Lynn Gold (figmo) wrote,
Lynn Gold

Roughing it, "Naughties" Style

Thursday PG&E had a scheduled "routine maintenance" that was supposed to run between 9am and 6pm. At 9:26am my power went. At 6pm it didn't come back. When 11pm rolled around and they still didn't have an uptime, a rather edgy Lady and I went to Warren's house (his parents' house, really) to spend the night.

Warren shares his house with his elderly parents. They had issued Lady and me an invitation to spend the night when they heard about the power situation. I was able to get a dialup line out, but this was when I discovered I need new laptop batteries. I had less than an hour before I was going to lose power.

My house was too cold for me to get any sleep, and I needed to get work done, so I took them up on the invitation. I packed up a night's worth of stuff for Lady and me, stopped at the store on the way there to get milk, orange juice, oatmeal, and a few other assorted groceries, then arrived. We set up a makeshift pen for Lady in the utility room, then I set up to use my laptop units.

I hooked up my PowerBook to their kitchen phone and dialed out. My response was horribly slow. I then looked at the Remote Access control panel and learned, the hard way, that my system was operating at 9600 BPS. I disconnected and redialed, and was only able to get up to 11.6 BPS despite my dialing a 56k modem. This was highly unsuitable for getting serious work done, so I only downloaded one file.

I then took the laptop unit to bed. I was using Warren's bed, and he was in the guest room. His parents can't afford to run the heater, so he gave me the electric blanket. (He also runs warmer than I do). I read in bed for a while (no cable or satellite, and a bad antenna feed), but the cold got to me, so I gave up.

I woke up five hours later, then went to take a bath. The hall bathroom in their house doesn't have a true shower; instead, it has a sprayer nozzle designed to be used while you're in the tub. I started filling the tub, but for reasons unknown it wasn't filling. I double-checked the flip-switch to make sure I had it in the right direction, but it seemed to be sucking water no matter which way it faced.

Then I noticed a flat rubber disk that said "Drain [something-or-other]" and realized I had to put that over the drain to keep the water in. Unfortunately, by this time I had run out of hot water, so I had to bathe in two inches of water. I was able to get lukewarm water for rinsing my hair, but I was still chilled to the bone, so I put on both my turtleneck and a sweater. It was around 75F outside, but it felt like 66F inside -- too cold for my comfort level.

Breakfast was instant oatmeal (the stuff I'd bought the previous night) with milk (thankfully they did have a microwave oven). I made them coffee from my "stash" I'd ground the previous weekend for the radio station (I was expecting to have to work two shifts), as they only keep instant around the house, and I left them with some Splenda packets so they'd have something besides sugar to put in them. I didn't try to dial up again because I'd have to explain to everyone what I was doing and because 9600 BPS is too slow to do real work these days. Instead, I packed us up and went home. His parents were nice and all that, but I was freezing and needed to get some work done.

PG&E claimed my power had come back at 1:35am, but the "your power is back" call from PG&E came at 8:04am, so I'm assuming the latter is true. Meanwhile, I lost about half a day's worth of work, and since then the fan that distributes my heating and air conditioning is burnt out and my TiVo crashes constantly.

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