Toronto Dopers - how did YOU survive the blackout?

I have to run to work, but now that the power is back, I’m curious how everyone else made out.

Funny how you could tell the difference between an EastEnder and a WestEnder on sight yesterday…

I’m a poster child for disaster un-preparedness, myself, but I have to save that tale for when I’m back. I have to go play a homeless alcoholic for the rest of the day.

Sure am glad we ended up buying a home in the East end… it was nice and toasty over here. :slight_smile:

I do know your pain, though. Our furnace decided to conk out on us last year on a -17C day, and there’s really no amount of blankets and coats that can get you warm on a day like that. Glad all is up and running again.

Well, it’s been quite a week here. We’re moved in, but we’re still painting. The second floor bathroom has all the fixtures installed and working, but there is still a ton of work to do. I had a catastrophic failure of the hard drive with no data recovered, so I’m discovering all kinds of documents and programs that I don’t have. Monday, I had to look after my daughter who was sick and stayed home from school. I spent all day Tuesday working outside, parging the foundation that was still exposed from when we took down an 8’ x 8’ two storey wooden structure at the back. I had a very big audition on Thursday.

All of which is to say that we are still living out of our suitcases, as everything we unpack means just more stuff to move out of the way for when we paint, or put on baseboards, or move to our proper rooms. And I am now so far behind in both my household chores and my professional life that two clones and a time machine couldn’t get me caught up.

So on Thursday, I get home late from the audition, I pick the kids up, get them fed, bathed and put to bed. My wife was in rehearsal in the theatre until late that night. After having bitched for a week about not having any time to practice piano until after the kids are in bed, I moved the electric piano into our room, so I was all set to get some serious work done. I e-mailed my bio while I did one load of laundry, gathered up all the towels in the house and did them in the next load, as well as loading up the dishwasher, as every dish in the house was dirty. I just hit send, and go to look up some stuff online when I can’t connect to anything. That’s when I realize I can’t hear anything, either. I look out the window and realize the streetlights are out, and nobody’s house is lit, either. I call hydro on my cell phone, using the light of the computer screen to read the phone book. After a frustrating fight with the cell phone to let them know the power is out, I take stock.

  • We don’t have a proper telephone on the landline; we just have two of those cordless pieces of crap. They are useless without power.
  • The Zoom modem is useless without power, as is the wireless router.
  • I’ve been using the laptop on battery power, and it’s down to about 20%.
  • The cell phone is down to its last bar of power as well.
  • I haven’t read the instructions on the stove to figure out how to light it without power. It’s on my to-do list, I just haven’t got around to it. Even if I had the instructions, I don’t know where the matches are.
  • The dishwasher is full of dirty dishes with little crystals of dish detergent stuck all over them.
  • The washing machine is full of cold, soaking wet and soapy towels. Even though there’s nothing wrong with the gas hot water heater, there’s nothing to dry off with.
  • There is only one radio in the entire house that will work on battery power. It attaches to an iPod, it only gets FM, and it is in one of three or four boxes of small electronics in the basement. Or, if I’m unlucky, it’s in the storage unit.
  • The gas fireplace that I have insisted on for just such an emergency has not been ordered yet, as we haven’t decided on which model.

The house held its heat fairly well - it is well insulated, but we haven’t got all the windows installed, either. The worst thing was the abrupt change in the house noises - the floors made a loud cracking sound throughout the night, which was the oak hardwood shrinking faster than the subflooring.

When we woke up at around 7, the house was down to 6c. I was lucky, the iPod radio thingy was in the fourth box. It took a while to figure out that school was closed. (At least this time, CBC had the decency to read out the list of school closures - the last time we had a power out, they said to check the website. And we would be doing that how?)

My wife had to go to work in the morning, and we both had rehearsals in the evening. My MIL was coming in from out of town, but she was unreachable because the line was busy. My cell breathed its last as I was listening to a message from my wife, that I had to call the cabinet guy and make sure he didn’t waste a trip to our place. Just as I hear the number, the phone beeps and drowns it out. I save the message, repeat it, only to have the phone beep in the middle of the number again. On the third try, the phone shuts itself down. Open up the laptop, see if I can find the number in my e-mail. Just as I find the e-mail, the laptop shuts down. I try phoning my wife on the last vapours of juice left in the cell phone, and catch her in a meeting. I get out the words “You’ll have to call…” and the phone dies once and for all.

The kids and I went to the science centre, which was surprisingly quiet. I can at least talk on a pay phone, so we sort out a bunch of things, including a contingency plan for Friday evening. Friends will be in Peterborough, so they let us stay in their house for the night. The problem is, it’s in the Beaches, so in the space of a couple of hours, I drive home from the Science Centre, pick up my MIL at our house which is still without power, drive across the city to the Beaches and then drive up to a church in Willowdale for a 7 PM rehearsal. Once I dropped the kids and my MIL off, I unleashed a torrent of scatological and sacrilegious language that would have made a Tourette Syndrome clinic blush.

I swung by the house after rehearsal and discovered that the power had just come on about 45 minutes earlier. Just over 24 hours without power. I decided to stay in the cold house and manage the furnace. I turned it up by 2 degree increments, and gave it a 15 minute break whenever it reached a new target, just so it didn’t have to run for 4 hours straight.

At least the pipes didn’t freeze - I had opened the tap in the top floor bathroom so we had some flow, and then when we went out, I cut the supply and opened a tap in the basement, so they were drained. The only damage is the floors - I’ll need to re-sand and finish the hardwood as the cold made it shrink and opened the seams between each plank. Annoying, as that’s why I went for unfinished instead of finished floors, because we had that gap in the last house and hated.

So there’s my story. Sorry it’s so long and rambling, but it feels really good to have got that off my chest. Stay warm, y’all.

Man, that sucks, Le Ministre.

I had no idea anything was going on until my friend phoned me Friday morning to warn me that the commute might be a little more interesting than usual. Fortunately, I live west of the affected area, and go westwards, so I wasn’t even affected by the subway interruption. The only thing I noticed was that a lot of the people on my bus from Islington to Mississauga were late.

My gym, however, is in the affected area.