If nothing else, the storm that went through last week was the sort that makes you understand why the lines are down. I ended up with a few small limbs in the yard and a few larger ones fallen in the woods, but other than a flag mounting bracket that sheered away from the house because I wasn’t quick enough hauling down the color, it doesn’t look like much in the way of damage befell us. With the cable and internet out, I didn’t see reports from elsewhere, but I suspect I came through the heavy weather well under the circumstances.
The power lines in the neighborhood are underground and considering where we are in the woods most of the way down the Elk Neck peninsula, it doesn’t go out very often. When it does go out, though, it tends to stay gone for a long time. This is the third time since I’ve been here that I’ve been cut off for 24 hours or longer. The Generac kicked on around six o’clock Tuesday night and ran straight through into the early hours of Thursday morning. By the time grid power was restored, she’d run steady for a little more than 30 hours.
A few other houses were showing lights that I could glimpse through the woods. I presume they were running on backup power too. The chugging of my own engine drowned out whatever sound they may have been making. Maybe the endless drone of my system is some small payback for the neighbors who enjoy their late-night firework displays.
I very intentionally sized my genny to run it all. It’s absolutely overkill and well beyond simply powering “the essentials,” whatever that means. I can cook dinner, do laundry, keep the air conditioner humming, run the pumps, and have lights from stem to stern. Perhaps I can’t do all of those things simultaneously, but there’s always more than enough juice to manage whatever combination of them I need to do in any one moment. It’s the kind of thing you don’t fully appreciate until you’ve had it. Then it feels like it would be impossible to go back to doing without.
I’m told at its peak, 25% of the households in the county were without power. Fortress Jeff, though, was lit up like a beacon all through the long night. It’s not exactly a subtle look when much of the rest of the street is swallowed up in inky darkness. Even though I’m not generally a fan of drawing undue attention, I’ll make an exception when it involves matters of personal comfort and convenience. I’ll just try not to think about the $500 worth of propane I had to burn off to make it happen.