiet around here. He helped me move the boat from the abandoned neighbor's yard into my garage... always wanted a boat and it's been sitting there for over a year.

Mom said even with the generator their cable doesn't come in. We agreed that I was going to move there this morning if the power wasn't back because their generator powers their well and major appliances, and if needed we can load the chest freezer into a van to plug it in. The night flowed smoothly, I crashed so fast after not sleeping the night before. We haven't seen much of the neighbors who all seem to be doing yardwork and grilling.
This morning was spent sorting through the fridge, tossing out whatever can't be saved and placing safe items in a bin for transport. The upside of all of the boy's allergies is that most of our food is shelf stable and the fridge is mostly left overs. With the fridge empty and the water not running, the little drama queen (who is mad at me because her humidifier won't turn on?!?)  helped me carry the shelves out to the stream in the back to wash the shelves off. Never again- there are WAY too many bugs back there. 

I think it's time to move out, the baby is napping and I am now being begged for popsicles. They were bound to get tired of puzzles eventually. I really don't want top open the big freezer, we have a ton of meat in there. 

4/13/12

Is this disruption world-wide? News from Sweden.

Well, here's the deal. I'm going to write this now, but you won't see
it until later. I don't have the internet right now and I can't figure
out what's wrong with it, so for now I'll put this on my computer and
post it later.

We stayed up with friends last night, got to bed around midnight. I
got to meet the new baby in the neighborhood. :)
But it's an odd morning. Something feels off, but everything looks
okay. I don't usually talk about this, but my overall sense of
“something's strange” is strong today. When the Bearded Guy gets up,
he'll tell me to calm down, but right now, it's just weird.

The television is missing most of our normal channels. And the
Swedish-language news has something about electricity, but I can't get
the English news to come up and my Swedish is still too weak to really
understand what they're saying. I did notice that we must have had an
electricity outage overnight, two of the clocks were blinking when I
got up. The newsreader's tone is odd, too, she's usually more chirpy
than this. I'll have to wait until he's awake.

I've made coffee, emptied the dishwasher from last night, started a
load of laundry and sat down to get online, but that's where it went
really wrong. Where's my internet?

I've reset the router twice. I tried plugging in both our USB modems.
Here's where it gets strange. The modems go to two different ISPs.
Both of them, I can get to the ISP, but not out from there. They give
me the “limited availability” message. From one of them, I get it.
It's the same ISP that handles the home internet – maybe that power
outage overnight has something to do with them. But the other one?

I guess it's just a sign that I should work offline today. Paperwork,
painting and nail art, here I come! Enjoy your Friday, folks.




(notes from 11 a.m., Sweden)

The Bearded Guy is awake. And something is wrong with the world.
He meant to get up and watch F1 practice this morning. I've never
heard so much cussing out of him. He can't  get the TV channel he's
paid for to load in the browser to watch through ViaSat. He is pissed
that the alarm didn't go off to wake him up. And I had to watch him
reset the router twice (I had already done that) looking for the
internet.

Convincing him to just sit and have tea is not easy to do when he's
missing Formula 1. Okay, so he's addicted to his sport. Imagine if the
USA couldn't get their football or baseball or hockey games? Yeah.
Like that.

And I tried to call Tracy, but the phone is acting up. We aren't
getting a dial tone on the house line and the mobile phones claim to
have service, but no calls will actually go through. She's at least
awake at this hour. But without the internet, I can't hit her up on
chat, either. Wonder if we're the only ones. There's a lot of activity
outside, the stores seem to be open and people are shopping. The
trains aren't running, though. That's the most noise – the
announcements from the train stations.

A little odd for a Friday.

I have to admit, it's kind of funny watching him get frustrated with
the television and cable/internet hookups. Once I can convince him to
eat, everything will be better, I'm sure.





(notes from noon in Sweden)

This is not funny anymore.
John gave up fighting the internet and turned on the television to the
news station. There's power gone in North and South America. Limited
news from there. Very limited.
It's too early for me to call my family. They're on the East Coast and
it's only 6 a.m.  My family isn't likely to be awake just yet. Another
hour, minimum. I don't like it when there are storms and I can't get
through or have to wait. But power's gone? What happened?

