Albemarle County, Dominion Energy, power outage, power outage survival skills, snowfall, winter doldrums
Following my rather blissful post in December, when temperatures ran into the 70’s, this week suddenly became the week from hell.
Temperatures in the teens arrived abruptly, heavy wet snow fell, 7″ of the stuff overnight, which not only snapped power lines like toothpicks, but broke numerous branches in my own gardens. Even my steel arbor toppled over.
My 40+ year old home is all electric and in the twenty-one years of ownership, this damaging weather never occurred in the winter. There were two consecutive years over July 4th weekend, where violent thunder strikes fried underground cables and entire swaths of county were without power/water/AC for nine days while humid temps rose into the 90’s. Yet, when temps are warm, hardships are more tolerable.
The problem here in central Virginia remains with Dominion Energy, a behemoth company who consistently ignores trees that grow near/on power lines. While living only a mere eight miles from town, this hamlet is the LAST area to have power restored. So I hunkered down. Surely this cannot last long, I told myself.
Quickly my home’s interior became a 40F box. I do not have a portable generator, as I cannot manage/handle/store such a contraption. Years ago one custom builder advised against spending the thousands for a whole house generator, as the few times one is required, the investment is never recoouped. Go to a hotel instead, were his words.
IF the power company had not lied to customers, promising each day to have the power restored between 6-11 PM, I would have gone to a hotel. Instead as darkness fell, I headed to my bed, dressed in layers of down and covered in alpaca and mohair, hoping to fall asleep though the long, cold night.
Miserable days turned into nearly one week! Twice I drove to the library and warmed while my phone charged. No power also meant no home WI-FI. Since I get merely one bar of cell service at home, the first few texts to friends were either not delivered or painfully SLOOOOOW.
Every morsel of my being was tested.
To bide time when I was not reading, I went down to visit my pal Easy (a fine quarter horse), who was retired at thirty-two to a nearby farm this fall. Ten years ago I rode him for 1.5 years on blissful cross-country treks.
Thanks to my Swiss fondue stand and quart of denatured alcohol, I was able to heat tea water and cook eggs for breakfast. Most of my perishable food remained on the floor in a five-day cooler.
I never liked camping even in good weather.
This week became a bizarre twilight zone, one I hope never to repeat. Last night’s temperatures again fell into the teens, while my newly restored power sent my HVAC unit into massive overdrive. Today I had a hot shower, smoothed rich body cream over my chapped flesh, washed two loads of laundry, and made a proper hot breakfast on the stove. At 2:30 PM, although the sun is shining, the outdoor temp is just 33F.
So the blasted white stuff is not going anywhere fast. And just before hell broke loose, I purchased the gallon of solid stain to finish off my new patio retaining wall project. So it goes.
One blogger pal referred to this week as little house on the prairie and me as a trooper. Forget survival skills, if I pay full price for electricity, I expect electricity. 7″ of snow should not put thousands of area residents in peril for a week. Dominion Energy does not give rebates nor discounts. They are a patronizing monopoly.
I think it is time to once again look for a smaller place closer to town.
Or better yet, ask Scottie to beam me up.
Copyright 2022 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved