Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where were you when the lights went out?

Today marks the day when 5 years ago the Eastern seabord was plunged into darkness and over 50 million people went without power - some for a few hours and some for days.

The image at left was taken from the Wikipedia website and shows what the Eastern Seabord looked like a few hours before the blackout occurred.

The image at left was taken from the Wikipedia website and shows the Eastern seabord about 7 hours after the blackout started.

Where were you???

I was just finishing up an appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children with Jonathan. We were in the underground parking lot (thank goodness we didn't get stuck in an elevator!) waiting in line to pay for our parking before heading home. All of a sudden, the parking garage was plunged into darkness. Almost as quickly, the generators kicked in and the emergency lighting system came on. A little humorous was the fact that just a few days before Scott and I had been talking about "I wonder what happens if the power goes out at Sick Kids?"

As we were rounding the corner to pay the attendant, I remember thinking that there must have been a power surge somewhere near the hospital and that they would have things up and running fairly soon.

It took nearly 1/2 an hour to get out of the underground. When we got up to street level, not only was Sick Kids with no power, so were the first few city blocks we traveled. I remember thinking that there must have been something wrong with the power grid for the downtown core or something along those lines.

Then the radio reports started coming in. All the stations turned to their sister news stations and it didn't matter to which station you were listening, you were getting the news.

I remember thinking just keep driving - north and west, north and west - and eventually you'll get home.

I remember moving Jonathan from the back seat to the front seat in his infant car seat (even though we had airbags) because it was the only way I could keep him entertained.

I remember stopping at a payphone to call my parents in Montreal to see if the same thing had happened to them.

I remember being "THAT" mother...the one who breast feeds her baby WHILE driving because you really couldn't stop anywhere.

I remember that it took me close to 3 1/2 hours to get home and hoping that the other two children weren't panicked (they were with Colin's godmother - our neighbour and friend).

I remember thinking I was going to have to lug Jonathan upstairs in his carseat (9 flights + parking levels) and being INCREDIBLY thankful that there was one elevator working and that we didn't have to wait TOO long to get upstairs.

I remember not being able to shower the next could if you were in to that whole polar bear thing and you didn't mind a cold shower.

I remember taking the kids to McDonald's for breakfast because they had their power back.

I remember spending the day at the scrapbook store where I worked because they had power AND air conditioning.

I remember thinking I was going to run out of gas looking for a gas station that a) had power and b) had gas. We found one and didn't have to wait for hours in line to fill up as they had JUST opened back up for business when we pulled in.

I remember having to throw out most everything that was in the freezer including close to 500 ounces of breast milk (my stash from when Jonathan was in for surgery) - that hurt.

I remember being thankful when the power finally came back on just over 24 hours later and we could finally start to get back to "normal".

So, where were you???


Princess of Pink said...

I was working. I was on the 11:30-11:30 shift, so it was early into my shift was when it all happened. It was quite the bit of mayhem and chaotic and a whole lot of stress. I wound up staying in the city that night with a friend rather than trekking home - it was all just too much to make a 45 minute drive home at the end of the day. Thankfully, I was off the next day as things started to return to normal.

DH was home. Apparently we had quite the street party going on as there was nothing else for anyone to do. One of the guys in the corner brought out his bagpipes to play and the street was lined with candles for light. On some small level I'm sad I missed it.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Christyne (aka Apple Blossom) said...

Thanks for sharing your memory with me!

I would have been sad to have missed an awesome street party too!