doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… the power?

Better late than never, I guess.  This would normally have been a Sunday morning post but read on …

I’m writing this offline on my Chromebook, watching it try to attach to the internet.  There is none so give it up, computer.  When this actually gets posted will be anyone’s guess at this point.

This past Saturday morning, like every morning, Jaimie and I went for our morning constitutional.  We were almost at our turnaround point when it really started to rain and get windy.  We turned around and headed back.  It got even windier.

Now, we live on a concession road with a wide open field and the wind really picks up and howls, particularly in the winter.  We’re good walkers; we walk facing the traffic but as we started the last leg of our walk, it got really windy.  So windy, in fact, that we were both blown off the road into the gravel.

Then, it happened.  We were on the east side of the road and I heard a bang behind me.  I turned and saw that a hydro pole, on the west side of the road, had snapped in the middle and the top of it landed almost dead centre of the road. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

I turned back to see a domino effect as pole after pole snapped the same way and their tops all hit the centre of the road.  Sparks were flying everywhere.  We figured we’d best be getting home.  When we got to the neighbour’s house, the line from the hydro lines to their house was lying across the road.

I remember enough of Elmer the Safety Elephant to not touch it.  I might have been lucky enough to step over but I didn’t know about Jaimie.  So, we headed cross country to avoid it and got home safely.  

All in all, I counted seven hydro poles that had snapped and were lying in the middle of the road.  We called 911 and the person answering probably didn’t believe us but said that she’d let everyone who needed to know, know.

Later, I checked Facebook and people throughout town were reporting power outages and priorities.  The power to Tim Horton’s was out!  Apparently, there was a huge lineup at McDonald’s.  I had this urge for a coffee now and I’m out of luck.  My mind thought about boiling water on the barbeque but then how do you get it through a Keurig cup?  This is starting to get serious.  

At last check of Essex Powerlines, there are all kinds of people reporting issues in Amherstburg, River Canard, and LaSalle.

Obviously, access to the internet is out although those newer poles that carry it are standing.  You do need a device to connect to it.

By dumb luck, I had charged a couple of portable batteries I got at conferences a few years ago so at least I can keep my phone alive.  

We’re not going anywhere soon; the power line to our neighbour’s house is blocking the road heading north and the line to our house is blocking the road heading south.

We even made the news –

That’s our recycling bins in the video and in the pictures.

No heat (I will put the fireplace on at some point) but I’m sitting here under a duvet listening to Jaimie snore and wondering when I’ll get the chance to upload this.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Have you ever been without power?
  • Do you own a generator?
  • What’s the longest that you’ve been without power?  
  • Do you have emergency lighting?  We have four portable ones and used them all
  • If the worst hit, how much food on hand do you have?
  • Could you access your BBQ if you had to?
  • When do you figure our road will be cleared and power restored?  (Answer when this gets posted)  

As always, please share your powerful thoughts and more.

This is a regular post on doug … off the record.  All the past posts are available here.

And, here’s our answer
We’re back functional 32 hours later.  Rather than post this on a Sunday night, I’ll schedule it for tomorrow morning.  I’ll tell you, it was a rather cool night’s sleep last night!


6 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Glad things are finally back and functional … and that you’re okay. It’s funny as my grandfather told me about this news story last night and I thought, “That’s why there was no blog post from Doug.” Little did I know that your house was part of the story.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. You suffered quite the hit and stuck in the middle of it all! I don’t think I have ever been that long without power, or for very long at all. I hope next time your area makes a headline it is for good news!


  3. We’ve lost power several times over the years. Never more than 24 hours. We’re on a road that has major power lines running along it and they tend to get fixed early. We do have a generator which we have used once or twice. Generally only in the winter to keep warm. I should test that I guess since it has been a while.

    Our family vacation place loses power more often. It’s on a dirt road through the woods. We haven’t lost power when we were there though. The Ring, Nest, and thermometers send me messages when the power goes out. There at least we have a wood stove that is more than capable of keeping the whole place warm if we are there to start a fire. There is plenty of firewood there as well.


  4. Hi Doug!

    I’m glad that both you and Jamie weren’t hurt in the wind and subsequent downing of the powerlines along your road. Your story is the closest first hand experience I’ve ever heard in relation to the actual disruption of household power through downed lines.

    The big windstorm earlier this year disrupted power on my side of the town. Driving around after the fact, I was able to see a couple of trees down on hydro lines. When I checked the Elexicon website, the live map showed there were seven outages due to downed trees on the east side of Belleville. I was able to get Internet by driving across the Moira River to the west side where there were still street lights, drive-thrus, and cell towers in operation. (I recall downloading some shows from a streaming service onto my iPad to tide me through until the Internet came back on at home.) The Elexicon website at the time provided estimates for how long the outages would be – – most of them in Belleville stated a few hours, whereas some parts of Ottawa and areas north of us were without power for up to a week.

    I think there have been a few times over the years where the power has been off into the evening, and I have just gone to sleep early, waking up up to find the power back on in the morning (or, if it came on in the middle of the night, waking up to the sound of printers resetting — as they do when they power up). The counterpoint to that, of course, is the sound of all the UPS devices beeping when the power initially goes off. I don’t have as many of them now as I used to — I think at one point I had seven scattered throughout the house, resulting in a wonderful chorus of alerts that lead to a hectic game of whack-a-UPS. These days, I think I have three in-service:
    • one at the modem/router/access point/appleTV
    • a big one at my computer desk
    • third one for my NAS/raspberry pi/HomePod

    I got a chuckle out of your Keurig coffee-maker-in-a-power-outage situation. The more complex our technology becomes, the more dependent it seems to be on electricity.

    Take care and stay safe!


  5. […] Whatever happened to … – doug — off the record […]


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