Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Things That Go Ka-Boom

Remember how I told you yesterday was supposed to be the hottest day of the year thus far - the prediction near 100°F - and how rude and insensitive I believed this to be?

When the power first went out yesterday evening, Lex and I were mid-way through our respective workouts. Dedicated to the end, we'd started a bit later than normal, hoping it would cool down enough so as to be less uncomfortable when we were finished.

My heart sunk when, at the peak of my second 20-minute set, the fan I had pointed at full blast directly at me came to a sudden halt.

Panting for breath and sweaty then, we met out in the kitchen to exchange looks of despair as it became clear the power was not coming right back on as it normally would.

We waited.

We assumed that, given the time of day1, the grid had been overloaded with people coming home from work and turning on air conditioning to combat the heat.

Lex's phone began going off the hook - alerts from servers that had gone offline - and he was uhm...let's just say he was unhappy and leave it at that.

After a few minutes, I suggested we both take cold showers and then try to find somewhere we could go to have supper that would have air conditioning and refreshing beverages.

Traffic was a mess. Traffic signals were out everywhere. People were out on bicycles and on foot, milling around, wondering what was happening. Emergency vehicles were in full force - ambulances, fire trucks, squad cars - rushing to get through the snarled traffic to emergencies everywhere. It was chaos.

We were relieved to find that, as we neared downtown, the businesses along 17th and 18th seemed to be powered up and so we stopped in for a burger at Hamburger Mary's. I mentioned the power outage - which by then we knew was widespread - to the hostess and she seemed surprised to hear it.

It was actually quite quiet there.

As we made our way home an hour or so later, hoping the power had been restored, we were at first delighted to see the traffic lights had been restored and then dismayed when we got 2 blocks from our house and realized the traffic lights by us were still not working.

It wasn't until we'd gotten inside and I called my boss to see if she could tell me anything about what was going on that we discovered this...

Photos taken from the 9 News website. These and the rest of the photos can be seen here:9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | 9Slideshows Gallery | Xcel Fire

Apparently, there was an explosion and subsequent fire at the substation less than a mile from my house that shot flames, smoke, and toxic chemicals 70 feet into the air.

Hence, power outage...to 37,000 homes.

We hunkered down, tried to remain as motionless as possible, lit candles, and made phone calls on our cell phones - our only source of entertainment given that it was dark. I thought how delicious an air conditioned hotel room would be but I wouldn't leave Vinny to fend for himself in the heat.

Eventually, I tried to go to bed. Again, lying as still as possible, naked, and grateful that Vinny was too hot to want to cuddle. I listened to what had turned into a block party outside my bedroom windows as people tried to escape the oppressive heat indoors by flowing out into yards, balconies, and the street.

When the power came back on around midnight, a collective cheer went up from around the neighborhood. I exclaimed to myself as the fan that had gone motionless 6 hours before finally stirred to life.

I checked on Lex and then I crawled back into bed, relieved.

I don't know what people did before electricity.

I don't want to find out for any longer than I just did.

1: About 6:30 p.m.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Eek! I thought I was coming there to escape the heat (among other things)! Sounds like you were able to make the best of it, anyway.