Wednesday, November 04, 2015

No Power Wednesday

The big excitement this morning (Wednesday) is that EWEB (Eugene Water and Electrick Board) decided to do some work replacing a sheared power pole and turned off the electricity for the neighborhood at about 7:25.  I was making breakfast at the time; luckily, I had not started to microwave some eggs.  The power sort of flickered, first, and then about twenty seconds later it went out for good.

Mark looked around for an EWEB phone number to call.  Eventually, he cranked up a radio and we heard on the local news what had happened.  It seemed odd that EWEB hadn't e-mailed or mass-phoned first.  (One of my co-workers said that she'd heard on the radio that they would turn off the power before they actually turned the power off.)

Luckily, we'd all showered.  And luckily, I'd already made my tea.  We went around turning things off (luckily the computer equipment was already powered down).  The Child commented on how weird it was to walk into a room, forget the power was out, and flip the light switch.  I noticed how much more quiet the house was without the humming of the refrigerator, and the subtle buzzing of the lights, computers, and power strips.  

The stillness of the air and the need to use sunlight to see reminded me of the house my Grandma Agnes's father built around 1890.  My Great-Uncles Olaf and Conrad lived in the house up until Olaf died in the early seventies and Conrad moved onto property in Svenson with my Grandma and (Step) Grandfather Einer around 1978.  

The old homestead, about twenty miles out of Astoria (past Olney on highway 202), had no electricity or plumbing.  Conrad did have a large radio that took eight D-sized batteries to run.  My favorite part of the house was the old pump bellows organ, and a giant tree that was probably about four trees grown together--it had a raised place about five feet off the ground where the trunks met.  It was like being in the palm of the tree.  I also liked the hummingbird feeders my Aunt Dorothy had set up on the front porch (which was never used as a front porch -- we always entered through the kitchen door.  

The old stuff in the house was interesting.  But, like most children dragged to an elderly relative's house, there was a lot of stuff we couldn't touch and not much for us to do.  Skittering water droplets on the wood oven lost its allure after an hour or two.  The giant whetstone was fun for about fifteen minutes, but we never really used it to sharpen anything.  The outhouse seemed particularly barbaric.

I wish the house had stayed in the family because it was a farm and it did have a lot of history.  It's the sort of place that would make a cool writers' retreat or artist's colony (or farm).  It was eventually sold sometime in the eighties and it's been decades since I've seen the place.    
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