Power Struggles

Last night, I was dressing Graham in his Halloween costume.  I don’t remember what it looked like, exactly, but there were LOTS of details.  I was putting the finishing touches on the costume, my little boy standing there – tolerating it like an absolute angel (this should have been my first clue, that this was not reality) – and then a gunshot rang out through the air – jarring me out of sleep – and was immediately followed by the sound of a large machine powering down.

“&@$%”, Andy said, and he threw off the covers.

I lay there in bed, trying to figure out what had just happened.  Impulse told me to get out of bed, so I did.  I just had no idea why I was standing in the middle of the bedroom trying to shake off a dream.

“What?” I said, to which Andy replied, “Our air-conditioner just freaking broke” (except he didn’t say ‘freaking’).

“I think the entire house lost power,” I said, and  Andy started moving around to the windows, peeking through the blinds.  “The houses across the creek have lights on.”  He checked his phone.

12:30 am.  Ugh.

Andy walked out of the bedroom to check the breakers.  They were fine too.  The front windows confirmed that the houses across the street had their lights on, so we opened the door to see what the neighbors’ houses looked like.

Completely dark down the street. 

I went upstairs to get my phone to call the power company, and Andy followed.  The lines were busy.  Suddenly we saw flashing red and blue lights.  I looked out the window and saw a fire truck driving down the road.  Full lights – no siren.  I looked down the street to where the engine was headed and saw a small group of neighbors congregated outside their house.  Andy went down the street to talk to them, but came back with no answers.

Eventually, we realized that all we could really do is go back to bed.  Heh.  Yeah, right.  Not only was it already a little too warm to sleep in our room, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear Graham if he awoke (no monitor, remember?).   I moved upstairs, peeked in on Graham, thanked God that his room always trends a little too cool or too warm in the appropriate season, and then set up camp in the room across the hall.  Just like in the newborn days.

I laid awake in bed.  My phone said it was currently 86 degrees outside.  Downtown was apparently in the neighborhood of 95F.  It was hot.  And fine and dandy to sleep the night through, but this week threatens actual temperatures near 110F.  There were way too many scenarios for my brain to assimilate for me to sleep anytime soon.  What would we do?  Go to a hotel?  Impose on a friend?  We would have to board Hugo… but what about Flea?  Surely its too hot for him too?  Then I started thinking about what would happen if this was long term?  Could I save my groceries?  (I know, I know… leave it to me to be awake at 1:30 am worrying about my pork chops!)

That was about the time that the house powered back up again.  About an hour with no electricity in the middle of the night, and I was freaked out.  Apparently it was a transformer that blew – which accounted for a gunshot sound. 

But this is serious, indeed. DFW is experiencing what could potentially the hottest summer on record (currently 32 100+ degree days in a row, tied for 2nd place below the record 42-day-streak of 100+ degree days).  We’ve got a full week of temps close to 110F coming up.  It’s only August 2nd.  ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) says we hit an all-time record for electricity consumption yesterday, exceeding the previous all-time record (set mid-August last year) by 1500 MW. 

I repeat, it’s only August 2nd.

The ERCOT is calling for electricity conservation during peak hours (3-7pm) today, and after blowing a transformer during the lowest power consumption hours, they’ve got my attention now.

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