Monday, December 18, 2006

Personal Account of the recent situation in Seattle

Our friends Craig & Phyllis just survived the power outage in Seattle.

Read below for a personal account of their experiences.

Hi, All. Most of you know that Seattle got hit with a strong wind storm on Thursday. Most of the city's power was knocked out, including the San Juan Islands -- with more than 1 million people without power.

Now after 2 days, our house and dad's still has no power. We still have hot water, which is good. But the house is very cold. With the outside temps now in the lower 30s, our house inside temperature is now in the upper 40s - almost cold enough to see your breath.

The days are okay, because you at least have light. But nights are spent in total darkness and cold. Of course our refrigerator and freezers aren't working - so our food is slowly spoiling. We put as much as we could in two coolers, and set them outside on the back step. Hopefully with the cold weather, everything will keep.

Traffic throughout the city is terrible, because all the street lights are out as well. It's okay during the day, but at night you're in total darkness, and you can't see as you come to the intersections - so many people are getting into accidents. People are also scrambling to get supplies like batteries, generators, etc. Folks are waiting more than an hour in line to get gas, and many stations are completely out of gas now.

Communication has also been hampered, since the cell phone companies - including Cingular - are having network problems. So we haven't been able to use our cell phones much. Also the house cordless phones don't work either, but luckily we have an old wire line phone which works.

But since our house is so cold - we don't spend time at home. Like everyone else, we've spent the last two days at shopping malls, restaurants, and coffee shops trying to stay warm. Right now, we're at Barnes and Nobles using the wireless internet connection - and charging our cell phones in their wall outlet. Everyone else has the same idea, so getting a free outlet is a challenge.

Dad stayed with me the past two nights, while Craig (who recently became a police officer) works late trying to control the chaos in the streets. Last night, Dad brought over a little gas heater and lantern over, so we could heat one room at least. I also have lots of candles, so at least we can see a little bit. Dad and I played backgammon using flashlights - which was funny.

Craig worked until 6AM yesterday morning - with so much going on -- electric transformers on fire, people breaking into businesses (since alarms don't work). At least last night, he got off at 1AM, which was good because he was exhausted.

Also it's spooky to be home in total darkness - especially since burglers are taking advantage of the situation. Around 12:30 AM, I heard gunshots near our street. So I called 911 to give them the info - and I could see the police cars searching near our street with their spotlights. But they never did find the culprits. Since I told the dispatch Craig was a cop, the Bothell sergeant had dispatch call me back to check on me. Dad was with me, along with his loaded gun. So we were okay, but still it's a little spooky. It was better once Craig came home.

For tonight, we thought about going to a hotel for the next two days. But we called hotels for an hour solid - all thru the east side, downtown, in northern towns toward the Canadian border. Everyone is totally booked up. So looks like we'll spend another cold night at home.

Luckily, the power is coming on slowly in the business areas -- then they will get to the residential areas. We hope to have power back by tomorrow, but my bet is Monday or Tuesday.

In the meantime, Petsmart got power back today. So we checked Sammie into their pet hotel until Monday. She's been sitting in total darkness and cold at home, while we stay out during the days. So at least now, she has a warm bed and gets two playtimes during the day. That's better than we'll have tonight.

That's about all for now. We're okay, dad is okay -- and we're really looking forward to spending New Year's week with Susan in WARM SUNNY ARIZONA!!!

Good news - finally. We checked into a hotel yesterday afternoon -- and 30 minutes later we got our power back. That figures. Anyway, we're back home now -- with the fireplace going, candles burning, and the cherry pie I just made is out of the oven now and smelling really good (we'll be eating a piece very soon!). So life is back to normal.

But experiences like this are a very good reminder not to take things for granted - because things can change in one second. Now as I look around my home, I realize more than ever how lucky we are to have a warm roof over our heads. Many people on the streets will never be this lucky.

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