Ice, ice, baby

I received this morning a thoughtful email from Bitty asking if I was weathering the ice storm that struck the American Middle West last week, and I only realized then what an insular idiot I've been. I haven't mentioned word one about the weather and the accompanying power outage that affected over four hundred thousand people. Bad on me. First, let me say that M and I are fine. The capricious nature of the local power grid spared us this time around; we've not lost a minute of power. I'll admit that I spent a nervous, sleepless night when the front came through; the transformer behind our house emitted distressing sounds and unnerving flashes of light as ice covered everything in sight. I was certain that we'd find outselves without electricity at any moment. Unable to sleep, I got out of bed and got dressed - you want to be fully dressed when an emergency strikes, you know - then went down to the living room to read and watch the climatic state of things ouside the front window. My heart began to sink as the street lamp in front of the house began to dim, white light becoming first yellow, then amber, then a dull and dim brown. The landscape faded into near darkness as though eclipsed. Then a turn of the tide! The light reasserted itself, growing stronger, brighter. When I was certain that all of my wide-eyed staring out the window had protected us from powerlessness, I fixed myself a cup of hot chocolate. That has been the extent of our peril this time around, and we are very grateful.

If I recall correctly, about 414,000 people in the Ameren service area lost electrical service due to ice-laden trees and strong winds. According to the local paper, just over 300,000 Ameren customers still lack power, and eight people have died. Several of the area's warming shelters had themselves lost power. M and I were set to house a couple of friends whose power was out - friends who had graciously provided a refrigerator for our perishables during the storm-related blackout in the summer - but they got their electricity back by the afternoon of that first awful day. We are now cat-sitting for another friend who had found a place for herself and her dog but not the kitty.

I may post more on this later; just wanted to let folks know that, so far, we're doing okay.


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