And the electricity issues are here, too. The trains are not running,
but it seems most of the cities are okay for now. Wind and water runs
a lot here. There's nuclear, too, but that's in only a few places.

Probably worse in the villages and country areas. Our town isn't huge,
but it's not a village. The building we're in and the stores around us
appear to be okay, but we don't know about the folks who live just
outside of town. And we still don't have phones.






(1 pm in Sweden on Friday)

The television shut off. All by itself. And we seem to be losing the
stores, too. There's plenty of sunlight, but no power. We can't be
sure what time the trains stopped running – but evidently it was early
this morning.

The laptops and the phones and the iPad are all fine for now – they
were fully charged overnight. So we have things we can do. At least
for a while. Although, the phones can't make or receive any calls or
texts. How odd.

No more coffee, no more hot water for tea. No opening the fridge or
freezer. And the landline is still dead. Not so much as a dial tone.

Mom sent us a portable radio a while back, do we have batteries for
that? John's looking for them now. It's chilly, but nice outside,
we'll go out in a bit and hang out on the terrace with the neighbors.
There's still people to talk to and if those steaks thaw out, we can
at least grill for dinner.

Yay, we have batteries!

I guess for a while, we'll just act like the rest of the world and
join the party on the terrace. See if anyone of the neighbors knows
more.



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Shit. The power has been out for a little over 27 hours now... starting to get a bit worried.

Shit. The power has been out for a little over 27 hours now... starting to get a bit worried.

Guess I better journal whats happened so far, keep a record JIC.

So I was at work, half way through my shift, when the power went out and we damn near had a level Three toxic event at the plant. Two of the emergency generators didn't power up and almost caused chlorination to dump chlorine gas straight into the air. Of course, I was driving around in my golf cart making my patrols when it happened and I got the call on the radio to go check in with the folks in the command center... Utter bullshit. These fucks wanted me to strap on my emergency respirator and head over to the generators and try to manually power them up. That meant passing through chlorination to get there. Thankfully, by some miracle, as I'm putting the respirator on, the second one that powers chlorination fired up on it's own, followed a few seconds later by the third one and they told me via radio that I didn't need to try and power them on anymore. Shit yeah! Crisis avoided! I so fucking hate this place....
The rest of my shift was easy, I was tasked with the ever important job of sitting in the north 40, with a flood light, making sure we had nobody trespassing since all the cameras are down. Easy money! Tried to call Moms cell, fucking thing isin't even connecting.

Driving home was a fucking pain in the ass though, took me three hours to go seven miles. Got in at 2am, mom and Syd were soundly asleep upstairs and I figured I better try to get some sleep too. I wind my alarm clock up and head to bed. 

5am. I'm wide awake. Can't sleep. This insomnia is seriously annoying me. Fuck it, I wanted cereal so I headed downstairs to the kitchen.
Mom was already awake and had a cup of coffee, she looked scared.
I told her I had heard that all of Vegas and Henderson had no power and that once the Sun came up, I will hook up my CB and Linear and try to see if I could get any information.

930am I finally get the CB and amp hooked up to my car and fire it up. Nothing. Fuck. 
After about 25 minutes of twisting dials searching side bands I finally get something, but it's weak, just a message to stay calm and stay in our homes. And to stay tuned for further information.
I notice now that there is no air traffic and it's eerily quiet. It feels the same way the strip felt on 9/11, dead. People walking around like zombies, no air traffic allowed so people had no way of leaving. They just wandered around aimlessly. Yeah, now I'm creeped out. 

4pm, still no power or word on the CB about the power outage. Guess I better fire up the Bar-B-Que and cook all the meats we have, try my best to preserve them.

6pm, I apparently passed out on the couch while cooking the meats. Mom took over though so we have fresh food, for now. Really thanking the universe for last weeks sale on Arrowhead, we should have enough water for a week or so.

10pm. I think I'm going to try and sleep on the couch tonight, I have a bat and all the doors and windows are locked. Mom and Sydney are asleep upstairs.